This is common cycling terminology and what I think about anytime i don’t want to roll out of bed in the cold dark morning or if there is unexpected snow flurries, like yesterday.  The snow made for a slow but enjoyable commute home. During the ride I saw the after math of a few car accidents and even witnessed two bike crashes, one being my own.  Quick stops for cars + the city lead = front wheel washout.

A few words to the wise if your going to brave the elements this time of the year.
In snow/ice don’t change your acceleration rapidly, ie don’t increase your torque quickly and/or lock up your brakes.
In general learn to use your front brake. You should learn to stop using only your front brake, especially in poor weather conditions as your rear tire can easily skid and is rendered useless in quick stops.

As for dressing for the cold this is really something you will have to dial in on your own but the key is layers! For the weather this week I wore a base layer, like an under amour, then a jersey to put my phone, extra gloves, ect. in, then a breathable jacket. Some like to wear a semi-windproof jacket, but I tend to sweat way too much in them. The last thing you want when its cold is to be sweaty, especially if you get a mechanical (ie flat). Also make sure to cover your knees when its below 60-65F. This is due to the fact that there is not much skin on your knees and they get hit with the brunt of the wind. They will get cold very fast even if you cant feel them doing so and you want the blood to flow as easily as possible since they are in motion everything pedal revolution.
Your extremities will go numb first, I promise. I usually wear a pair of ski gloves and recently tried out a pair of lobster claw gloves that are more like mittens but have the index finger by itself. They do well at keeping your three fingers warm but you do loose a bit of dexterity. The key for your feet is to not wear too thick of socks that it make your shoe tight. This compression on your foot will constrict the blood flow making your feet colder sooner. This is tough when wearing cycling specific shoes since they are usually worn with thin socks. Some people switch to boots and take off their clipless pedals, others buy winter specific cycling shoes, or a set that is a half or full size too large to use thicker socks. I personally use my same shoes, duct tape a plastic bag around the front air vents, then put on cycling shoe covers.  I know this is very basic and there is a great deal more to be said but if you do have any questions let me know, I might be able to help with my small amount of knowledge.

Key is to slow down a bit. Its cold, the conditions are less than favorable, but the ride is usually much more epic in these conditions. Take the time and enjoy the scenery.

The outfit & rig.


Beards actually do serve a purpose, I promise.

Took a while to get the bike de-snowed, and everything cleaned up last night for the ride this morning.

Also if your in the Philadelphia area and enjoy bikes, the annual Bilenky cyclocross race. I would definetly be competing in this if I had a cross bike… ie next bike on the agenda, once we sell a few of course.

bilenky junkyard 2010


9 responses to “HTFU.

  1. a little further north and we didn’t get a bit of snow yesterday. i wouldn’t trust that front brake a whole lot either as it’ll wash out just as quick. best to go fixed in the winter muck; more control and no mechanical bits to freeze up and be rendered useless. don’t forget the fenders either; sks raceblades will fit on your bike just fine and provide some protection.

    once the temps drop to the teens in the city that ice beard will really come to life!

    • agreed, the steel fuji will get a chainring swap and be fixed soon.
      what size tires are you running on the xcheck? are 25s in snow a terrible idea?

      • 28’s on the steamroller now and what i’ve run for years. 25’s will be fine as they’ll cut thru the snow down to the road below especially in the city where you’ll be dealing with a churned up slushy mess. on hardpack though super fat
        surly snow tires are the ticket to float on top but overkill generally. oddly mt bike tires are the worst of both worlds.

        traction is always limited but at least you should be able to hold a line with skinnies. i’ll break out the studs on the worst days but even then its sketchy dealing with cars on narrower roads an just not always worth it.

  2. I wiped out about 2 miles in and ended up walking the rest of the way home… I bounced my head (in a helmet) off the pavement and felt a little dizzy afterword. I’m not sure I’m going to attempt biking in the snow again until I’ve either gotten studded tires or some up with a DIY solution that makes me feel more confident. FWIW, I was only going about 5mph, but I was rouna corner when I went down.

  3. how are cars already getting into accidents, with 1 inch of snow on the ground? you’d think they all moved up here from florida, sheesh. stay safe out there.

    my man’s bike tire popped the other day during his commute so i’ve been guillting him into taking the el instead of driving to work. 🙂

  4. Sounds like you could use a nice custom off-road bicycle with really good brakes!

  5. I am so impressed. I brought my bike to the bike room yesterday where it will rest until spring. I am SO accident prone as it is!!!!!

    We saw a guy crossing the street yesterday and fall flat on his butt, then get up only to do it again 5 seconds later. I felt SO bad!

  6. Yep, yesterday was definitely a learning experience for me. Wiped out on black ice twice. Debating weather or not to get wider tires but I don’t think my frame can really handle it. But I switched out my drops for risers and got a whole lot of advice on how to ride in this, so hopefully I will get better soon!

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