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  1. #1
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    Snow Commute

    I just completed my first snow commute today. We had received 2ish inches, the roads were plowed but being on a college campus, I rode the sidewalks. Man was it ever fun, granted i had mega resistance but i was plodding along. It should be fun tomorrow too. We are supposed to get between 9-13 inches starting tonight and ending tomorrow late afternoon. Im searching for the fattest tires i have to throw on with low pressure to give me the most float.

    Anyone else like commuting in fresh snow?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy
    Anyone else like commuting in fresh snow?
    I'm so jealous. The closest thing we had here in Florida werre flurries in 1989, and even then it wasn't enough to make a snowman.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy
    Anyone else like commuting in fresh snow?
    Yes. However, once the snow has crystallized or iced over, my commute is a pain. Granted, I can ride all the way to work on rail-trails, so I don't have to worry about traffic. The worst is when the trail has been walked on and then frozen. Makes me want to commute on my fully...

  4. #4
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I have all the snow in the world, but nowhere safe to ride in it. My commute gets hosed because the plows push all the snow into the bike lanes, and you're left sharing an icy bowling lane with traffic. No thanks. If I had a bike path or sidewalk option I'd be all over it. As it is I have to wait for a little melt-off before I can be sure I won't get hit by a car.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    I love snow rides/commuting as long as the wind ain't blowing! The wind is awful bad around here in winter. Generally it's calm at night.
    Check out my thread in General Discussion called - "A little story to read"
    PoisonDogFart

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    No-Brakes Cougar
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    I am also jealous, though if it keeps raining as much as they say it will and keeps getting colder I may get my wish.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

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    Blizzard warning here. I rode my Pugsley around a bit. I'll probably ride it to work tonight. Its supposed to keep snowing overnight and I imagine there will be a half a foot at least. I put the studded tires on the Big Dummy already. I'm waiting on a 17t cog that'll be in tomorrow before I put the studs on the commuter.

  8. #8
    IdontShootPeopleAnyMore
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    spazzy congrads, I had my first day of snow commuting today too!!! I got to test out my new schwalbe marathon winters and they were f-in fantastic, not too good in the deeper snow, but great on the ice...

    Before this year, I always just used wider tires with lowerish pressure, nevegal 2.1 upfront and spechy captains 2.0 (had nevagals but they rubbed on the stays) in the back and they worked really well, but not too good on ice...

    I also am expeting a mini blizz tomorrow but only 3-5 inches so I am putting my boots in my bag incase I cant ride with my new tires...

    edit: I love commuting in fresh snow, I can breathe better and have a pretty good buzz when I get to work and when I get home... plus winter bike tires are way cheaper than winter car tires
    What mountain bike forum do pirates use? .....



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  9. #9
    superluker
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    Rode home tonight in the snow also. Maybey 2 inches. It wasn't too bad since the majority was on rail trail. Though that will suck once there's more snow, so I'll have to take the other route.

    Last edited by taehome; 12-08-2009 at 07:50 PM.

  10. #10
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    I am thinking studded snow tires because once the snow gets packed down i can see its going to be no fun at all. But i dont have the cash so i might try making them with screws in an old tire. I was suprised at how much grip i had on fresh snow, i am riding "sub par" OE ITS Ninja 2.2s and it was great

  11. #11
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I have all the snow in the world, but nowhere safe to ride in it. My commute gets hosed because the plows push all the snow into the bike lanes, and you're left sharing an icy bowling lane with traffic. No thanks. If I had a bike path or sidewalk option I'd be all over it. As it is I have to wait for a little melt-off before I can be sure I won't get hit by a car.
    Come on, CB- I bet you can come up with a great place for a little snow riding if you think hard enough!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Snow Commute-cimg2618.jpg  

    Recalculating....

  12. #12
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    We got tons of snow in Salt Lake last night! I woke up this morning and was thinking, "Do I drive or do I ride the bus?" Neither. I got on my commuter and swiggled down the street before it was plowed. I had to walk up a significant hill but I still made it. So many people were late because they got stuck in their cars! Ha!

  13. #13
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy
    I was suprised at how much grip i had on fresh snow,
    Snow behaves a lot like dirt, until it gets packed really, really, hard.

    Where I live, the sidewalks and most paths get ploughed. So, it is usually easy going except on a few days when a lot of snow falls in a short time. Here, snow never seems to get a consistency where a fat tire would really float on untouched snow. Either I have packed snow, or I want to cut through the new snow.

