Friday, December 01, 2006

A Winter Bike

Today ice and snow pummeled Chicago with a couple inches. With this first snow fall the biggest issue at hand is: the WINTER BIKE.

Should we get rusty mountain bikes to ride in this crap? Do we need goggles? and balaclavas?
God, let's hope not.

If you ride a bike all winter will it be RUINED? If it is a sturdy bike, the kind that won't get stolen at the Wicker Park El stop there is a good chance it will be fine.

A Winter Bike should be something heavy and dependable...not some futuristic light weight frame. It should be heavy, with thicker tires, and a frame/handle bars that don't force you to bend over a lot, thus freeing you to look up and spot hazards (glaciers) on the road.

I am not saying we should all ride mountain bikes in the snow. To the contrary I think it is a bad idea to ride with a really thick tread which will catch a lot of snow and be very slick with all the inserted ice.
Winter Bikes Should Have:
1. PAINT on the FRAME (small step in the crusade against rust...fucking expert advice here)
*you probably already have paint on your frame so skip to #2

2.FENDERS if you don't want to turn up soaked like you rolled in the muddy road after biking to work or a party you should have fenders on your bike.

Types of Fenders:
cute tail
the kind that clips on the seat post, a flap that usually points up and is adjustable
most commonly seen on hot, light weight bikes when it rains because they can clip it on and off, for those concerned with keeping the bike light weight, attractive in the few accessories (they probably don't have a kickstand or a derailleur), and low in price. If you use this your bike will get completely dirty when you ride, and you'll have to clean all salt, sand and mud off on a regular basis. Your ass may be dry, but the bike is destroyed.

full coverage
these actually come over your wheel and protect your bike AND your ass.
I have been shamed into getting these because whenever I walk into my bike shop they make "jokes" about me needing to take a class on how to clean a bike...ass holes...but it is true. I ride my bike in all kinds of weather and all the crap ends up on my cranks and chain and derailleur and inside my head tube. I have seen really cheap full coverage fenders that get bent and are annoying because they constantly have to be adjusted and want to rub against your tires.

Make fenders a good investment by buying nice ones from your local bike shop.

With what little research I have done I think fenders run from $20-$50. Take your bike into the shop so you get the right size for your bike. While you are there let the staff install them...I hear they are really hard to put on properly, the small fee will be worth it.

As a reward for being so practical and reading the less than attractive notes on biking through sludge here is a little bike porn/fashion. My obsession with human mustaches has been transferred in bikes to a handlebar fetish:

Major Taylor Bars
(named after first African-American
Racer, lived in Chicago, 1878-1932)

Bull Horns...I saw one bike with actual
animal horns as

Moustache Bars- marry me

Noah's Arch

Albatross- rhyme of the ancient mariner luv

Short/Sawed Bars- bike polo?
I imagine this bike eats
toffuti cuties and identifies
with Jem, the cartoon rockstar


Blogger Julia Miller said...

major taylor type

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems like the most important elements are:
1) guts
2) a strong enough desire to avoid the CTA
3) sensible riding (those bumpy ice patches are really dangerous)
4) having somewhat of a beater bike, or not being too vain about your bike

i think a hybrid is the ideal winter bike.

11:43 AM  
Blogger sarah said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:26 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

it is hard not being vain about ones bike; it helps that I really like the term "beater bike".

The CTA takes FOREVER. The only reason to ride it would be because it is a good source for Missed Connections on else will I meet anyone it the city unless I sit shyly reading an impressive theory novel while someone cute sits next to me with an ipod and then we both rush to our computers to say hello?

12:34 PM  

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