Posted by: emilybybike | December 21, 2010

Go by ski? Dogsled? Anything? Please!

The past few weeks (and subsequent purchasing of more winter-gear) has allowed me to bundle up as some resemblance of the Michelin Man’s daughter – turned bike ninja, and survive riding for more than 30-45 minutes in freezing temperatures. It was a cold but fun weekend to go by bike in the snow, through the frozen trails of Difficult Run and Wakefield Park. Riding in snow on the mountain bike is easier that one might think and incredibly fun and beautiful. The knobby mountain bike tires give you a little traction in the snow, and while roots and logs are a bit more treacherous than normal, at least when you do bust, you have snow to fall into! I rode Saturday morning with a great group of 20 or so from The Bike Lane in Reston out at Difficult Run and Lake Fairfax, and then again on Sunday at Wakefield. I think in some cases, going by bike in the snow may be easier than by car or by foot – as long as you don’t run into any ice. It’s also a  fun and different way to experience winter weather and stay warm! (you work up quite the sweat pedaling through snow!)

Bundled up for a snowy mountain bike ride with Andrew from The Bike Lane

However, while I’ve been having a blast on my mountain bike in the snow, snow isn’t exactly ideal for commuting. Last week’s 2-3 inches have coated the trail enough to make it icy and slick, not something I’d want to ride on my commuter tires.  I think I may need to look into some tires with tread or even studs for the commuter. As I discovered over the weekend,  my mountain bike goes rather well in the snow, however it’s not the best bike to commute on, given the length and long hills on my commute. So I’m looking for options to save me from the metro and drive that will get me to work in a timely and safe manner. Cross-country skis anyone? I’m sure if we have snow on the scale of what we did last year, they’ll sure come in handy. I’m ready to be back on the bike to work, but I’m just not sure how to tackle the snow and ice on my route. I do see other folks biking too and from work, and wonder how they ride through (or work around) snowy and icy paths.  Between weather and travel, I’m sadly not going to hit 2500 miles by Christmas, but hopefully if the paths clear up – soon after!

Until then … well, I’m going to work on finding the fastest and safest way to get back on my bike to commute and go by mountain bike for short trips at least when I can!


  1. Emily, I’m a friend of the bike lane and have been reading your blog about the commuting challenge for a while now, awesome job so far!

    I had to finally comment on this post though, because I just saw an article that may help you with commuting on the icy stuff. Check out this idea from Gizmodo about attaching small zip ties all around the outside of your tire. It seems to have worked quite well for the author.

    Best of luck!


  2. Thanks! If we get more snow – I just may have to try that. If anything, it’ll make for an interesting post 🙂 I’ve also been toying with the idea of trying to find some CX-type tires to use on my commuter in the winter, but am not sure they’ll fit given the fenders and whatnot.

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