Winter is officially upon us, at last. After taking a bit of a spill yesterday, I now realize that I am woefully unprepared this winter. I ride a Univega Safari Ten frame on 23s. This doesn’t really cut it in the snow.
I want to find a beater for the winter. I ride from Uptown to the South Side in the morning, then to Pitt in the evening, and back home at night, so I need something that’ll get me up Bates.
I just want something that won’t require much maintenance outside of cleaning and lubing the chain every now and then. I hear fixies are famous for this, but is winter the best time to learn to ride fixed? I have a budget of, I don’t know, $250?
I work a few blocks from Thick. I’ll stop by tomorrow and see what’s in their used inventory.
i’d have a potential beater for you, but it’s much better than that. full-fendered MIYATA touring bike (nitto moustache) and a Sturmey – Archer 3sp (AW) internal gear hub. virtually bomb proof and no maintenance except the occassional drop of oil. I’d be asking for more than $250. but it’s a very, very nice bike. PM me and we can chat. thanks willie.
Two things make a full winter beater relatively unnecessary:
1. Good, full coverage fenders with (at least) a front mudflap.
2. Studded tires.
I rode this morning through varying degrees of slush, snow, ice, and muck, and aside from a bit spray on the chainstays, the bike is clean.
I didn’t use studs for a long time, then finally, last year, I dropped $120 for a set of Marathon Winters. Best money I ever spent on my bike. I mounted them this weekend, and they will stay on ’til spring. They don’t guarantee that a ride in snow and ice won’t be dicey, but they go a long way to make poor road conditions more reasonable.
i also think that decreasing your normal tire pressure by 10-15 lbs makes a very big difference in ability to ride in “deep(ish)” snow. however, you also need to modify your riding a bit to avoid pinch flats, but it’s a lot cheaper than studded tires.
As a fellow male, let me say that old women’s frames, like old “mixtes”, make excellent winter beaters, for when you do take the occasional spill. The Nutcracker is a lovely ballet, but you do not want to perform it yourself. I concur with the old mtn bike suggestion, but an old women’s 3 spd w/fenders etc. might be the best thing of all. And you can lock it up and forget it if you have to resort to the bus.
I saw a bike matching this description for sale at the Thrift Store on Ohio River Boulevard (in Avalon) just this weekend. I think it was a Schwinn Traveller III (maybe more gears than 3, as I think about it….) Looked to be in pretty good shape. I think they were asking $14.95 for it.
+1 on the reduced tire pressure idea. Four snowy winters at SUNY Geneseo on the unicycle, I typically ran about 18-22#, vs. 45-60# in warmer weather. On really slippery mornings, often my biggest clue that the sidewalks were bad were other people having trouble walking. Going slower helps a lot, too, both in not wiping out, and avoiding pinch flats.