We’ve had it easy so far this fall. Nearly perfect fall weather, with barely a kiss of frost, and no icy mornings- yet. Hardly even any rain. I remember last year’s first icy morning was November 11, and we’ll surely pass that. I still see many commuters and recreational riders on the trails, and hope the habit persists even after it does turn cold. To do that requires the right gear of course, as I’ve already mentioned in previous posts, but your bike needs some winter care as well to keep you rolling. Once the road surface gets icy and slushy you will want fenders to keep that salty mess off of you but also off of your bike as much as possible.
Fenders can be full coverage, or fasten to the seat post. That slush can freeze up components making it difficult to shift and brake, will rust your chain, and generally clog things up. What does get on your bike you should wipe off when you finish your ride. A sticky wet lube will help protect your chain.
Today I spent much of the afternoon getting my winter bike, an older mountain bike, up to speed. When warmer weather came last spring I should have paid more attention to the bike, but I didn’t so I have to do it now and have been lucky I haven’t needed it yet.
Once you and your bike are able to handle the cold and conditions, a few tricks, like braking with the back instead of the front wheel will help keep you from slipping. As far as riding in ice and snow, studded tires are good on ice, helping even if you only have one on the front, but not much help on snow, at least until it gets packed. For that, fatter tires are helpful, as for a mountain bike or a fat bike, and at a lower inflation to grip better.
With work on the 27th and Capitol Parkway underpass finishing before long, and the “N” St. protected bikeway the end of this month, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to keep riding on these beautiful new trail additions.
One other trail blockage is on the section of new trail from 84th to 70th. As was the case last summer, work crews constructing retaining walls have placed their pallets of blocks on the trail, causing users to go around. As long as you’re using your lights if it’s dark you should be able to see them and navigate around the obstacles.