Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter Single Track Slalomy Fun

I got out for my first ride out in Kanata Lakes in almost five months this past Saturday. Being away nearly all Fall and being somewhat of a winter riding whimp, I've steered clear of riding the bike in the outdoors. However, after reading about Matt's and the Vegan Vagabond's experiences I had to get out and see for myself.

Kenda Nevegal 2.1s plowed through the snow with ease.

Winter provides riding opportunities to go where you wouldn't normally ride (ie. a swampy pond), unless of course you had a snorkel and a propensity for mosquitoes and leeches. I used a 32 x 22 combo for two reasons. First, it's February . . . I don't have the leg strength to push a big gear for two hours (sad), and two, you don't want to over torque trying to spin a big gear on a climb or rise cause you'll spin out easily while on snow and ice. Weighting (something I have plenty of) the bike is more important while winter riding keeping your traction.

It's been so long since I've been on the diSSent . . . . I love riding this bike.
I managed to get in about two hours of riding in KL - riding everything that was ridable on both sides of the tracks.

In the past I've always been hesitant to ride suspension in the cold for fear of fugging with the internal tid bits and messing up some expensive equipment. Now that I am only riding rigid, no worries.
There was a range of trail conditions which went from hard packed luge-like runs to some infrequently traveled trails, the latter were a bit more challenging to navigate. Low air pressure (easy with the tubeless) with Kenda Nevegals 2.1s gave plenty of bite to climb nearly everything. Studded tires were certainly not necessary, but would have added to the control factor in some icy, cornery sections. I found that I had to gingerly control the bike in some sections, mostly on corners, and only went down once . . . but it's snow, so meh.

What really inspired me to get out on the trails was my buddy's, Fritz's, ride video from last week. My experience was pretty much the same on Saturday - fast and flowy fun. Lack of snow and warm temperatures and rain have really buffed the trails.


CB2 said...

Blogging on a Sunday, that's as bad as reading blogs on a, nevermind.
Saturday I went out with a 32x20, and was thoroughly worked over, today I threw all good sense out the window and put on an 18 which was much better believe it or not. I think it's like the "Winter" switch in a Volvo that doesn't let the tranny shift into low.

Mike MacDonald said...


Disco Stu said...

I'm also hesitant about winter riding on suspension. My other concern do the hydraulic brakes hold up in the cold?

the original big ring said...

Chaaaarlie - will try a bigger gear next time, though the legs won't like it

Mike - yes, nice indeedy - do you have a cross bike yet?

Stu, got a little break squeal - I figure it was from melting snow that got kicked up on the on rotor (just the back one). Funny, cause it doesn't squeal when it's wet in warmer temps. No issues with the lever or resevoir though.