RIDING IN/ON/THRU SNOW

It’s that time of the year again … SNOW, that is. So if you are like me and try to keep riding thru the winter months … and you live in the north where you have winter with snow …  you have a choice. You can stay home or get out there and ride in the snow. I do what I can but I readily admit I am not the winter rider I used to be when I was younger. I learned quickly that there is a difference between riding ON SNOW as compared to riding IN or THRU SNOW. I learned that a standard tadpole trike is about worthless when it comes to riding thru much snow. 2 or 3 inches is about all standard tires will roll thru and that is only if it is a light dry snow. A heavy wet snow is quite a challenge.

Snow is not as slippery as ice but it can be fairly slippery. Traction can be a problem. The resistance of the tires rolling thru the snow determines the traction. Some riders like studded tires for riding on snow. I am fine with them on ice, but to me they are not practical on snow. I don’t think they provide much traction on snow. All these studded tires shown above are knobby tires and it is the knowbby tire tread pattern which provides most of the traction … not the studs. The studs are for riding on ice.

I much prefer an aggressive knobby tire. I have one (pictured above) but haven’t used it for several years now as I have not been riding in snow deep enough to need it. I get by with my normal tires just fine. When I did use it it provided amazing traction.

That is me plowing snow with my trike in the picture above. Now if you believed that I would like to talk to you about some prime property in southern Florida. Actually that v-plow is being pushed along by a diesel powered train locomotive. At least it was until I got ahold of it.

Here where I live and ride the city is suppose to plow the snow off of the trails when there is a minimum of 3 inches depth. That helps immensely, of course. I used to remove leaves off of one of our local trails. I made up an “angled plow” to do it and it worked great. I did it for about 3 years before it broke and I never repaired it so that ended my leaf removal efforts. I thought about making up a snow plow to pull behind my trike but I never did. I don’t really want to get involved in snow removal. BTW, I could never do it or the leaf removal without having a powerful e-motor to use.

I suppose if I was really serious about winter riding I would use tire chains. However most winters anymore we don’t have the kind of weather that requires them. I would no more than install them when I would have to remove them.

I am not a fan of using plastic cable ties as they break and “litter” the earth as they fall off.

Yes, riding in the winter on snow can be fun. There is no reason to wimp out and stay home … not unless you have some really serious winter weather which is just too nasty to get out in..

This was our driveway in 2012. Needless to say, I did not go out riding at that time. I did go out riding when I took the picture below.

And I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was able to ride thru this snow as it was not deep enough to offer too much resistence to where I lost traction. Most people who talk about going out riding in winter with snow on the ground are riding “ON the SNOW” and not “IN IT” or “THRU IT”. There is a lot of difference. It is easy to ride on the snow but it can be hard to ride in it or thru it.

The velomobile video below demonstrates this. Riding on snow was not at all challenging but when he got to virgin snow and was riding in it he had to give up as he could not make any progress. He totally lost traction.

 

Here is a video I made back in 2008 when I had my homemade trike. I apologize for the poor quality of the video. Unfortunately it is a copy of a copy of a copy several times over and with each copy it lost quality and became blurred.

If you can do so I encourage you to make the effort to get out there and ride thru the winter. Even if you have to make it a shorter ride than you usually do. 

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

 

BRRRR! … HOW TOUGH ARE YOU?

 

I try to go out for a ride almost daily but when winter arrives it gets a bit more difficult to do so. I was planning on going out today (Dec. 18th) but looking at the current weather conditions and forecast I may not be doing so. It is 21 degrees F. and falling with snow flurries and a 12 mph wind gusting to 23 mph and the wind chill factor is 8 degrees. Sitting inside looking out the window it looks like a beautiful day outside … plenty of sunshine. Well, looks can be deceiving.

When I was much younger that would not phase me. I was tough and I could handle it.  I used to ride a motorcycle in nasty winter weather. Once I even wore my ice skates to use as outriggers to keep my motorcycle upright as I rode on ice covered streets after an ice storm. As I have aged (today, the 27th, as this posts is my 73rd birthday) things have changed. And the older I get the more they seem to change. I guess this ol’ bird isn’t so tough anymore. Part of the problem is that I find it harder to keep warm, especially my hands and feet.

