A Practical Cyclist’s Winter Cycle Clothing Guidelines

While it may be a bit early to be thinking about winter, we’ve recently had some temperatures in the low forties in the mornings. I’m planning on trying to keep cycling through the winter (mostly because I haven’t done much riding this summer). In preparation for winter riding, it helps to have the right clothes for the conditions. The Practical Cyclist has an awesome table of how to dress for the elements when cycling. The image, below, is taken from the post. Click the image for the full table, and make sure you check out the full post, linked below the image.

A Practical Cyclist: Winter Cycle Clothing Guidelines.

Pedal click, drive side

I’ve had a nagging click in the right drive-side pedal for quite some time now.  Using advice from Bicycle Tutor, I looked at the more obvious places for the click.  I took the pedal off and regreased the threads.  I fixed two stuck links in my chain.  I also tightened the crank arm bolt just a bit.  Unfortunately, none of these fixed the issue causing the noise.  The noise occurred on the down stroke, when my right foot was at about the 2 o’clock location in the pedal revolution.  The noise was more obvious when riding my trainer indoors, as there was no wind or road resisitance to muffle sound.  I thought I was looking at a bottom bracket overhaul.  However, with the recent acquisition and installation of a Brooks B17 saddle, the noise seems to have disappeared.  I should have paid more careful attention and noted that the noise did not occur when I was out of the saddle.  For now, my drivetrain noises have disappeared, and the mystery noise has been attributed to the old worn-out seat.  Now all I have to be worried about is trying to break the Brooks in a bit.  Only another 490 miles or so until it feels just right.

Today’s ride to work with slow tires

I rode my Giant Yukon mountain bike to work this morning.  I had originally thought that I would ride the road bike in, but I’m pretty anal about it getting scratched up on the steel bike racks in front of the library.  Not to bash our students any, but they tend to throw their bikes around like somebody else bought them, and in doing so their wrecklessness can often rub your ride the wrong way.

Giant Yukon in front of the Park Place Fountain

Giant Yukon in front of the Park Place Fountain

In preparation for riding the Yukon this moring, I swapped the Serfas Gator tires for the Forte VersTracs.  The Fortes have a ridge down the center of the tire, thereby making the rolling resistance a little less.  I’ve left the Gators on for a while, figuring that as a mountain bike, it would need the knobbies for the singletrack. I’ve been on the singletrack once this year, and I probably road off-road a total of five times last year.  The VersTracs do roll a lot faster than the Gators, but I’m very much used to rolling fast with my road bike.  I felt very sluggish on the mountain bike, even though it only took me 27.5 minutes to make the 6 mile trip.  I was also a little disappointed that I had to dip into the granny gear on the bike to get me up a few of the hills, as the smallest chainring on my road bike is a 39.  I do have a 32 in the rear on my road bike, but I usually can tackle these particular hills with a 39×28 gear.  Dipping into the granny on the mountain bike was kind of puzzling, but I guess the rolling resistance is significant enough to make pedaling harder.

As soon as I can, I’m going to swap out the VersTracs for the set of Serfas Drifters (26×1.5) that are hanging on the garage wall.  While not quite as fast as my road tires (I run 27×1 1/4 on my road bike), they should be a bit faster than the VersaTracs.  I imagine the VersaTracs are fast for some folks, particularly when compared to full knobbies, but for someone who rides a road bike more often than a mountain bike, the resistance can be pretty frustrating.  I wanted to hammer on the way to work, but the tires just left me flat.

Here’s the route to work:

Gear and food for long distance rides

Little Circles has an awesome post where he summarizes the equipment and food he used on a recent 226 mile New England ride.  In his post-ride breakdown, he covers saddle balm, energy gels, front and rear bags, rain jacket, lights, and more.  I’m in the process of adding to my collection of gear for long distance riding, and I’m sure I’ll refer back to his list again when creating my own wish list of bike gear.  If you’re into riding long distances, definitely check out his very helpful and thorough post.