The Chainlink

Because we all need to share triumphs and disasters with other people!

This morning's chilly ride went well, although I'm starting to wonder how I'll keep my face comfortable in January when I'm already wearing a balaclava over my cheeks right now. Gloves kind of failed: I was testing out some Garneau wind-blockers, and my pinky fingers went numb partway through. Looks like I'll be back to the Bar Mitts-and-gloves combo soon, unless I can figure out something else without dropping too much cash.

Also: I'm not sure about anyone else who's doing this for the first time, but I'm gonna have to invest in fleece bike pants. The snow pants shell + heavy capilene tights just aren't doing it for me.

Random winter experience: using my bike like a crowd control device to move a squirrel out of the traffic lane. I think he'd been grazed by a car; no visible injuries, but not interested in moving, either. It was a very gradual procession to the sidewalk. I'm pretty sure I amused/confused more than a few motorists who passed me on Oakbrook by MLK.

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Yes, it's quite amazing how much heat your core can generate when riding. I believe the coldest morning low we've had so far is in the low 20s..and I simply had a wicking polypro base layer, mid-weight merino wool mid-layer and a windbreaker as an outer layer.


I, too, picked up a a balaclava. Thus far, it has eliminated a need for a fleece ear bad. I also get extra bad-ass points for tearing up the streets of Andersonville looking like a ninja.  

+1 on the internal geared hub. Weary of the maintenance from winter riding, I went SS for many years, but windy days or heavy loads (or both) drove me to build my current daily rider with a three speed hub. I love it - although inspired by Alex, I'm considering a two speed for my next project.


Anyway, it cost me even less than Adam notes.

Sturmey Archer hub - $90 (kit included shifter and cables)

Sun CR-18 rim - $27

36 spokes - $36

- so $153 plus a bunch of very well spent time building it.

Adam Sterling said:


If you really want to avoid [a bunch of maintenance], but want to ride year round, I'd recommend either a single speed winter bike, or better yet, an internal hub. Chicago is basically a flood plain, so a SS will work just fine. I have an internal hub and I fucking love it. Little to no maintenance required, and no external parts to get felched by salt n other winter scum. An internal hub will set you back ~$250 (alfine 8 speed or similar). You should be able to have a rear wheel built up + shifter for $400 or less. I don't know if that's a lot of money to you or not, but for $400 you'd have a rear wheel setup you can transfer from bike to bike, that will last for quite awhile, and will destroy all 4 seasons. I'm a big dude and I've rocked it for 3+ years solid w no problems. The SS is obviously the cheaper option, but man, I can't say enough good things about my internal hub.


True, for the 3 speed. I was talking about a larger throw of gears. But, Chicago is pretty damn flat, you don't need much more than 2-3 gears. I really only use 2 of the 8 I have on my Nexus hub, although anytime I leave Chicago those extra gears are handy. I'd say spend some decent $ on a rim, so you can ride daily wo worrying about it for awhile. I'm 6' 235# and have my Nexus laced into a Mavic A719 touring rim. Not every Mavic rim is nice, but I have zero complaints about this one thus far.


I'd assume on a site like this you could find someone willing to build up a wheel for beer.99 n maybe a few bucks.

Tony Adams said:

Anyway, it cost me even less than Adam notes.



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