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Newbie winter riding observations

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Newbie winter riding observations

Old 02-18-19, 08:52 AM
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PGHNeil
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Newbie winter riding observations

Long story short, I learned to ride when I was 6 year old but never rode in the winter. Now I'm pushing 50 and an OTB senior moment ended my riding season prematurely and left me feeling both disappointed and unfulfilled. When my wife surprised me with a new hardtail for Christmas (2019 Trek Marlin 7) I was determined to redeem myself and start riding at the first hint of a thaw. On Saturday, I set forth on the Trek through the mud and muck and found that I liked it. Here are some quick observations:

1: layers make the difference. I especially love the suggestion for wearing a full face mask and mittens vs. gloves. I may have overdid it with ski goggles but overall I felt more comfortable than I would have in the heat of August. You can't shed layers in summer without treading on others' sense of decency, but I'm hoping by then that the old dad bod is more presentable!

2: sometimes, with regards to riding conditions the colder the better. On Saturday it was above freezing and despite the addition of some flimsy fenders my backside was peppered with muck and the 2.2"/2" stock tires were not quite wide enough to keep me afloat. OTOH, on Sunday it was below freezing (yet not icy) and I made much better headway - though in the muddy sections my tires still lacked "grip."

3: there are less people out walking on the trails when it's cold outside, though there were a few die hard dog owners to muck things up as it were. Conversely in the summer, the same trails are littered with strollers 3 abreast, situationally-unaware kids with training wheels and weekend warriors who try to multitask bicycling with dog walking - several of my "pet peeves."

3A: less riders out there allows me to set my own pace. I know that a hardtail on a paved trail in summer is inherently slower than the skinny tired ride of choice but in winter I don't mind plodding along without worrying about somebody whizzing past me without even calling ahead "on your left!"

So today I'm taking a maintenance day (and washing my cold weather gear) but I'm thinking that first thing tomorrow I'm going to go back out there once the school bus pulls away. Is there anything else I should do to prepare? For example, I'm wondering if there's a tidy way of cleaning my bike inside (like using a deep tray) instead of hosing it off in the driveway. I'm not about to fully join the Polar Bear club!
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Old 02-18-19, 10:19 AM
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Neil - I am strictly a road cyclist. But WRT the paved trails...and I know you probably realize all this...but you have to remember that it's a "MUP" (Multi-Use Paved) trail. Emphasis on the "multi." So, since tax dollars go to paying for it (ok maybe there are some that aren't publicly supported), we (cyclists) have to grin and bear the pedestrians, strollers, kids with training wheels, etc. And I've been on trails in numerous states and there doesn't seem to be a standard for which side walkers and runners should be on. Some say all pedestrians on left, some on right. Some say walkers left, runners right...etc. But, should those groups not be allowed to use the paths...the loss of their support for the trail(s) might mean the trails wouldn't be there for us more dedicated cyclists. Nevertheless...I feel your pain. On those occasions when I feel like a ride on my local MUP...I generally try to do it at a time when the trail is less crowded. Conversely...and call me a perv...but sometimes I purposely go to the MUP on those first warm spring days when I know the scenery will be plentiful...and I'm not talking about the trees and flowers.

For cleaning the crud from the bike...this is what I do with my road bikes. After a ride that is particularly sloppy, as soon as I finish the ride when it's all still wet, I rinse the entire bike off with a bucket of hot water. Special attention to the brakes, derailleurs, and BB. In addition to all the roadsalt and dirt, the hot fresh water helps remove much of the oils picked up from the road. It also rinses away chain and other lube, so that needs re-applying. To dry I set it in a non-horizontal position so that the water doesn't always sit in the lowest spot (most of my bikes are old restored steel frames).

Dan

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Old 02-18-19, 01:05 PM
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Thx. I'm going to do just that. I will just have to clear out a spot in my basement between the deep sink and the drain and use a spare plastic litter box for any spillage.

I understand the whole "share the trail" thing. I was just venting. I usually just grin and bear it but it irks me when people in general are completely oblivious to their surroundings - or to their dependents. That attitude was deeply ingrained after working in naval aviation. Part of the allure of having a MTB was that I could veer off the trail and give a wide berth if necessary if surprise is a factor. FWIW I slow down when I'm approaching and try to announce my presence as loudly as possible. I learned the hard way when a jogger wearing earbuds did an about face in front of me without checking her six and I ended up in the bushes.
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Old 02-18-19, 01:48 PM
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FYI -- I do the initial hot water rinse in the driveway, let most of the water drip off, and then take it inside for air drying.

Oh, and since you're former NAVAIR...you should be familiar with the "wash up, rinse down" process. That's how I still roll.

Dan
(CTOC(AW), USN, Ret.)
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Old 02-18-19, 04:01 PM
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For spraying on your driveway with warm water:
https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.2...000755741.html

Works well enough.
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Old 02-19-19, 07:48 AM
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PGHNeil
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
For spraying on your driveway with warm water:
https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.2...000755741.html

Works well enough.
Perfect! I actually have one that I use to clean my deck every spring; I use it to mix cleaning solution.
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Old 02-19-19, 09:41 AM
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I occasionally use a bucket of warm water with Dawn dish soap & a long handled soft brush. I think I got the brush at an auto parts store or box box auto dept. then, after brushing I dump the water here & there on the bike. I try to use a conservative amount of soap so that rinsing with the same water is effective enough. ideally I'll bring the bike inside my basement to drip dry. then a day after when the chain is dry, I'll add some lube

sounds like you are riding on a paved multi use trail w occasional wet dirt stretches? I too prefer below freezing temps to keep that dirt firm & not soggy. in my area, we keep ice on shady trails almost all the way thru March. I tend to like gravel type roads rather than straight dirt which can be soft slow mud when saturated. & that makes for more washing. another minus

I like this kind of "hard pack", especially when dry. but even when wet, it isn't a mushy bog



I stay away from doing the drivetrain (too much), except "sometimes" & when I do, I use some other brushes. but for year-round removal of superficial but messy dirt & mud I use the long handled soft brush



but basically, this stuff is not staying on my bike




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Old 02-20-19, 06:32 PM
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Yes, I like to do my 12 mile maintenance rides on a local walking trail that has a 3.5" mile section of asphalt, but for the most part it's crushed limestone which tends to get everywhere. When it was below freezing the limestone was more solid.

FWIW my goal is to venture on local singletrack in the spring. For part of my maintenance rides I take a slight detour into a wooded section of a local park and do a dirt doubletrack that is windy with a downhill grade and lots of roots and loose soil.
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