Archive for March, 2010

Spring Commute 2010

A pair of mallards on the Assiniboine River. “Come on in, the water’s fine! “

The ice is gone, only a few remnants of snow around the city now. Just patches of white, like icebergs floating in the ocean of concrete
I’ve taken the studded tires off the mountain bike a few weeks ago. I Lost very few studs this winter. Never rode much pavement with the Norco charger mountain bike as I’ve been taking the Simpsons Sears road bike on my commute.  It was still awesome to rip through the Royal Wood trails on the Norco as they were fast hard packed snow this winter season.

Can you see the deer in the upper left?

Now that I’ve commuted the entire winter with the skinnier road tires, the Tioga Blood Hounds. I can definitely say that in my opinion a mountain bike tire is better for the Winnipeg winter. You can do it on the skinnies but I just find that the float and traction you get with the mountain bike tire, beats the ability of the road bike tire to cut down to the pavement in powder and slush and allow you more opportunities for adventure. Plus it’s a much smoother ride over rutted routes. The lower pressure of the  mountain bike tire grips the ice and snow  better that the narrower tire. The more flexible tire causes less deflection when bouncing around on black ice and rough transitions than the rock hard minimally treaded road bike tire.

I’ve installed full fenders on the Simpson Sears 10 speed as the spring melt was quick this year, and left massive water hazards along my route. I fashioned some extra long mud flaps out of pond liner to ensure that I stayed clean enough to walk into an office building and not paint any people or property with street filth.

I swapped the the flats for clipless pedals as I won’t need to worry about any more icy dismounts. I almost forgot about the power gained from foot retention. I can really feel it in the calves.

The roads have been pure shit. The pavement has buckled the crevasses have widened. The job of Winnipeg road works is never done, and never seems to start soon enough. I can feel the these third world roads in my hands and shoulders. I have to concentrate on relaxing my neck and arms to soften the impacts from the uneven road.

Sorry for not posting frequently. The blog is starting to get some traction, I’ll try and be more persitant with my posting to keep it interesting for you readers. If you have any questions, and want my opinion on anything cycling related, as always drop me a line or start a discussion in the comments.

Sunday Commute, “I hate buses”

I still hate buses. That is all.

Secrets of Winter Cycling, “Get a plated chain.”

There has been a couple of occasions during my work commute where I am running late. I grab the bike, run it to the street and hop on. As I start to pedal, all you can here is this horrible  squeaking coming from the chain. The bike sounds like some kind of antiquated farm machinery. I forgot to oil it last night, damn.

Most bicycles sold today come with a stainless or plated chain that can avoid corrosion to some degree. For winter cycling, you will significantly reduce the amount of rust dripping from your bike by purchasing a nickel plated chain.

Nickel has innate  anti-corrosive properties that will make all then difference when running a bicycle through the winter months. Almost all of SRAM or Shimano intermediate chains are plated.

Most winter cyclists will have a winter “beater bike” of some sorts. A semi-disposable variety of bikes, that come with dilapidated equipment. Cheaper bikes will come with cheaper chains. So it’s a good idea to double check what kind of chain you have on there before you end up with rust around your ankles.

When it gets wet and slushy, and the snow just clings to your bike, you’ll have to pay closer attention to the drive train than when it’s cold and arid. Rust build up will add friction to the chain’s components, slowing you down. Robbing you of energy, as made apparent by the horrendous squeaking coming from the metal on metal contact. So make sure you add lube at least once every couple of rides during the winter months.

It takes twice as much oil to maintain a good lube in the winter than in the summer, especially if you are city riding. The calcium chloride, sand and salt mixture that they cover the roads with, just beats up the bike.

The roads will stay wet down to -8 or so degrees when they apply the sand mixture, so dress accordingly. Be prepared for a messy bike ride and to go through plenty of oil.

MEC World Tour 40L Cycling Panniers
15 reviews

MEC World Tour 40L Cycling Panniers

$79.00 CAD

Product Number: 5008-914

Made in Vietnam

Rugged touring panniers that will see you through lots of touring or commuting. Designed to be used on either front or rear racks. 40L capacity per pair.