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    Here was part of my commute this morning... Sorry for the crappy cell pic.



    It was kind of cool to have the first man-made tracks on the trail today. The only tracks to be seen were deer and coyote...
    The snow changed to rain about 9 last night, and was just changing back to snow when I left this morning.

    Two observations: 1. 32x15 is a little much for my legs and wet, slushy snow. I feel like I'm walking on noodles now. 2. I'm glad I left early, as my commute took ~1:10. Normal time is 35min. I also took a short cut and shaved a mile off my total distance this morning.

    Gonna be interesting on the way home, what with the 30-40mph wind gusts that are forecast.

  15. #15
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    Well classes were canceled for me today, so no commute. But I decided to go out on a ride anyway. Man were my 2.2s too small. I had no float at all and ended up riding the ploughed streets until i reached campus, I estimated the sidewalks and "campus mall" had been ploughed about 2-3 hours ago because there was 2-3 inches of fresh snow. I had a blast through campus. I rode for about an hour and a half and then came home and helped some people in the apartment building next to me dig out their cars, Earning some snow-karma points is always good, you never know when you'll need em

    dnlwthn: I was running my granny gear/2nd sprocket in my lowest (i think 22) teeth ring and i had trouble with too much gearing sometimes, the snow was giving me mega resistance! I cant imagine a 32x15! Good luck with the wind, bundle up. Stay warm and stay safe!

  16. #16
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    Nice, people! You the men.
    "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -- Calvin & Hobbes

  17. #17
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I live in Seattle and ended up commuting in the snow last December. It was one of the most awesome things I've ever done on a bike.

    I think it's really most similar to riding in mud. Learning to drag your rear tire is also useful - it's a little backwards from the usual front-centric braking, but one of my falls last year was when I locked up my front wheel on ice.

    I don't think that any size tire will have the float to stay on top of new snow - then it's time to break out the snow shoes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    I had almost no brakes. I'm riding v's on my commuter (older entry level bike, 2004 gf tarpon) and they iced up within the first 1/8 mile. I was going super slow anyway and id dismount my feet and fred flinstone style stop if I had to get on the brakes

    I wish I had a camera, its crazy weather out here (Wisconsin) right now. And I am loving every minute of it.

  19. #19
    weirdo
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    There`s a HUGE variation in how snow acts. Sometimes it gives awsome grip- better than I`ve ever found even on damp dirt. Other times it can be a mountain of work to continually squash it under your tires and I doubt even an Endomorph would float in all conditions. Or it can be frozen so solid that 23mm tires would roll over it just fine, but better hope it isn`t full of other tracks from previous passers by.
    Recalculating....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Other times it can be a mountain of work to continually squash it under your tires and I doubt even an Endomorph would float in all conditions....
    ...
    ...
    ...better hope it isn`t full of other tracks from previous passers by.
    Often it is better to have skinny tires that are more likely to cut through the unpacked snow.

    Bike tracks or footprints in slightly firm unpacked snow can be a pain. Fortunately, I usually manage to find some untouched snow on those mornings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    There`s a HUGE variation in how snow acts. Sometimes it gives awsome grip- better than I`ve ever found even on damp dirt. Other times it can be a mountain of work to continually squash it under your tires and I doubt even an Endomorph would float in all conditions. Or it can be frozen so solid that 23mm tires would roll over it just fine, but better hope it isn`t full of other tracks from previous passers by.
    I find that the most miserable snow to ride through is the stuff that's around 4" deep and heavy but not melting, yet has thousands of people foot tracks that were melting at some earlier time but are now mostly frozen. It's an incredable effort to keep straight and moving in such hellish muck! I generally encounter it the worst on a particular overpass that has a walkway on the side and the passing cars spray a lot of slush up onto it, or on YOU!
    PoisonDogFart

  22. #22
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Man.... now I REALLY want it to snow here. Even just for one day!
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    Man.... now I REALLY want it to snow here. Even just for one day!
    Funny... snow is only good for one day, then you realize the next 3-4 months will be like this but worse with hard packed ruts and black ice.

  24. #24
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    I love snow commuting. It is so peaceful and quiet. We dont have much snow here in my part of Indiana yet, but I mounted up my Nokian Mount and ground studded tires up today. Forgot how much of a pain they are to mount. I am ready to go for when it decides to stick now. The difference when riding with studded tires is unbelievable- especially in icy conditions.

