Setting up a mountain bike for the winter
Some people, like Amanda here, set their bikes up for winter by covering them with junk in the corner of the garage. But she also bundles up with a puffy sweater and ski hat before she steps inside to use the computer.
So the following winter riding tips are for those of us that are hardy enough to type in nothing more than a Zoic Tradesman Riding Flannel ($85, all sizes in stock):
with elastic cuffs to cut keyboard drafts:
I’ve had some of my best mountain bike rides in the winter. Knobs dig into the frozen crust through corners, and the trails in Ohiopyle can be as fast as they are in late July. Riding through the last six winters, I’ve picked up a few things to keep myself rolling in relative comfort.
So here are the top-secret secrets.
1. Whiskey in the bottle
An ounce or two of liquor will keep a bottle from freezing in cold weather. Five or six ounces will make it feel like summer again (activate simulated summer at your own risk.)
2. Catching the crud
The Crud Catcher ($15) is the best mountain fender I’ve used, and I’ve used many. It attaches to the downtube with a few rubber o-rings, so it’s easy to pull on and off. Never bounces around or gets in the way, and keeps freezing spray out of the face and off the water bottle. Perfect.
I also shelve my suspension fork for the snowy months, and put on rigid one. The suspension fork doesn’t work super well and cold weather, so it isn’t worth it to get the delicate fork seals covered in frozen mud.
3. The light
The days in winter are too short to risk going out without a light. Priceton Tech’s Push ($49) puts out 100 lumens with three AAA batteries. That’s plenty of light to get home on the road, and enough to carefully negotiate single track. The thumbscrew handle bar mount is secure and easy to remove.
Those are the only changes I make to my bike for the winter season. If you ride gears, it is a good time to try single speeding, but that’s a topic for another post. Otherwise, the mountain bike you ride all summer will work like a peach.
Next post, I’ll share my thoughts on winter riding clothes.
posted by Montana