Snow, Snow and More Snow

11 Feb
Welcome to my gym

This Winter Has Been Great For Fat Bike Owners!

Over the past few days I’ve received several notes from fellow bloggers who were wondering about my absence since I’ve not posted a new product review in over three weeks. First, thanks to all of you who asked! Second, I am in great health—my absence has been due to a couple of things, but mainly snow! We’ve had over 64″ (162 cm) of snow so far this winter and, even by Chicago standards, the weather has been brutal.

It seems like the only thing I’ve accomplished in the past few weeks has been keeping my driveway clean and clearing the snow off my wife’s car. I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee so I don’t worry about how deep the snow is, but my lovely wife drives a tiny import that has about 6″ of ground clearance—so nearly every morning I have to clean the driveway and her car before she goes to work (as an old man told me when I got married, “Treat your wife like a thoroughbred and she won’t turn out to be a nag”).

During January I was only able to ride 140 miles on my Fat Bike—all of it in the snow and the temperature was rarely above 10 degrees Fahrenheit (and most of the time it was well below zero). For those who have never ridden a Fat Bike in the winter, let me put it this way: If you can average anything over 8 MPH on the snow you are doing great! Since we don’t have any groomed trails in my area I usually have to cut a trail through fresh snow (unless I can follow some other Fat Bike). In addition, two hours of riding in the snow wears me out more than a Century ride in the summer.

There is one other thing that has kept me from writing in the past few weeks: I am in the process of taking my office into the “paperless” world. Until last year my personal library had over 5,000 books, but I have been scanning and converting them into searchable PDF files (and then disposing of the books). I bought two high-speed document scanners last year and have already cleaned out three entire file cabinets and emptied six bookcases (only 18 to go). Once I got started with this project I found it hard to stop—but now that the weather is supposed to be improving next week (we might even get above freezing!), I will probably slow down the scanning and increase the mileage on my bikes. I should be back with new product reviews next week!


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24 responses to “Snow, Snow and More Snow

  1. sueslaght

    February 11, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Nice to see you and my husband and I laughed out loud at the winter spin class. Brilliant! It has been quite the winter for sure.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 13, 2014 at 9:53 PM

      Thank you so much! I went out for a 30 mile ride today and the streets were fairly clean — but about 5 miles into the ride it started snowing (again) and by the time I got home we had another inch on the ground!

      • sueslaght

        February 13, 2014 at 9:55 PM

        The winter is relentless! We have been having warmer weather so hopefully it heads your way.

  2. Elaine @ foodbod

    February 12, 2014 at 1:16 AM

    Wow! So much snow!!!! And so many books!!!! Good luck with both x

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 12, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      It seems like when I’m not shoveling snow I’m curled up with a book! Hopefully I’ll be able to spend less time with both when the sun comes out.

      • Elaine @ foodbod

        February 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM

        Yay!!!! Hopefully! We finally had a day without any wind recently and it was such bliss riding through it, I could have stayed out all day!!!! It was short lived though, the 20-30 mile per hour winds were right back again the next day :(

  3. Gwen Stephens

    February 12, 2014 at 4:45 AM

    As a fellow Chicagoan, I feel your pain. My tolerance limit for running outside is 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but the snow has been the bigger problem this year. If crews don’t get the roads sufficiently cleared, it’s like trying to run on a sandy beach. So I’ve hit the treadmill a lot this winter. It’s taking a lot to stave off the boredom of it, though.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 12, 2014 at 10:17 PM

      I can take the bitter cold, and I can take the deep snow — but this year they’ve come at the same time, along with high winds. I’m ready for spring!

  4. Carningli Bike Hire

    February 12, 2014 at 5:04 AM

    It makes a change to read about snow – in Wales it is all about rain and flooding at the moment.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 13, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      Even though I am on the other side of the pond, I watch SKY News nearly every morning — the flooding in your area is unbelievable!

  5. shenrydafrankmann

    February 12, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    I live out in the west burbs, so I can feel your pain. A friend and I took our mountain bikes out for four hours two Saturdays ago, rode from Fermi to Glen Ellyn, tested the studs out on Lake Ellyn for twenty minutes or so, got some coffee, then headed back west into the wind. We froze but were glad to get out.

    I live next to Blackwell and McKee Marsh, so I also get out on the trails there. However, those trails are also used by cross country skiers, hikers, and even dog sleds. The frozen ice underneath the snow is full of frozen tracks and finding a smooth go is tough.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 12, 2014 at 10:18 PM

      The solid block of ice that is sitting under the snow is a major problem — really hard to get traction even with studded tires because the snow is so “fluffy”.

      • shenrydafrankmann

        February 13, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        Was it you that had the studded tires for your fat bike? I saw those somewhere. Do they help at all when there is ice under the snow? I know the studs on my mountain bike still hold but are iffy at times.

        • All Seasons Cyclist

          February 13, 2014 at 4:00 PM

          I have 4″ wide steel studded tires on my Fat Bike (and studded tires on two other bikes as well). The problem this year is that the snow is so deep on top of the ice that getting any traction is VERY difficult. Most of the time I can plow through 6″ deep snow without any problem, but with the thick sheet of ice underneath the “fluffy” snow the tires never have a chance to get a grip.

  6. thehomeschoolingdoctor

    February 12, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    I’ve thought of you–but I was secretly hoping you were in absence due to a long trip to somewhere VERY warm and refreshing. Should have known that wasn’t the case. You could never leave the challenge of winter biking behind. :-) I don’t know about all that paperless stuff…I’m a tangible person. Let me write in it. On it. Underline it. Lend it out.

  7. cathyo

    February 12, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    We are just north of Toronto and have also had a ton of snow. The snowbanks in the driveway are now taller than i am. Good thing I CrossFit and can toss a shovel full of snow a long way! Its -22Celcius this morning. I like winter, but i’ve have enough of this super cold and enough snow. I firmly believe snow should only fall on ski hills! :)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 12, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      We are running out of places to throw the snow! Like you said, it is piled up so high it is hard to put any more on top of it. I’m ready for spring.

  8. Sandra

    February 12, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Wow. Sounds like me, but I could never toss the books! Ugh. I LOVE paper books. :-) I find it hard to read books on my ipad, but I’m trying.

    We had a Frosty Bike Ride here a weekend ago (I couldn’t do it because I had a bad cold), but I went for the festivities before and afterwards–mostly to be around other cyclists. HUNDREDS (okay 300) showed up and had a ball in 12 degree weather. There were only about 5 Fat Tires, but they were awesome to see!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 12, 2014 at 10:22 PM

      I save the books as PDF files and then run an OCR program on them so they are searchable (better for research purposes). 300 cyclists in 12 degree weather sounds like a lot of fun (and I hope everyone was prepared for the weather conditions).

      • Sandra

        February 15, 2014 at 6:46 PM

        Good call–searchable. You’re smarter than me when it comes to scanning :-)

        And yes, they were mostly prepared. Some folks were complaining about really cold feet (no shoe covers)

  9. Joy

    February 12, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Oh, I’m so jealous of your snow (except for 10 degrees part)….and holy smokes – 5000 book?!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 12, 2014 at 10:25 PM

      The snow was fun for a while, but it started falling in early November and hasn’t let up. As for the 5,000 books — I’ve been a book collector since I was in high school (though now I am more of a book destroyer since I cut their spines off the scan them).


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