    I agree about walked on/ refrozen snow. Might as well be cobblestone.
    -Jeremy
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  25. #25
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    We got about a foot of super dry blowing snow. I could only go down plowed roads, even with my Pugsley. I think I'd have had better luck with my skinny tired commutor. Traction was pretty good. There were a few dumbasses that drove their low ground clearance cars into the mount left by the snow plows and got stuck. It was also fun going stupid slow into a 20+mph headwind with cars stuck behind me.

  26. #26
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ktse
    Funny... snow is only good for one day, then you realize the next 3-4 months will be like this but worse with hard packed ruts and black ice.
    Heh heh, reminds me of a friend of mine who was going to Nortre Dame. Regarding South Bend; "The winters suck, but the other 6 months of the year are great!"
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  27. #27
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    I love riding in the snow. I'm lucky to have 75% of my commute on trails that rarely get used in the winter, and the rest on roads that don't see much traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    Heh heh, reminds me of a friend of mine who was going to Nortre Dame. Regarding South Bend; "The winters suck, but the other 6 months of the year are great!"
    I live in South Bend, I can second that!

    Today was my first day out in the snow, but I was far too cold to enjoy anything. I need to get better gloves and do something to keep my toes warm (2 pairs of socks didn't work, going to try wool socks). After 30mins of riding, I couldn't walk for 20mins once I got to school.

  29. #29
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ktse
    Funny... snow is only good for one day, then you realize the next 3-4 months will be like this but worse with hard packed ruts and black ice.
    I can understand how that would be, but since we don`t get so much it`s a little different for me. I`ve always figured that it`s awesome until I get sick of it. For me, that awesome phase lasts about a week. Fortunately, we usually don`t have to deal with it for much longer than that on the roads, but after a big storm sometimes I have to keep chaining up for a good month to get to the road, then either go thumpety thump all the way to where I`m going and back or unchain, then chain up again when I come home. There have been a few times that I got so fed up with it I just shoveled a path all the way to the street, which is pretty much an all day affair when the snow is old and heavy.
    Recalculating....

  30. #30
    superluker
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    Well after all the snow we've gotten I figured I'd take the skies into work to get tuned.


    Now that the trail is unpassable by bike I've been forced to ride a different route. Alot more streets, which isn't usually a problem but it really seems that drivers are more impatient(sp?). Lots of really close passing and blowing of the horn. Not to go on a rant about it, but it does apear drivers were way more irritated with me being on the road.
    The other observation with the snowy commute is there isn't a whole lot of coasting. I guess it's ok as I was quite sweaty when I arrived at work, even with single digit temps. and lots of wind. I'm diggin it though, I'll take the good with the bad as long as I'm on my bike .

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by taehome
    Well after all the snow we've gotten I figured I'd take the skies into work to get tuned.

    Now that the trail is unpassable by bike I've been forced to ride a different route. Alot more steets, which isn't usually a problem but it really seems that drivers seem impatient(sp?). Lots of really close passing and blowing of the horn. Not to go on a rant about it, but it does seem drivers were way more irritated with me being on the road.
    The other observation with the snowy commute is there isn't a whole lot of coasting. I guess it's ok as I was quite sweaty when I arrived at work, even with single digit temps. and lots of wind. I'm diggin it though, I'll take the good with the bad as long as I'm on my bike .
    Looks fun. I should put some fenders on my Del Norte.

  32. #32
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    wow!!!

    Just completed my first snow-storm commute this week in montreal....What a blast!!!!
    I have a short commute 6 km(4mi.)each way...and resisted the temptation to get a lift or take my car out of its hibernation...we got close to a foot of snow, tons of wind and it was really not so bad...
    The day of the snowstorm most sidewalks were not cleared, so i did a lot of face-traffic riding.I would ride as close to the edge as possible and when a truck or car would be close to the side i would just throw my left leg in a snow bank and wait for them to pass.There were a lot of pedetrians that had to walk on the road anyway, so i didnt really stand out, i guess. Took me a bit over double the normal time(~35 mins.)

    As for the bike its a fully rigid mountain bike with 2.1 knobbies, i'd like to try 2.3,not sure if they would rub.. i weight 150 lbs and have tried different setups and for me the best is to float as much as possible.With skinny tires i would often break a hard crust that i could otherwise float over.Also the small tire would slip WAY more on icy roads than the "balloons". the bike is 3x9spd (xtr R/D) and in 3 years i never had a single problem shifting, i just keep it all lubed up.I don't think i would make it on a single speed, just today i was facing 60 kmph winds....

