Friday, January 21, 2011

The Perfect Tool for the Job

Riding in snow is a hoot as long as there are no cars. The sound and the track the bike makes is a difference only experienced at this time of year.
As long as the cars haven't made a packed down track with their tires, a bicycle will do just fine in most types of snow up to 3".
Although thoughts of Fat Tire Bicycles come to mind when you think of snow riding, quite the opposite is true. Fatter tires trap the snow between the street and the tire and make it hard to steer and control the bicycle in a straight line.
Skinny is Better, with a few things as well as snow tires. If our roads were perfect, a one inch tire would work best, but because of the hidden hazards known as pot holes, You will need a tire tall enough so when you hit one hidden by the snow, you wont flat.
The Perfect Tool for the job is always best. One can cope and adapt with the tool in hand,(A Claw hammer makes a good scraper if that's all you have) But having the best for the job make things better.
In all the years of riding in the snow The best bicycle I can remember for dealing with the deep white stuff was a Raleigh DL-1.

The choice of the Chinese, DL-1 is a 28" wheeled 3 speed with rod brakes and fenders. The angles of the frame are such that you lean to steer. The tire cross section is 1 1/2". Perfect for the job, the bicycle is also the choice of the Police in the UK as the "British Bobby Bike" and a similar version for the Swiss Army. God knows how much snow they have to deal with. (I thought for years that Swiss Chocolate was invented to deal with the Swiss snow.) When I hear the word "Swiss" I don't think of "White sands or Mega Tans!"

We will be over this someday soon. Clearly at this time and this mornings dumping of snow does not have me wanting to go out and make Snow Angels,that's for sure.

Till then we will just have to dream of The Perfect Day for the Perfect Tool.

PS: Rod Brakes do work great, as long as you know how to adjust them.


  1. It's great when it's snowing and there are almost no cars, but there's nothing scarier than a snow plow barreling up from behind--other than a plow coming straight at you from the front. :-)


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