November in Collingwood brings several challenges to those wanting to get out and put in those last few miles before the lake effect snow squalls sweep in and banish us to our trainers for the winter months. From adequate footwear choice to proper tires, if you don’t have the right gear, you’re putting yourself at risk for good case of frost bite or an epic crash.
Clothing is always the first challenge, it’s what separates the wannabes from the hardcore. The minute the “thermal booties” stop working for you, it’s time to put the bike away for the winter. I’ve had several pairs of booties, all kinds, all shapes, all different makes; they’re great for keeping cooler air off your toes, but the minute you introduce “windchill”, you might as well burn them. Do yourself a favour, if you really want to ride in the cold weather, go buy a pair of fall/winter riding boots. I picked up a pair of Specialized Defrosters last fall and I haven’t looked back since. Warm feet let you stay out longer!
Tires, the second challenge. As the temperatures fall below zero and black ice begins to form, normal tires are no longer safe. It doesn’t matter how much you ride, no one can stop a bike from slipping out from under them on ice. Studded tires are great, they dig into those ice surfaces and provide extra traction on those snowy climbs. The first snow means breaking out the studs for me, better safe then sorry, after all, bike parts were made to be used, so put them on and wear them out.
This past weekend I donned my Defrosters, changed out my regular cx tires for studded ones and hit the trail for a 42km ride from Collingwood to Thornbury and back. This ride is a “go to” route for us here in Collingwood during these off-season months. The route gets you off the road, protects you from the nasty north winds and keeps you fairly close to home if the weather goes south (or north of that matter:) ). If you plan it right there are two great places to stop in Thornbury. If its the lunch hour, hit up the Bakery Cafe for an amazing sandwich. If your just looking for an espresso and butter tart, head across the street to Ashanti.
This time of year there is only one rule, if its nice out….somebody better be on a bike!
Heading south toward Collingwood on the Georgian Trail, Near Grey Road 21.