Seasons. It’s one of the aspects that keeps cycling compelling year-in and year-out. Of course, there’s the racing season and the off-season but there’s also summer and winter, hot and dry, cold and wet (or freezing and snowy). Depending on where you live, the necessity of putting together a winter rig may vary. Nevertheless, having a bike that does the job regardless of weather conditions will keep you out on the road when normal folks hibernate. Your hot, carbon racing bike with a power meter, deep-dish hoops, and ceramic bearings probably isn’t smart when it’s 40 degrees and raining (or 20 degrees and snowing) unless you’re being paid to ride and the bike’s free. Knowing that, maybe you ride a mountain bike in the winter or maybe your poison looks more like a ‘cross bike.
For me, the winter rig is a fixed gear. Fewer moving parts, less expensive, easy to clean up, and the training benefits of constant spinning and pushing a bigger gear definitely pay off when it’s time to move back to the standard steed. It mixes things up, keeps things interesting, and gets me rolling when the conditions suck. Anything to stay inspired and active. Mine’s a steel track bike without bottle cages so I added tri-bike cages in addition to fenders, MTB pedals (I don’t use my ti speedplays when it’s nasty out), and flipped the stem for a more up-right position. This bike’s only drilled for a front brake but I added a dummy brake hood for my right hand to keep things easy and comfortable. Obviously, this won’t win any awards in the style department but a three hour ride in a 40 degree rain is actually enjoyable with the added accoutrements and comfortable position (legs appropriately embrocated of course).
Just a note, I don’t ride the fixie in a Group Ride. Just not smart. Then again, not sure I want to be in a group when it’s pouring rain or snowing. The fixed gear is for riding solo or with a few friends.
Are you running a winter rig? If so, what’s your favorite set-up?