I have tried various articles of clothing in an attempt to keep warm. I think I have my upper body taken care of. My lower body seems to be warm enough but my legs feel like ice to the touch. I don’t really understand that. How can I feel warm but have ice cold skin that takes a long time to heat back up once I come inside from being out in the cold? My feet do ok just wearing wool socks and good quality leather shoes. I don’t think they would stay warm enough in this weather however. I can usually last for about an hour before my feet start getting cold. That is something I need to continue to work on. As much as I don’t care to do it I may try just putting plastic bags over my shoes to keep the cold air/wind from them. Somewhere on my computer I should have a picture of a guy on a tadpole trike in the winter. He was wearing either large oversized socks or leg warmers over his shoes to keep his feet warm. He looked like a giant elf with the sock/legwarmer sticking way out in front of his shoe as he pedaled along. I have searched for this picture on my computer and online in order to post it here but can’t find it.

Motivation comes into play. I can’t think of anything that will motivate me to go out riding when it is colder outside then I care to deal with. If I were a rich man, if I were single or my wife was retired like I am  (she is younger than me) … just maybe we would be snowbirds and leave these northlands for a warmer climate for the winter months. I guess only time will tell concerning this. I would move away from here in a heartbeat but my wife has most of her family here and doesn’t want to leave here. Bummer! My family is all gone (deceased) so there is nothing holding me here.

How about you? Are you tough? Can you … do you go out riding in winter weather if you live somewhere that has winter weather? If you do, what do you do to keep warm? Do you struggle with motivation?

This motivates me ifin’ the weather is okay …

That is a beautiful scene and quite inviting to me.

Well, that’s my story and I am stuck with it. And winter has just begun. Oh my! Oh me! Oh no! Maybe I am just having a bad dream and I will wake up to sunshine and 75 degrees. Now I am dreamin’.  But one thing is for sure. I really do want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BAR END MITTS … NOW THAT I HAVE USED THEM FOR AWHILE

Shortly after purchasing and installing bar end mitts last winter I wrote an article about my first impressions. I continued to use them all of last winter and removed them come Spring. I put them back on a few weeks ago assuming I would continue to use them this winter but about a week ago I took them back off as I decided to try something different. What I am trying to say is I no longer have the same impression of them as I had when I first wrote about them.

They do block the wind which is appreciated. However, they are just too small and there is not enough room inside of them. My hands are not only right up against them which means the cold is transferred thru whatever gloves or mittens I wear and causes my handwear not to work as well as it would and can without this scenario. And because they are too small inside I am limited as to what handwear I can use. In addition to these problems it is nearly impossible for me to twist my twist shifters to shift gears. Working the brake levers is even challenging.

So I made the decision to remove them and just wear my Hotfingers Rip N Go mittens which do a good job of blocking the wind and air from passing thru them. Mittens are a bit cumbersome but I can shift and work my brake levers with them.

If needed I can also wear my hand knit wool mittens inside of the Hotfinger mittens which is warmer yet.

And I can use chemical hand warmers inside of either pair of mittens if needed. It has been working quite well for me … much better than using the bar end mitts.

As an update … I have discovered the best combination for me thus far. I have removed the wool mittens from inside of the Hotfinger mittens and am using the chemical hand warmers inside of the Hotfinger mittens. My thumbs were getting cold so by doing this there is room enough inside of the thumbs of the Hotfinger mittens to place chemical hand warmers and keep my thumbs warm. Of course, I am using twice as many of the hand warmers by doing this but at least my entire hands are staying warm.

I know that there are bar end mitts made for ATVs , snowmobiles and motorcycles which are larger and might be okay. I will keep this in the back of my head in case I need to go that route. I have to admit I am skeptical as to whether or not they would be large enough to eliminate the issues I have with these I already bought. Meanwhile I will continue on with what I am doing now and hope I am done with bar end mitts. They are ugly looking when installed anyway. I think I am going to be able to …

ENJOY THE RIDE 

and

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

using my mittens. Now if I could just find a mitten for my nose.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ARE YOU READY FOR WINTER?

Many of us live where we deal with winter weather. And some of us try to keep riding our tadpole trikes thru the winter. So I ask ya … are you ready for winter? It is upon us whether we like it or not … and whether we are ready or not. And there is nothing we can do about shy of leaving for warmer weather elsewhere … which, of course, some do. But for many of us that is just not an option. We are stuck here in cold weather that comes upon us. The only other choice is to hibernate indoors thru the winter. Spending 5 months or so inside is not something I care to do. I would be climbing the walls if I tried that. For about three consecutive years I brought my trike inside the house and had it set up on a trainer thru the winter months. The “novelty wore off real quick”.  I have never liked stationary exercise. I need to be outdoors and moving. Many many years ago I went inside mall walking in the early morning thru the winter. I could not stand walking inside so I went outside and walked around out in the cold.

