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Kona's Winter Makeover.

December 31, 2009



Took winter Kona out to my physio appointment yesterday and I'm in love with winter riding and studded tires. You techies out there are going to be really disappointed with my vague descriptions and lack of details, but if you're dying to know exactly what brand of whatever I had put on the bike, lemme know and I can ask my redbike guys.




It was -17 C/1 F with a light tail wind on the way there and what felt like a stronger head wind on the way back. The bicycle path has now been appropriately plowed and the crossings are no longer obstructed by gigantic windrows. Thank you, city of Edmonton!

The major advantage to the studded tires I have are that the nubbies are concentrated on the edges, so when I need to get out of the saddle to conquer the moguls I can rock the bike from side to side to build my momentum and also dig into the snow and ice. Glorious.

The mountain bike is also much more suitable for these Edmonton roads. I'm not sure what it's like elsewhere with snow, but the layers of frozen ice alternating with patches of fresh snow and the odd bit of exposed road make for major frustrations. With the mountain bike I'm out of the saddle quite a bit and riding much more aggressively. The advantage to this is feeling incredibly bad-ass and it's also a rigorous workout.




The cold parts were mainly my face, knees, and toes. My boots are insulated, but I'm not sure if the insulation extends down into the toe of my boot. I should have worn warmer socks. I was wearing these thin trouser socks, nothing thermal or wooly. My bad.

I went 4 blocks without my sunglasses and pulled over to quickly put them on. Frozen, watering eyes... blah! Don and I were just online ordering winter helmets and I'm honestly tempted to get goggles! Not ones that make me look like a sport extremist, but pair that will make me look like Lady Gaga. Stay tuned.

Onto the bike. I replaced the old saddle. It used to be horrible. The new one is so much more comfortable. I'm thinking of switching it over to the Madsen in the spring when I put Kona away and take Madsen out again.




One of Kona's main problems was its fit with my too-short arms and legs. My redbike guy figured we should change out the handlebars for this pair that would push me farther back into the saddle instead of the old ones that had me leaning over.




The winter ride. Propped up in snow.




And here's Dougal welcoming me back home after my afternoon excursion. I didn't even bother wearing my parka. I just wore this lined coat and it was plenty warm with the body heat I was generating. Underneath I was wearing a light sweater and skinny jeans.




I'm really excited! Now that I have the right bike, winter riding and I have a bright future together:) I think -20 C will be my cut off for the time being. But you all know me. I'll try anything once.

13 comments:

sara said...

Congrats on your new old bike. Sounds like the redbike guys did a great job helping get you what you need from this bike. And googles? I get this. My eyes tear like crazy behind my eyeglasses on cold days. Please update your google idea. Thinking of getting them for my guys as well...

dagmara said...

Which winter helmet are you getting? I tried the Bern Dottie has but it felt like it was squeezing my melon too tightly in places. I was so disappointed. I wonder if I should just buy a snowboarding helmet since the Bern is not a bicycle helmet per se. A guy at the sports store told me I shouldn't use a boarding helmet for bike riding but I don't see why not. I go snowboarding as well.

miss sarah said...

dag - I wear a kiyak helmet in the summer... and although I've never had to test its usefulness (a good thing) I like it.

I think Dottie has the Bern Muse. I only have a few issues. Nobody in Edmonton stocks Bern except for MEC and the only ones they have don't have the lining, which is pointless if the whole point is having a winter helmet. The only ones I could online that were ladies have polka dots and patterns. Not my style.

So I got the mens "Watt" in white with a lining. I didn't try it on, but hopefully the sizing online is accurate. I'm a small. Don ordered a large green one too.

Natalie said...

Wow, -17, I am seriously impressed. I'm currently in Berlin which is only about -2 and I'm avoiding my bike. It's a Dutch city bike and not that snow friendly... Also I tend to ride without a helmet here which is probably not that sensible on the icy roads. Oh well, back to warmer London soon...

Kelly said...

Great post about winter riding. WOuld love to winter ride here but we are rural and the gritters and plows don't get to us and to be honest I could have great tires but I only have to watch the cars sliding about up the road to decide to stay home! Too many steep drops off the roads here ;)

Furious Kitten said...

I also ride in the winter and I use studded snow tires as well. I think of it just like skiing or snowboarding- whatever works for one works for the other, for the most part. Ski goggles work great, highly recommended, but mine fog. It's great to see you are trying the winter/studded tire/all round commuting as well. We need more of us, lol. I have found that I must leave my bike outside for at least an hour prior to riding or else my tires warm the snow and pack an inch of powder, ruining the effects of the studs. Thanks for posting that, and have a great day.

Katie said...

woo hoo!

miss sarah said...

Natalie - It's your riding that is the important thing!

Kelley - I wouldn't ride on rural snow either. That's what snowshoes are supposed to be for, right? That and/or cross country skiing.

Kitten - Oh, you'll probably be a great resource for winter riding tips. I keep my bike in the garage, which is colder than inside, but not quite as cold as being totally exposed (obviously). Might have to change the mountain bike to a one speed for next winter, but for now I'll just ride what I already have into the ground:)

Anonymous said...

Sarah, you said "...Nobody in Edmonton stocks Bern except for MEC and the only ones they have don't have the lining..."
I think MEC also has the linings - in the snow sports section. That's where I got my winter coconut cover and lining.
Love the post. Ride on.

Dottie said...

That is a sweet ass bike. RAWR. That's what it says to me. You're going to have too much fun.

Please update if you ever find the Lady Gaga goggles. I am a little obsessed with LG lately.

She Rides a Bike said...

I need to make the investment in studded tire, at least for my Specialized. I can stay on the bike path almost all the way to work and right now there is almost always snow and ice to contend with. Right now the road is mostly clear except for patches of ice and I'm afraid that I simply don't trust the drag racers in the monsterously large SUVs to slow down.

I like the new handlebars, BTW.

miss sarah said...

Anon - Thanks for the tip! I was looking online and the photo of the Bern didn't feature a lining... but I haven't gone in real life. The only other things are I insist on getting one with a brim, I'm a size sm, and I like solid colours. So it's hard to find one with all the elements that I want. If I don't like it, I won't wear it.

Do you like your Bern? Sounds like you do...

Dottie - Will report back with Lady Gaga goggles. I'd just keep wearing my sunglasses but I'm afraid they're going to crack with the freezing temperatures.

willio hara said...

I have a Bern Watts helmet and its great! I use if for rollerblading, ice skating, and any skull cracking activities I venture into.

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