The FIRST Snowfall Ride of the Season

Ride in the FIRST Snowfall of the Season with Us

One of our favorite pastimes is riding in snowfall.  You can hear the snow crunching under your tires.  It’s such a quiet time; all sound is suppressed by the snowfall.  No one is out on the roads and trails.  The world feels primitive.

The moment of the first snowfall is THE time to ride. We are leading a ride when this first snow hits!

Monday, December 28 Update: Twitter has the latest news concerning when we're rolling out in the first snow; snow is forecast to hit soon! We will likely be riding in the wee early hours Tuesday, December 29.

T-Rex in the snowstorm

We are ready.  Are you?

Ride Synopsis

  • We are leading a ride that begins here 60 minutes after the first snow of the season begins.
  • We won't be riding if the snow isn't going to last for the duration of our ride. Keep reading to understand how you'll know when the ride is a GO.
  • The ride will be 90 minutes to 2 hours in length total. No more. The distance of the route will take into account how hard the snow is falling & how fast the ride will be.
  • The route is mixed terrain. Expect to be on- and off-road, on trails and through woods.
  • The pace of the ride will be high enough to keep everyone working hard. This way, everyone stays warm. This doesn't mean we'll be moving fast considering studded tires and winter setups aren't exactly fast. The level of intensity will equate to how you'd feel if it were a nice day and you were riding 18mph on the road.

Here’s How We Plan for the First Snow

  • Be flexible.  We have no idea when it’s going to snow.  It’s most common for snowfall to occurduring the afternoon but it could be 2am or any other time.  A mindset focused on the ride, rather than when the ride will occur, is helpful.
  • Be ready.  Have a Snow Essentials Duffel packed and with you at all times – we provide some content hints below.  Have your bike ready to go.
  • The Right Tires:  Having studded tires is by far the best choice for the first snow.  Since we’re very likely to have a few days’ notice prior to the snow, you can time your tire install fairly accurately.  Once the first snow falls you may want to be riding studs for the rest of the winter anyway.  If you need tires, give the Studio a heads up.  We have a variety in stock and can special order anything you might want.  We’re also happy to do the install for you.
  • Headlight & Taillight:  Whether we’re riding at 2pm or 2am, you have to have at least one headlight to join us.  Snowfall makes it really difficult for drivers to see cyclists.  A headlight and taillight will save you.  Make sure you charge those lights a few days in advance.  If you’re looking to upgrade your light system, check in with the Studio; we have the best winter light systems available.

Blizzard in the City

Knowing When the Snowfall Ride Moment Arrives

We’re using Twitter and Instagram to keep people informed of when the ride moment is happening.  We’ll "Twinstagram" intermittently as the weather changes.  We’ll do our best to inform riders as the moment gets nearer.  The final Twinstagram will be 60-minutes before the ride begins.  That’s your klaxon to get your butt and bike over to the Studio for a very memorable ride.

If you don’t use either Instagram or Twitter, you’re going to have a challenging time joining us.  We will be posting some information on Facebook but we’re not using it as the go time alert. Watch the hashtag:


Tricks for Riding in the Snow

  • Traction:  Snow riding is all about traction.  Four ways of maximizing traction are:

o    Apply steady horsepower to the pedals.  This is a lot more difficult than it appears.  If you’re riding at 70 hp on a snowy trail, a change of 10%, or 7 hp, is a lot – and can be the different between maintaining your line and losing traction entirely.  Practice steady horsepower output.

o    Keep your bike upright, even while turning.  The more you lean into a corner, the less traction you have.  Most tires have less tread and fewer studs toward the sides of the tire.  Don’t lean your bike too much.  Riding upright keeps you upright.

o    Tire pressure:  Lower tire pressure provides better traction.  Of course, you want to balance this with the possibility of getting a flat.  We find that riding on an inch of snow is deceptive, in that you feel like the trail is really smooth, when in reality, all the obstacles are still there – and just as sharp – you just can’t see them, so your chance of getting a flat probably increases slightly.

o    Tires and treads:  Studs are best.  Wider is better than narrower.  Treads are better than slicks.