So for those of us stuck where we are planted we just have to deal with it. I am among those who try to keep riding as much as I can. If it gets too cold I am done for. If we get too much snow … especially a wet heavy snow … I am done for. If the snow we get is too deep and isn’t being plowed off I am done for even if the weather is decent otherwise. Of course, my daily mileage is less than it is in nice riding weather. And depending upon the weather it may be less some days than others.

Keeping warm can be challenging. I have tried numerous approaches over the years and most of them have been rather unsuccessful. My hands and my feet are what I have the most problem with keeping warm enough. After many years of trying various things I think I have finally got something going for myself that is promising. I have received lots of suggestions from others over the years and have tried several of them. I am here to tell you that what works for one person may not work for another. That being said I am about to tell you what seems to be working for me. As I indicated it might not work for you.

In order to make this quick and easy for me I am simply going to copy and paste what I posted on Facebook:

“Cold winter weather is just around the corner according to the forecast. I can’t say that I am looking forward to it. I am sitting here at home now waiting for it to warm up before I go out riding. It was 18 degrees F. when I got up this morning. I try to ride thru the winter but not in the bitter cold. I can handle the 30s although I have to admit that the older I get the harder it is to do so. I much prefer the 50s but that is not typical winter temperatures for northern Indiana. I have experimented with various clothing and handwear trying to find something that works keeping me warm. Last winter I used “bar end mitts” on my handlebars. I liked them at first as they kept the cold air and wind off of my hands, however, they are just too small inside and my hands are right against them which transfers cold thru them onto my hands. Also it is nearly impossible to work the twist shifters to shift gears and it is even difficult to work the brake levers. I reinstalled them several weeks ago but I removed them about 3 weeks ago. I have found that I do better without them. I am wearing two pair of mittens … a hand knit wool pair which do a pretty good job of keeping my hands warm although air passes thru them … so I wear a second pair of mittens … Hotfingers Rip N Go which are fairly warm by themselves but they do an excellent job of stopping any air from passing thru. It is a bit bulky but they are doing a good job. And, if needed, I can also use chemical hand warmers inside of them. So my hands are staying warm now with this combination. Shifting is still a bit challenging but better than when using the bar end mitts. I have always had a problem keeping my feet warm but I think I have that resolved as well. I am wearing one pair of thick wool socks and leather shoes over them. So far that is doing the job but if needed I can always try using a plastic bag over my foot to block air from getting thru. For my legs I am using a pair of 32Heat “tights” and a pair of sweat pants over them. For my upper body I am wearing layers of a long sleeve undershirt, a regular long sleeve shirt with a pocket, a duck down filled coat and a hooded sweatshirt. This combination keeps me very warm. For my head I wear a ball cap or visor to help block the sun from my eyes and a stocking cap with built in earmuffs over the ball cap/visor. Lastly I use the sweatshirt hood over both to add warmth plus help hold the hat on my head when the wind is blowing. My head stays plenty warm as well with this combination. I also wear a pair of wrap around bubble type safety glasses which do a good job of keeping the air out of my eyes so basically only my nose, mouth, cheeks and chin are exposed to the air. I have not yet needed anything over my face but I do have a couple of various things I can use if I need to. I have to admit that rather then bundling up like this I would much prefer riding in shorts and a short sleeve shirt in 70 degree weather.”

I am in there somewhere!

Please feel free to leave a comment telling others what works for you keeping you warm while out riding in the cold. Notice I said out riding in the cold. We can do without the comments about riding in Florida, Arizona, Southern California, etc. or riding inside on a trainer where it is toasty warm. I am not addressing wimps here but real he men and women who are tough.

As they say, all others need not apply!

So bundle up …

And don’t forget to put on those long johns …

Do whatever it takes for you to keep warm enough and to …

FREE GIFT awaits you!

LET IT SNOW … JUST SOMEWHERE ELSE!

A fellow tadpole trike rider shared his video on Facebook. It is of him riding his trike while it is snowing and has the song, Let It Snow, playing. It is kind of a neat video so I am sharing it here. I personally can’t go along with the theme though. I don’t like snow and having to deal with it. It is fine as long as it isn’t anywhere I have to walk, drive or ride. Unfortunately it doesn’t fall to earth like that. It is pretty to look at, but that is the only thing about it I like. And the older I get the less I like it. I mean, I don’t engage in snowball fights anymore. And another thing … my trike can’t roll thru much snow, especially wet snow so it really messes me up as far as winter riding. Brutal below normal temperatures and nasty wind chill factors don’t help any either. C’mon Spring!

Click HERE to view video of Let It Snow.

Let It Snow

For what it is worth I think it is great that there are some trike riders who

get out there and ride during the winter. I used to, but not any more.