I’m a bit curious about the relationship between the somewhat difficult Nova Scotia weather (mostly winter/spring) and local community. How many riders hang their bikes when the temperature goes below 10?
I’ve been trying to map out the number of riders in general but the varying weather, reminescent to the UK, might dither some?
I ride 365… commuting and mountain biking… there are like 4 days a year I wish I owned a fat bike because of snow conditions otherwise I ride studded tires and do just fine all winter long.
IF conditions suck for biking I might snowshoe some trail in preparation to ride later or bust out the xc skis I didn’t ski at all last winter.
In the spring when its really wet I build/fix trail but still ride to them/test improvements.
Same, I ride all year long, although I do have a studded-tire-equipped fatty and love it for the right conditions in the winter months. We don’t get a ton of snow here, but studs are a must if you want to ride all year.
When the ground freezes (and lakes) it opens up a new world. Some of my most memorable rides are in the winter months. https://youtu.be/0nL5p8D2x3I
I ride year round as well. There are parts of the province that a fat bike is definitely needed to keep the wheels rolling. I live in the valley and unlike the city, we still get enough snow that a fat bike is a need unless you want to hit the trainer or snowshoe/ice skate/ski etc. Some days it’s just really fun to grab the skates and find a pond for a couple of hours.
We usually don’t have any snow stick around for long until after the holiday season in the Halifax area so you can ride frozen ground (Hero Dirt) until then. Some winters are great for riding and some kinda suck. Usually studs are required since we have frequent freeze/thaw cycles. If you scroll through the ride picture thread you will see a bunch of winter pics. If conditions really suck I will occasionally run (ugh) to get active outside rather than spin on the trainer.
Agreed, freeze/thaw here makes things interesting but it also makes some trails more fun smooths out the bumps and brings in more flow. As long as you prepare properly for the cold it’s a good time. It’s always warmer in the woods.
Winter riding (with studded non-fat tires) has become some of my favourite riding. Lots of great spots to ride as long as there isn’t too much snow or it has been well packed down.
Once the lakes are solid it opens up a new world of riding. We had a blast last winter.
Eventually it gets tiring though and I end up craving summer riding again. Year long emotional roller coaster.
The weekly rides get culled of participants in a few ways:
- lights required
- below 0 temps
- ice tires required
Some Tuesday nights have been 3 of us merrily riding ice in the dark and having an ass freezing blast (followed by beers, wings and bike talk).
We’ve also stomped trails with snowshoes and cancelled a couple too. Throughout the year we’ve cancelled more due to rain though.
I’ve been keeping track of the Tuesday night group rides:
In all of 2018 we only missed 4 rides due to weather - 3 because it was raining and 1 because we had too much snow, so we snowshoed instead. In 2017 we only missed 2 rides…both because of rain.
In my neck of the woods (Gaspereau) we get enough snow that a fat bike is nice to have. I got along just fine for decades with out one, but it has been nice having one for those days when the XC skiing is kinda meh and it’s just a but soft or deep for a regular bike to work well.
However, it seems these days studded tires are more important that wider tires for the winter.
Winter is my favorite time to ride. There is something fantastic about getting bundled up in layers, pulling on a pair of goggles and heading out into a virgin snowfall, preferably at night. I had one ride in December at Spider that was during a heavy gentle snowfall and it was magical. Mine was the only track down, bike or otherwise, and it was otherworldly
I ride a fat bike but for years I just got by with 2.35 unstudded tires. I have a new bike and will outfit my old Trek with studded tires for the ice days when a fattie just won’t do it. Last winter was the PERFECT year for studs. Nothing but rain/freeze all year.
Another year-round rider here. I have a fat bike with studded fat tires, as well as a 29x3 wheelset for summer, and just picked up a new enduro hardtail that will now be my primary summer steed. As others mentioned, soft/wet trails is the bigger limiting factor to whether or not I go riding. I’ll often travel to Truro or Kentville to where there is more snow when the Halifax conditions are really poor.
I ride all year too. As @Coaster2 mentioned, before the snow hits, when temperatures are about -3 and below, we get “hero dirt”, where normally soft and muddy ground turns grippy solid, and you can be a hero because you can ride terrain that is normally unrideable. After the snow hits, the riding can get great too, because all the nooks, crannies, rocks, and roots get filled in with snow, and you can get some of the flowiest riding of the year. Trail and conditions choice gets a little more tricky, depending on whether your on fat tires or skinny, studded or non-studded, how deep and how well packed the snow is. Ice can be very dangerous without studded tires. The bike can go down like lightning, too fast to get a foot down.
Of course, you have to dress for the conditions, but it’s generally easier to stay comfortable in winter than it is on hot summer days. Just pile on more layers. Often, though I start a ride with more than I need. To about -1 I can get away with shorts and shin pads. Until about -8 I can get away with a long sleeve jersey with a windbreaking layer. Below that, I need to add a fleece. Hands and feet are the hardest for me to keep warm. After about 20 minutes of riding, I generally generate enough heat in my hands that they’re comfortable, but until then below about -3, my hands hurt, even with winter riding gloves. I bought heated grips, which I got a good deal on, which work great. Before the heated grips, I would bring hot pack hand warmers inside my gloves to get me through the first half hour of a ride. For the last couple of seasons, I’ve been using winter cycling boots, which have done well to keep my feet warm.