Even though I've been into the whole snowbiking thing ever since I first threw a leg over my buddy's chrome Ross Mt. Hood back in January of 1989, only lately have I gone really nuts on gear. I've gotten about a half dozen things over the last 12 months that I really, really like and are genuinely helpful.
As a wise man once said, "When I go winter camping, I don't wear my summer hiking shoes with shoe covers. I wear winter boots. When I go snowshoeing, I don't wear summer shoes with covers on them. I wear winter boots."
I think this applies to feet, heads and most of the winter clothing a person can name.
The first thing I got was a pair of Lake MXZ302 winter boots. Yeah, they were expensive, even getting them on closeout this past spring. I had gotten a pair of the older MXZ300 model used at the bike swap a couple of years back and really liked them but for two issues: 1. they were just a little too small, and 2. they are only good down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The new ones are better on both counts.
The second is a downhill ski helmet. Until this year, I've muddled through winter with all sorts of stuff covering my head. I came pretty close with a good spandex scullcap and neck gaiter, but never quite got it right. Then one day I was shopping at local sporting goods store that was having a moving sale and happened across a Giro G10 like this one:
They only had the one in stock, and it was a mere Large. I tried it on, thinking it would never fit my enormous melon, and what do you know? Just about perfect. Feels more solid than the average bike helmet, is fully lined and has very good ear coverage. Full goggle compatibility too, including a strap keeper on the back. I'm not wild about the way it distorts my hearing, but it's not much different than a pair of dog ears. A solid win, but doesn't make me any less goofy-looking:
The last thing for this post is the Nokian Freddie's Revenz Lite studded tire. Made specifically for off-road ice racing, it tends to be overkill for anything to do with commuting, until we get 14 inches of snow in one day. Worked great all of last week, and I'm hoping it's a better bet than the Surly Endomorph for the DDD. We'll see.
Even though it's full of metal, it seems to weigh a little less than the WTB Timberwolf 2.5 I used on this bike in nicer weather. Has a little more supple feel too.
Next time, a little bit about bags, lights and other sundries.