Get Thee Behind Me …

Me a couple of days ago: I’ve got around 20 minutes on this fine, almost springlike day, before I need to set off into town. How can I be most productive?

*prepares batch of sourdough, sends an important email, orders a repeat prescription, leaves house with five minutes in hand, feeling almost like an organised person.*

Brain: don’t forget you need to swap the ice tyres back off your bike.

For yes, it has reached the time of the year when the ice tyres’ role is to be in the wrong place – either off the bike when it is icy, or on the bike when it is not. The latter wouldn’t matter that much – I quite like the rice crispy noise they make on the tarmac and it helps alert pedestrians to my presence behind them far more effectively than the bell-or-no-bell calculation – except that my hub dynamo is on my non-winterised front wheel so at this time of the year it’s a choice between grip or lights (this winter, I’ve been running my dynamo lights day and night because even during the day the sun is so low it’s bound to be in someone’s eyes).

snow-covered bike

What do you look for in a winter bike?

I could get a set of battery lights, but space on my handlebars is at a premium and charging them is a pain, especially when they’re only occasionally used. I could get a second dynamo for my winter wheels, but a nice hub dynamo costs How Much!? and – such are the quirks of the human brain – it seems somehow less wasteful to get a whole new winter bike with a dynamo to use on the icy days than it does to get just a new front wheel with a dynamo that will barely be used.

Obviously, any cyclist reading this will be muttering ‘N+1’ and urging me to go for the new bike, but I do feel any additional bike would have to earn its keep, beyond just spiky wheels, and fill a niche my current steeds aren’t currently filling. But I have to admit, I’m a tiny bit tempted by the thought of a new-to-me bike. Given I already have a comfy touring bike and a Brompton, and any new bike would still have to get me up our hill (so no heavy mountain bike), if you were in my shoes, what would you go for?

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9 Responses to Get Thee Behind Me …

  1. Andy in Germany says:

    I suppose I am in your shoes, as it were, and I don’t know. I’ve been leaving the spikes on the bike this year and they have been very effective at keeping the weather mild. I seem to have collected enough wheels that I have a spare back and front wheel with dynamo, but then the cassettes are differently worn and I’d have to change the cassette, so maybe a Winter bike would work, or perhaps keep this one as the winter bike and get a summer bike as a new-to-me bike…

    Now look what you’ve done…

  2. My winter bike is a mountain bike with 1x and plus tyres, all faddish and on trend. Until I took it out and had more fun than a grown up should in public. Soft, grippy rubber won’t win long lasting prizes, but it’s stayed shiny side up so far and saved my pretty road bike from the horror of salt and ice. My commute has some horrible short steep hills but mtb gearing gets me (and the extra me that I’m hoping bike riding will burn off) up and over. Downsides are a lack of pannier and mudguard room but other models may be more practical than mine (I chose colour over function)

  3. disgruntled says:

    @Andy – yeah, the worn cassette thing is a whole different issue, although by the time we get to winter, my chain and cassette are generally on their last legs anyway.
    @TWC – I think I’d need mudguards and a rack. But fun sounds fun too …

  4. Tony Lupton says:

    Just get the second dyno hub. It’s a no-brainer, IMHO

  5. Charles says:

    Why not get a trike?

  6. disgruntled says:

    @stcleve & Tony – gah, damn you and your sensible suggestions for reasonably priced dynamos …
    @Charles – trikes are actually much harder to ride than two wheelers, especially if you’re used to riding a two wheeler. They feel quite tippy too, paradoxically

  7. stephaniMok says:

    I feel you really need a fellow rurally-based cyclist to advise properly. But, I would get another bike 😊😇😜

  8. disgruntled says:

    That’s the sort of answer I was hoping for Stephani!

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