Hello darkness my old friend, seems that winter is upon us once again…
Now we have done this dark and icy dance before so I was ready. I started preparing in the spring and I bought a new friend to make riding in what was a foot of snow a little easier and even enjoyable, and have to say that after I dialed in the tyre pressure to 11-12 psi the Pugsley has shown itself for being one of the most capable winter bicycles.
Surly did not invent the fat tyred bicycle and credit for that needs to go to some folks up in Alaska and the arctic that needed a solution for riding on snow… the design is well suited for this as well as sand and mud and it was a very capable trail machine over the summer.
Unlike my other winter bicycles the Surly runs minimal fenders so that I can still take it on the trails and not worry about debris jamming itself into the fender and causing all kinds of problems, and if it thaws and gets really wet, I have several other winter capable bicycles.
My dedicated winter bike is a tank that makes the Surly look like a bit of a lightweight, at 42 pounds my Norco is only second to my extrabike in the weight category but do have to consider that the rear wheel with it’s internal 3 speed, generator, and massively studded tyre weighs 9 pounds.
Add fenders, a rack, another studded tyre up front and a generator light and you get what I think is the ideal winter apocalypse bike and although it does not handle deep snow like the Pug, it makes riding on ice feel like one was riding on dry pavement. The Sturmey Archer hub also runs smoothly as the most extreme temperatures due to the (synthetic) oil in the hub.
I added the BM Lumotec Classic headlight just before the snow fell… with our winter days being so short one is going to find themselves riding in the dark a good deal of the time and the modern LED generator light works well with the 48 year old hub generator. And look, my thermos matches my bike.
You have to have the right tools for the job and my has proven to be one of the most stable and comfortable bicycles I have ever built, it has no trouble with winter roads and when I go shopping it beats having to hook up the trailer.
I picked up the new bags on my way back from Portland at a military surplus store in Washington, this increased the volume I can carry and they can be taken on and off in a few minutes so could double as shopping bags.
Yesterday I pulled my folder from the trunk of the car and installed a set of Marathon winter tyres I was given… if I find myself stranded or want to park and ride my “auto bike” will be ready for whatever the road conditions are. This generic folder is compact enough that I could bring it on the bus if there is no rack on the bus.
Our winters can be brutally cold, there is a lack of daylight, and the roads and paths can suck… but there is no reason on earth why a person cannot ride through it and enjoy it.
There is nothing like riding on a winter morning after a fresh snow or being able to go riding in the river valley to see the beauty that winter brings… and to make sure the chickadees get a treat.