  • Be careful.  This may seem obvious but we see this as a fundamental issue each season in the first snow.  Taking a tumble in the ice and snow can be problematic; these falls are fast, unexpected, and hard.  Ride conservatively and don’t worry about winning.
  • No fenders:  Snow time may seem like a great time to have fenders, but it’s not.  Not only are fenders dangerous on mixed terrain – due to sticks and debris on the trail, it’s also likely that your fenders will get packed with snow and make your ride a lot tougher.
  • Batteries die.  Batteries don’t like the cold so they power down a lot more quickly than on an autumn day.  Three hours of battery life can become one hour – or worse – in the cold months.  Keep your electronics warm – in your jacket or jersey, not in your saddle bag – until you need them.  This includes your phone, backup battery, spare light, and your Garmin – if you’re not the ride navigator.

Likely Weather Conditions

It can’t snow if it’s too cold so it’s likely to be somewhere between 28 and 36 degrees.  Also, you’re likely to get a bit wet as the snow melts on you; gear that leans toward rain protection can be useful.

Always Be Prepared:  Snow Essentials Duffel Have your Snow Essentials Duffel in your car – if that’s your mode of work transport – so you’re always ready to roll.  In that bag, we recommend:

  • All the clothing you typically use for 30-40 degree riding.  Clothing that likes wet conditions isn’t a bad idea, either.  Note:  We’re only including the gear that people often forget when they’re in a hurry, and riding in unexpected conditions.  If you forget to put your bibs in your Snow Essentials Kit, we have no sympathy!
  • Headlight 100% charged and ready for 2.5 hours of use.  Ideally, two headlights – one on your bars and one on your helmet.
  • Taillight batteries in good condition.
  • Winter shoes or your autumn shoes with overshoes.
  • Long thick wool socks
  • Helmet – with light mount ready to go.
  • Long finger gloves, possibly with liners.
  • Three season cap that covers your ears.  A brim will be appreciated – it can help keep the snow out of your eyes.
  • Neck gator
  • Protective glasses if that’s your kind of thing for riding in a snowstorm.
  • High-vis vest if you like to be visible.  If there’s ever a time to increase your visibility, it’s during a snowstorm; drivers have a really difficult time seeing cyclists through snowfall.
  • Towel to dry off after the ride.  The Studio has towels, too, but a big towel that travels with you can be nice!

Winter lights - photo - Rob Vandermark

For the Diehard Riders That Are 100% Committed

  • Drop off your Snow Essentials Duffel and your winterized bike at the Studio within two days of the expected snow date.  That will make it easier if you’re coming from work.  Make sure you have some kind of obvious name tag on your bag and bike so we don’t recycle them by accident.  We’re always tight for space at the Studio so only drop off your gear if you’re 100% certain you’ll be riding with us.

The Studio Is Here To Help

We have just about anything you could need for winter riding, including:

  • Lots of studded tire options.  And the tubes needed for each tire size.  We can help determine the ideal tire size for your bike and guarantee what will fit and what won’t.  Not all studded tires are created equal.  We can help determine the right price point for your riding needs.
  • Studded tire installation help.  Studded tires are often the toughest type of tire to install because they’re thicker, stiffer, and sometimes are steel beaded.  We’re happy to help.
  • Lights:  We have the toughest winter lights available.  We’ll help you determine optimal number of lumens for your needs.  We'll help you determine where the best mounting spot is on your bike or body.  The best kind of taillight for visibility and longevity.  So many options – all with different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Gloves:  We have everything from lightweight full fingers to deep winter 45Nrth gloves and liners.  Come by and try the array or models and sizes to determine the ideal setup for your type of riding.  We can help with determining which are best for wet weather, for glove liners, or for the coldest days.  Lots of glove options for lots of kinds of riding.
  • Winter Shoes:  We’ve got 45Nrth Japanthers and Wolvhammers in stock.  We’ll help you find the right size, and install cleats on your new boots, too.
  • All winter clothing, including deep winter tights and a range of jackets for all conditions.

We hope to see you in the first snow!