    All in all, it was great, what a workout, and what a training in balancing, focus and CRAZINESS!!!!

  33. #33
    weirdo
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    Mega yuck! We got a pretty healthy storm last week, maybe the biggest we`re going to see this year, but it came the first of my five days off, so I didn`t commute by any method for several days. Thurs I did a daylight ride on my commute route to see how it was doing with no time constraints or surprises and it was pretty good, so I rode in last night. But it had warmed up and got sloppy! Not slush, but a lot of places so soft that I had to walk. I figured it would be frozen by this morning, but it was ten times worse. We got a few inches of fresh on top of the old stuff and after it had been chewed up by the cars (no idea where all the traffic came from in the wee hours of a Saturday morning), it felt about like ground up styrofoam. Not really even very slippery, but too heavy to cut through and I couldn`t get on top of it because it just kept falling apart. Probably walked about half of it. I had brought the camera hoping to take some sunrise/fresh snow pics on the way home, so here`s a nice pretty morning with stupid snake tracks leading up to my rear rack- this particular pic was on a downhill section, even. I almost wish it would rain on that nasty crap.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Snow Commute-dscn1975.jpg  

    Recalculating....

  34. #34
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Come on, CB- I bet you can come up with a great place for a little snow riding if you think hard enough!

    HA. Just caught this post. I sooo wish that trail was between my house and my job. I have a pic on my computer at home that is strikingly similar to that one.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Mega yuck! We got a pretty healthy storm last week, maybe the biggest we`re going to see this year, but it came the first of my five days off, so I didn`t commute by any method for several days. Thurs I did a daylight ride on my commute route to see how it was doing with no time constraints or surprises and it was pretty good, so I rode in last night. But it had warmed up and got sloppy! Not slush, but a lot of places so soft that I had to walk. I figured it would be frozen by this morning, but it was ten times worse. We got a few inches of fresh on top of the old stuff and after it had been chewed up by the cars (no idea where all the traffic came from in the wee hours of a Saturday morning), it felt about like ground up styrofoam. Not really even very slippery, but too heavy to cut through and I couldn`t get on top of it because it just kept falling apart. Probably walked about half of it. I had brought the camera hoping to take some sunrise/fresh snow pics on the way home, so here`s a nice pretty morning with stupid snake tracks leading up to my rear rack- this particular pic was on a downhill section, even. I almost wish it would rain on that nasty crap.

    Ride over on the fresh stuff out of the car tracks. Thin Studs would help out in the car tracks...

  36. #36
    weirdo
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    I don`t think so. Although it doesn`t look like it, the untouched stuff next to the road is over a foot deep and on the road I couldn`t keep it on the tracks, no matter how hard I tried. I just squirmed my way back and forth like a drunk annaconda. There was a thin layer on the bottom (maybe an inch thick) that kept breaking up and sliding around. No ice involved here- just wierd, super dry snow.
    Recalculating....

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    I don`t think so. Although it doesn`t look like it, the untouched stuff next to the road is over a foot deep and on the road I couldn`t keep it on the tracks, no matter how hard I tried. I just squirmed my way back and forth like a drunk annaconda. There was a thin layer on the bottom (maybe an inch thick) that kept breaking up and sliding around. No ice involved here- just wierd, super dry snow.

    Yup fresh will take the swing out of the ride, yup the thin layer is where the studs grab,

    We ride super dry snow all the time...

    Sit way back let the front squirm all it wants steer with your hips kinda like a skinny or riding no hands, momentum is your friend.

    When you look back the rear should be straighter than the front....

  38. #38
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    I don`t think so. Although it doesn`t look like it, the untouched stuff next to the road is over a foot deep and on the road I couldn`t keep it on the tracks, no matter how hard I tried. I just squirmed my way back and forth like a drunk annaconda. There was a thin layer on the bottom (maybe an inch thick) that kept breaking up and sliding around. No ice involved here- just wierd, super dry snow.
    Rodar, looks like you need one of these http://www.mtbr.com/cat/accessories/...46_117crx.aspx
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  39. #39
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    So I have been commuting in the snow for about a week and a half now. Its great, granted my time to and from is slower but it sure beats walking, and brings a smile to my face whenever people give me a look "youre biking and its zero and snowy out?"

    I am thinking of making some homebrew studded tires over winter break as some of the hardpack is a little sketchy.

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