Monday, 29 November 2010

More Snow...lots and lots of snow...

Been an interesting last 48 hours around here and the eastern side of the UK with the weather.lots of snow on the eastern coast of the UK with record breaking low temperatures for November in the south of England and Wales,
After Saturdays great days snow riding there was more snow overnight and Sunday dawned with a good 8" plus drifts! roads around here were blocked with drifts until the snowploughs got along to clear them.
Local village streets have been snow ploughed and the snow piled onto parked cars and pavements are 6" deep trampled hard, each blizzard covers the roads again-the road salt ain't working...
We have had at least 12 inches of snow every 24 hours but its been thawing...some wild whiteouts at night,its great drawing the curtains and watching the snow whirling around the streetlights...

Sunday morning I headed out for a couple of hours ride,roads were ploughed and were ok to cycle...

Then onto the local trails and woods and unfortunately i found the snow was very wet and it was hard going pushing through deeper stuff in some places...

Knee deep here even the pugsley struggled once up to the bottom bracket of the frame, again i found the lack of a really low gear with the Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal gear Hub and 32t/22t chainrings and the 29" outside wheel diameter gearing stopped forward movement before it wheel spun...

Once last February i rode through knee deep wet snow up at the windfarm on the Lammermuir Hills and it wasnt much fun as really hard work and i ended up pushing about 5 miles through knee deep snow busting a gut and nearly bonked-you may remember the post, valuable lessons were learned about solo riding in remote areas and my body nutrition that day...
Riding on snow is alot different to beachriding because snow is so often different and i am still learning all the time about riding smoothly and saving energy and sand is (for me) alot easier to determine the firmness by its colour,
snow is just white!, sand also is dry or wet, loose or compacted, and shells and stones improve float and grip - yes i do prefer sand to snow!.

Today with our mild (for snow) temperatures its hard to dress right, as i had to dress for heavy cold sleet/snow showers wearing waterproof gear and i was overheating
on the soft going between the showers, you then end up with a cold sweat under the jacket ,it was easier to dress right last January for -20C than this!.
So i just rode farm tracks where apart from the odd drift were easier going...

Some minor roads were still not cleared by 2pm, suited me!

heading home the skys cleared a bit to give a stunning sunset,made up for the wet snow...

Again Sunday night was loads of snow and some flashes of lightning and thunder!,
a sign of severe snow to come, but it was wet snow again and a constant thaw. Elsewhere in the UK there are low record breaking temperatures but its not that cold here, its colder on damp days with East winds off the sea.

Today i went into work early and plough the roads into the Golf Club (for the lesuire centre members who cant drive cause all snowed in!) i rode out the house on the pugsley into nearly a foot of snow and nearly fell off!, it just wheel spun as the snow was so wet!, The pugsley is designed to ride over soft ground by spreading its weight through its big footprint area of the low pressure tyres but here it did the oppossite and couldnt grip, i would find the same thing happen later at work with the John Deere Gators in the deep wet snow. I guess Alaskan snow is alot drier where they were designed for!.
I walked around to the main road and one side was ploughed with 2 clear strips, the good thing about the mild wet snow was no ice, so i grabbed the On One and rode up to work ,at least the hardtail would be easier to walk through any drifts but the roads were passable and ridable, never saw another person on the way in, was a mini epic ride into a whiteout but i made it!...

I was finished 10am so headed home after some pics from the top of the hill...not often the whole county is snow covered...

Heres a 360 film from the top of Whitekirk Hill, check out the wee tractor,a great wee toy-it dug my garden out when i moved, and the snow clouds rolling in over the North Sea...

Heading home the roads were still the same as when i rode in,not alot of room for oncoming traffic if its 2 cars, minor roads were still untreated and just ploughed.
I still feel safer cycling in these conditions than driving esp when its not icy,if it was i would buy spike tyres,we dont get alot of ice here being on the coast.

In the slush the regular tyred bike is better, but the hard packed car ruts between the soft middle and sides were a nightmare and i was all over the place so took to farm tracks again as yesterday...note yesterdays pugsley track,check the width!

Down this trail the bike was ok if you could stay on a compressed tractor tread track but was a bit of a slog, however here where there were 4x4 tracks with icy sides it was hopeless...

The front end would just change direction and you had to fight it to stay upright,here the pugsley tracks straight with just a little squirm but nothing that makes you think your going to bin it any second,thats the magic of a fatbike!, but i do like my On One, built up as a budget do it all hardtail for xc riding the On One 456 is now set up as my winter trailbike/nightriding bike,

I fitted Michelin AT (all terrain) tyres at a bargin £8 each from Chain Reaction Cycles for some grip on wet grass as i dont want/need full-on mud tyres which although give great grip can cut up wet ground badly,something i dont feel good about doing.
With flat pedals for wet weather-dry boots or walking boots and rear crud gaurd frame mounted to not interfere with saddle height adjustments or rear lights its a good wee bike and mostly old but good parts and a very loud Hope freehub!,

Again like last winters snowfall i get home,fill a watering can with hot water to rinse of snow and road salt then let the bike drip dry for a bit in the Lean-to before carrying it into the kitchen to sit on a couple of old towels, dry the chain and relube, so now theres 2 bikes in the house now during this weather, being single sometimes has its advantages -:)

This weather is forcasted for another 7-10 days, quite unbelievable,
Looks like plenty more snow shoveling to do early hours at work,then the same when i get home-for my elderly neighbours to get there cars out,least i get a snowride to work and back and home early...-:)


  1. Very nice. You seem to have more snow than we have here. OTOH, we are experiencing unusually low temperatures for the season and the sea is beginning to get ice, which would open up lots of possibilities later in the winter.

    I also find the low gear of the 32x22 Alfine 8 Pugsley unnecessarily high and will try to find a 24t sprocket to order.

  2. Hi yeti, dont know where all this snow is coming from!, but im lovin it!
    i have a Shimano 26t steel inner (granny) ring im going to fit and swap the rear 22t for the O.E. 20t i first bought, with 2 Sram quick links on the 8 speed chain i fitted i can then chop the chain back and forth and the lower gearing should be sweet!,
    proberly i will just use this gearing all the time and aline the chainline with the Phil Wood BB and just freewheel those road descents!...

  3. After reading your blog a bit I'm beginning to fall in love with the idea of having a Surly of my own. They manufacture them less than 10 miles from where I live in Minnesota. I'm on my road bike all winter but I do like the idea of mixing my riding up a little and the Surly would most certainly do that for me.

  4. You are certainly getting a fair old dump of snow up there.
    Not had any snow at all down here so far but it is bitterly cold.Mind you it is forecast for tomorrow and there is snow just 15 miles down the road.
    Ride with care

  5. Bruce,
    You got the snow you were looking for hey?? Lol
    Hopefully you get some colder temps to really enjoy the Pugs!!

    Peace, Joe

  6. Finally, SNOW in the NL!!

    Okay, it's just 2 cm but it is a beginning!!!

  7. We've had 2" here in Birmingham this morning, main roads clear, but it's still snowing, my commute on my MTB wasn't an issue once I got to the main roads.

    The towpath last night was deadly though, sliding all over the shop, I ain't chancing it today!

  8. Fantasic photos as always. I was planning to leave the bike at home for a few weeks but the minute the snow fell I couldn't resist going out.

  9. Fabulous snow! We hope to get our first BIG snow tonight... HOPE. My new skis are dormant and NOT happy 'bout that!