I finally had the chance to cycle in the snow with my Surly Long Haul Trucker. What can I say, it is sooo easy.
I have done my fair share of cycling in the snow and snow storms where I couldn’t see further than 50 metres ahead. Quite often I had to stop to remove the snow out of the wheels and away from the brakes. The most “fun” to ride on is when there is one layer of snow that have plenty of tracks from people moving about on bicycles or foot. Which slightly thaws doing the day only to freeze during the night while getting a new dusting of snow.
The main trick to cycling in the snow is pretty much the same when it comes to “normal” cycling.
1/ Don’t brake when you turn, do that before. And don’t slam on your brakes you will only skid.
2/ Cycle at a speed where you have control of your bicycle. Don’t cycle above your skills.
3/ Keep the momentum, not racing, but keep the bicycle going.
4/ Look ahead and around you, so you know what is going around you so that you can plan your route.
5/ If your bicycle is drifting/sliding the wrong way let it do so, don’t fight it, you will get where you want to go soon enough.
6/ Cycle in a lower gear than normally, you will have better control of your bicycle
7/ Have lower pressure in your tyres or even fit wider tyres.
These are only some pointers but above all – take easy and take care. And you will arrive at your destination with a smile on your face and before people in cars or on public transport. Today I took extra time to go 9 and a bit miles but because of the gridlock I made good time.
Oh I forgot one extra point, be prepared to get hit by a snow ball at any time. For some reason cyclist in the snow is a prime target for anyone carrying a snow ball. They must think that we are nuts and therefore needs snow ball in our back.
The Surly is just a dream to ride, because you don’t have to worry about your balance the LHT does that for you. Or all that other work you have to do on other bicycles, it does the riding for you. All you need to think about what tune you want to whistle and where you are going. As I have said before the LHT is like “riding a sofa with four wheels” but in the snow it is “with four wheel drive”.
Though if you cycle in an area where they salt the roads, it is a good idea to give your bicycle a quick wash after your ride.