As winter approaches I always find it very interesting how people often discuss on the various cycling forums how they need a specific bike for winter use .
Some of these discussions centre around people buying brand new bikes that have mudguard mounting points front and rear , others want the option of having wider tyres fitted whereas others want disc brakes, the list goes on and on .
To me the idea of a winter bike is no different to any other retro road bike I ride throughout the year apart from being able to fit full length guards front and rear to help me try and keep as dry as possible when it’s raining whilst I am out riding . Whilst my old faithful Marin Bear Valley is up to the job of doing the daily commutes, it would not be my first choice of bike for doing a few more miles on , mainly down to the gearing fitted which normally means I end up with my legs doing a silly cadence speed without actually obtaining a good average mph figure .
Over the last few years I have tended to keep one bike with guards fitted front and rear at all times. Last years machine was the blue Soen’s road bike and the year before it the Pollard specialite. The current bike this year is the blue R.E.W. Reynolds machine which seems to be relishing the job of being ridden in all conditions .
Some people tend to look at cyclo cross bikes as the answer for their winter commuting bikes and I must admit on paper they do look ideal , i.e. large clearances so wider tyres can be fitted and they are normally geared somewhere between a road bike and a mountain bike and a lot of the newer ones are being supplied with disc brakes for good all round braking performance and other ones are often fitted with cantilever or vee brakes due to extra clearance required for wider tyres .
A lot of people also tend to replace their road bikes half way through the season for the latest models and retain their previous bike for when the winter comes round, then adapt it as best as possible for winter use by fitting clip on guards like sks race blades. Other people go and buy an older style steel bike just to do their winter commuting on and then sell it on once the winter months have gone thus saving their Sunday best bike for the dry weather as much as possible, we can all get caught mid ride by a rain shower that appears out of the blue .
At the moment I have no intention of selling the blue R.E.W , as it was always earmarked to be my winter commuter , waiting in the wings I have a slightly scruffy Raleigh type 8806 frameset that was originally sold as a winter training frame . My intention for this is to build it up as a cheap single speed bike that would be ideal in the winter months ahead as there are less moving components to go wrong or get affected by the winter weather .
So if anybody fancies a project act quick as once the Lee Cooper “Bromwich” is finished I will be starting on the build process with most of the parts left over from the sale of my Aende time trial frame that I had built in single speed mode .
Enjoy your winter riding.