Sunday, December 21, 2008

Maybe It's Time To Get A Pugsley

Riding was a challenge today. I underestimated how furious the snow would fall this afternoon. The roads were plowed but snow covered in the morning. I foolishly waited until lunchtime to switch the tires over to studded Nokian Extremes. By then the snow was falling at 2+ inches per hour and the plows stopped coming through. I thought no problem, I ride this stuff all the time. I'll just stay in culdesacs to be safe.

There was over 4" of snow in the road when I started riding. In an hour, this went to 6" plus. Where the car tires went was utterly unrideable. Even though it was packed, it was loose and as squirelly as shit. I had to ride in the unperturbed snow which was really hard work, but at least allowed control. Eventually, I could not even ride up modest grades. I was in my lowest gear at 3.5mph and slipping the rear wheel each pedal stroke. I gave up after an hour. I had hoped to ride two hours. It still beat riding a trainer for an hour by a long shot.

If we continue to get winters like these, I may have to invest in a Pugsley. These bikes are very popular in the midwest, Alaska, and I'm sure all across Canada. You can run double the standard tire width at single digit PSI tire pressure. This allows you to float rather than plow through the snow. Sometimes plowing works best, such as light powder that lets you punch through to earth. But with the dense snow that is falling in the present storm, it would be much better to stay more on top of it.

I'll be taking my winter bike to Michigan in a couple days for the holiday break. They've been getting hammered this winter too, minus ice storms. I may be doing mostly skiing. I may be able to skate ski locally for the first time since I took up the discipline a few years ago instead of driving hours north in search of groomed skate snow. I will still make at least one pilgrimage north to the Vasa trail, venue of the popular North American Vasa. The 25km loop is pure bliss to ski.

1 comment:

CB2 said...

A friend of mine has a Pugsley, can can go farther in the snow but not much. The snow we got here in CT this weekend was too deep for the Pugsley.
Last year on the 29'er I used the WTB Weirwolf 2.55's @ about 15 PSI, and they worked pretty good. This year I'm trying Nevegal 2.2 for more all around versatility (Weirwolfs suck for everything nut hardpack and snow).
On the 26", WTB Mutanoraptor 2.4's are great.