And just to throw a few things out there, by biking you'll stay healthier and happier during the cold months, stave off winter body, and resist the colonization of mind, body, and spirit by oil and car corporations. Hmmm...just a few minor things to consider here.
Anything new to us takes some learning, prep and practice. And so it’s important for you to know that VBike is here to help you go further into the season. We really want to be able to pass on some of our accumulated know-how and experience. If you have any questions about any of these items, just drop us an email and we'll get back to you.
What follows are five rudimentary things to consider to bring on the glories of winter bike transportation and keep you safe and warm. We'll be following this up soon with more tips and skills. Read on...
First up, here's a wonderful video on the ABCs of bike care. Check it out -
#2 ... For the Well Being of Your Chain
Chain upgrade - For those of you with mid-drive systems or if you just want a super durable chain, the KMC X series chains (look it up) are perhaps the most affordable and wear resistant out there. Mid drive e-assist demands a lot from your chain, so get a good one.
If you have any further questions about what sort of studded tire might be best for you, email us, but whatever you do, make sure to get tungston carbide studs. They will last way longer than regular steel studs. The best brand always seems to be Schwalbe, but again, don't hesitate to contact us for our biased, unbiased (hmmm...) opinion.
And you should know that if you have an electric bike (particularly if you have a e-assist conversion kit), Burrow's Specialized Sports in Brattleboro is getting good at installing awesome and affordable lighting systems that tap right into your main battery. As seen to the above, the front light is 1000 lumens and the rear in visible from almost a mile away.
Also keep your battery pack inside the house and bring it out when you need it. This is a great advantage that e-bikes that over electric cars - we can bring our batteries inside and keep them warm. A cold battery has significantly less range, so if you commute to work on a cold day, we suggest you take the battery pack off the bike and bring in with you, unless you can bring the bike into inside and into a relatively warm place.
We often use a 85% charge setting on our Satiator for the VBike fleet battery packs (we have lots of them) to greatly extend their lifespan, rather than consistently applying full charges. We will, however, do full charges once a month to make sure to balance out the battery cells.
At $300 or so, the Satiator is a big ticket for some folks, but with the potential of doubling your battery lifespan (maybe even tripling), it really makes good sense. Oh yeah, the Satiator barely heats up and is rock solid.
Note: Luna Cycles has their Advanced Charger for $100 that can be set to 80%. 90% or a full charge. It is nicely built and works adequately, but we found it a bit noisy and the adapter (that you have to buy if you have a barrel type charge port) was not as snug as we like. In our estimation, the Satiator is worth the extra $200 because it will charge almost any battery in your e-bike future and it is built to last a lifetime of use. In truth, we bought the Advanced Charger and returned it only to only purchase the Satiator. We're real happy we did!
Eyes - Some people opt for ski goggles and others just use clear or slightly tinted lenses. Experiment with what works for you. A visor on your helmet is also helpful to keep some of the snow and rain away from your eyes and face.
Clothing - Waterproof jacket and rain pants - the best bike specific stuff is made my Showers Pass, but there's a lot of good stuff out there. Dress in layers. We're in Vermont, we know how to do this!
Shoes - Use waterproof shoes. We really like having leather boots, like the Vasque Sundowners. They are easy to maintain and keep relatively waterproof if you treat them regularly with something like Aquaseal. They will also last for years longer than anything with Gore-Tex like stuff. For colder weather go to insulated boots.
And here's the big tip...pre-warm your shoes by keeping the near your radiator, stove or whatever keeps you home warm.. Start off warm, stay warm.
Bar Mitts - Bar Mitts are a must for those who really want to ride year round. Bar Mitts fit right over your handlebars (even if you have a side view mirror) and your gloves will fit right inside of them, keeping your digits warm and dry. They really work and will totally extend your bike transport season and even bring you right on to the other side of spring. The folks at Bar Mitts are big VBike supporters!
And if you like what VBike is up to and want to see this quiet revolution go much, much further, then please don't hesitate to support us with a financial contribution. Click right here to contribute to VBike!