Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow bike

Yes, it's still snowing. 
Yes, I said the next post would be about biking in the rain.  But we just got 10 inches of snow, so writing about rain will have to wait.

It started snowing just before I left work - and in the hour it took me to get home the snow increased from 1.5" to about 5-6" deep.  It was the fastest I've ever seen snow fall.  Here's what I looked like right when I got home:

As an aside, I look a lot happier than most of my coworkers probably did.  Some of them took up to 9 hours to get home that day (which actually meant it was technically the next day).

Here are the essentials that made this trip a success:

  • Clothing - I had on a good base layer of sweat-wicking material (REI midweight long-sleeve shirt and Pearl Izumi Amfib tights over regular bike shorts).  On top of that, I had a waterproof jacket and wind/waterproof athletic pants.  Also, I had good gloves, face protection, and 180 brand earmuffs (which work great with a helmet).  Most of this is not biking-specific: you don't need crazy special stuff to bike in winter, just the right type of layered clothing to keep you warm (and preferably dry).  The most important part was the wind-blocking - block the wind and you can stay warm down to much colder temperatures than this!

  • Studded tires - I just bought these - Nokian Hakkapellitta W106 tires.  These are the only studded tires I've tried - there are others out there that get good reviews as well.  They helped a lot riding on packed snow/ice.  They won't help in deep snow - but they were great this time.

  • Waterproof cover for my stuff - Not essential on the way home (where laundry can be done), but nice.  Mine goes over my trunk bag - but really anything waterproof would work.

    Really, that was it.  I rode a singlespeed mountain bike, so I had better balancing ability than I would have had on a road bike, and the singlespeed meant that the gears couldn't get messed up.  However, a geared bike probably would have worked.  Other than that I just stayed calm, moved along with the traffic when I was on roads, helped a stuck taxi get unstuck, and made it home in less time than I probably would have by car.  I will confess though - I was tired when I got home!

1 comment:

  1. Bah hah hah!! I had a feeling that a snow commute post might be in the works. :)

    Glad that you made it home warm and safe.