Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Just Stop It Already!

Uggh!  Here we go again..... Winter.
Two days of glorious weather, albeit super windy, and then the hammer fell. Winter sucker punched us with a last ditch effort Monday. I get it...... Early Spring and Late Winter overlap quite a bit in this area, as I am sure that they do elsewhere. Often here it is a wild swing, and Tuesday was no different in that regard.

I awoke to a coating of snow after a day when it rained so hard it was like Spring was washing away the detritus of the Winter. Only Winter wasn't done with us yet.

The choice was for the fixed gear 1X1 Surly. I figured that I would ride it instead of a fat bike in defiance of the return of Wintry weather. Plus, although it may seem strange, fixed gear bikes seem to handle adverse traction situations really well. I can brake using slight back pressure on the pedals and the tires don't break free. It's weird,. unless you've ridden fixed gear, then you are probably shaking your head right now in agreement. I cannot properly describe the difference between one gear that coasts and one gear that doesn't, but besides the obvious, there are a lot of things dissimilar about the two. 

For one thing, and maybe this is just me, but riding fixed up a climb is easier. I actually like it better than with a freewheel. Now I should say that I mean slippery, muddy, slopes, and just climbing in general. It's uncanny the things I can get away with on the very same bike riding fixed that I cannot do at all when the free wheel is engaged. I know that may seem really hard to believe, but I can attest to the differences. Just yesterday I made it up the muddy slope I was really thinking I wouldn't make it up. It is not the tire, that is for sure! Those Extraterrestrials don't handle slippery stuff well at all. But fixed the rear tire feels like it has big knobbies on it when I climb up slippery stuff.

First tracks.....
Further on into the ride I was plowing over, through, and around all sorts of ice and snow which didn't phase the bike at all. I likely wouldn't have done as well without the fixed gear, but I also admit this snow was better from a traction standpoint than maybe it could have been. That said, it was slippery out there and I was actually more worried about the cars around me than I was about slpping out on the 1X1.

So, thanks to the low pressure that sat over Iowa like a vortex of doom, we had snow falling almost all day. I wasn't very impressed. Thankfully it was warmer and a lot of the snow melted on contact later on into the day. Now we just have to sit a day or two until things warm back up again and we can progress onward with this Spring season that should be happening now.

Good thing I have a few bikes with fenders!

4 comments:

phillip Cowan said...

+1 on the fixed gear for sloppy conditions. What pressure are you running in the extra-terrestrials?

Guitar Ted said...

@phillip Cowan- I generally shoot for 20 psi rear, and about 18 psi for the front.

Craig Groseth said...

I commute fixed over our long winter, primarily for the better traction on snow and ice. I describe it to folks, in car terms, as the difference between front wheel drive and rear wheel drive. But the younger set still doesn't understand, as few rear wheel drive cars are on the road. So, I offer to let them ride it.

Michael said...

We got nailed with snow and wind in Eau Clare on Monday and Tuesday. That was completely nasty.

I'm currently singlespeedless, but I've used a fixed gear in the winter and it seemed to me like the constant, steady amount of torque to the rear wheel had a lot to do with its "stickiness" in slippery conditions.