Posted on: Thursday, January 3rd, 2008 at 2:53 pm by: Admin
Whether to put your mountain bike away for the winter or not is a choice that any cyclist living in a temperate climate will have to make. If you live in areas that experience snowy winters, you may think that your mountain biking will have to be put on hold for the duration of the winter. However, with winter mountain bike tires, determined bikers do have the option to keep cycling, even when the weather is less than optimal. What’s more, mountain biking in the snow can offer an exciting challenge and some gorgeous vistas for the more athletic biker.Not surprisingly, winter mountain bike tires are the key step for winterizing any bike. The key word when looking at winter mountain bike tires would have to be “traction.” Obviously, biking through snow requires the bike tires to be able to get a grip on shifting, slippery surfaces. Winter mountain biking is actually more similar to biking on sand than to anything else. This means that your winter mountain bike tires should have the biggest treads available. Any reliable bike shop attendant should be able to help you pick out winter mountain bike tires but essentially, think the “knobbier” the tires are, the better.
Switching your standard tires for winter mountain bike tires is pretty much the only thing you can do to physically switch your bike over to winter mode. The rest is all about cycling technique. And it’s also about physics. Think about what the bike, and more importantly, the bike’s wheels are doing when it hits the snow. The wheels are going to be spinning fast and suddenly have nothing to grab on to. Only a maniac will go mountain biking through 4’ snowdrifts, but if you’re dealing with patchy snow, you can prepare yourself when you see it coming. Start by shifting your weight backwards as you approach a snowdrift. The back wheel is what provides most of your propulsion and by weighing it down you’ll increase its contact with the ground under the snow. If the back wheel gets caught spinning in the snow you’re going down for sure.
Similarly, if possible try to raise your front wheel right before you plow into the snow. If the front wheel of the bike hits snow going full speed it’s likely to lose traction completely and skid out. If it comes down on the snow with some weight behind it, it’ll have a better chance of connecting with the ground. Switch down to a lower gear so you get more out of each pedaling cycle. And finally, DON’T STOP PEDALING! You’re not going to coast through a snowdrift, even if you’re going downhill. Basically, winter mountain biking is all about maintaining contact with the ground and traction. Even pros take a few spills, but hopefully the extra padding from your parka will help out because snow biking can be a really cool ride and lots of fun.