Friday, January 10, 2014

Ice bike outing

After suffering from a severe case of winter bike envy, I went ahead and bought a dedicated winter bike for myself, too. The bike is nothing special—a mid-range Norco MTB from 2001—but that we the idea: get a cheap used bike, have fun on it for a few months, and then sell it off again. The only modifications I made to the bike where a pair of Schwalbe Ice Spiker tires, swept back handlebars (thanks to Fitz & Follwell for hooking me up with these!) to deal with my inability to ride straight bars without pain, and a pair of pogies, which haven't arrived yet.

I went on a short maiden voyage a few days ago to see if everything worked alright, but today it was time for a proper outing. Montreal had a lot of snow this year and after a spell of bitter cold there was significant freezing rain, turning roads, sidewalks and trails into an icy mess—in other words: perfect conditions!

As the path on the Lachine Canal doesn't get cleared at all in winter and is too rough to ride on, I went to the shore of the St. Lawrence in Verdun. I was happy to see that the path had indeed been cleared and, better yet, cleared in a way that created a mix of compacted snow and ice. This was great fun to ride on!

The ice begins!
After a few kilometers, however, the surface suddenly turned into a skating rink. I guess they must have cleared the path at a different time or in a different way. Cautiously, I continued. The Ice Spikers did their job in keeping me upright but I felt that I didn't have much traction to spare. This wasn't as much fun and I decided to turn around after a kilometer. For the way back, I steered clear of the icy trail and rode straight across the park. The snow was still a foot deep but because of the freezing rain it had an icy surface strong enough to support me and the bike—at least most of the time...

Lots of ice on the St. Lawrence. I was tempted to go ride the ice but only saw one other person out ice-fishing
I had to go slowly because one could never tell when the tires would sink into the snow and bring me to an abrupt halt. But hey, very enjoyable!

Sweaty but happy—selfie back home


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