Another great morning on the Pugs. Rode into some rocky rooty single track and accelerated the learning curve of riding on snow. I’m sore – both in an aerobic / muscle sense – and also in a bruised arm and shoulder sense. Some lessons:

  • The front brake is to be used with care. Especially in soft snow on technical single track that heads downhill fast.
  • When going over the bars, be sure to check for all accessories before riding off downhill and scrambling over logs and roots while sliding further down said snowy hill. You will notice your missing light much later and need to retrieve it.
  • There will be hiking.
  • Tire pressure is a mystery as of yet. Running about 8 psi. Still a little bouncy when I hit a log or branch buried in the snow.
  • Climbing steep short pitches is a mystery. Hopefully as snow builds up and gets firm I’ll be able to clean more of the local trails… but with wet roots only inches away I’ve found myself stalling out, regardless of which gear choice I make.
  • Riding hard packed – trampled down, skied down, or ridden down – can be quick.
  • I’m learning that my first impressions of the shift levers aren’t as bad as I thought. After swapping bars and playing with positions, I think I’m close to getting the cockpit comfortable. New to me are the ‘2 way release’ Shimano levers. These operate like trigger shifters, but with the option of releasing the gear with 2 different presses of the lever. On the rear, moving to an easier gear is the same that I remember (its been 6 years since I rode my geared Yeti!) – a thumb push climbs the cassette. I’ve been fighting with releasing that all week – struggling to get my gloved hand into the space between the lever and the bar to index finger click the lever… but after some internet research I learned that I can also thumb press the lever… and it drops a gear! Much better with big mitts or lobster gloves. I still think thumbies with bar ends will be bomber… but until I can justify spending more coin on bike stuff… it will wait.

    In other news, the Soma went through a rough patch after riding in the freezing rain last week. I thought the BB was destroyed – but after a good thaw in the house, removal, cleaning, and inspection – things seem to be spinning nicely again. I probably have 2-3 more weeks of life in the SS freewheel. It’s pretty crunchy right now. I’ve also re-cabled the bike. Front brake was OK with a solid run of housing from lever to BB7 – but I broke the run to the rear into 2 pieces of housing. This let in plenty of water, which froze. Tearing it apart I’ve found all sorts of dirt and grit inside. Lesson learned. Full runs only from now on.

    *Edit – and it seems I snapped a tiny piece of the housing on my B+M Ixon IQ… the light has fired up after drying out – but the battery door will not stay locked closed due to a small piece of snapped plastic.


    Finally some sticking snow. 6″ or so overnight to add to our thin base. Light. Fluffy. Sticking to the pines and making a winter wonderland. Longest ride on the Pugs this morning – 12 miles through the Intevale trails, town, and home on the lakefront bike path. Breaking trail, adjusting tire pressure. Fidgeting with the bars and the controls.


    Pugsley came home yesterday. Still have to tweak it… but the short review after 2 short rides on 4-6″ of fresh snow:

    Interesting in the woods. Fast(ish) on the stamped down bike path. Fun on the beach. I have much to learn about tire pressure for varying conditions. Yesterday I was running 15 psi. Great for pavement and hardpack. Not so good in the woods. Today I ran 8-10. Much better on fluff. Slower on the hardpack. Gearing is also a puzzle. Haven’t figured out how to climb short steep stuff just yet. Traction + front to back balance + power…

    It isn’t as heavy as I thought.
    Slight uphill, in fresh snow, in a headwind is work!
    Bouncy bouncy bouncy on those tires. Too fun.

    Some improvements I will make:

    Trigger shifters have to go! No room in there for heavy gloves, or lobster mitts. Thumbies with bar ends will replace them.
    I’ll probably swap my Mr. Whirly from the Soma for the stock crank.
    Bars and controls need adjustment. Will move to a 110 stem.
    Will try with H-bars or maybe the Soma Odin I’ve run on the SS.
    When my Lake’s arrive I may move my Time pedals over, after I get a feel for the handling.
    Going to sew up a set of pogies this winter.
    Add a spare single speed freewheel to the front… (wish it was stock with a fixed hub…)
    Winterize the BB, framesaver everything.

    Long term:
    Gain some winter skills and fitness.
    Whole different world than pushing the studded SS around.
    Alfine 8 or 11 rear wheel.
    Lose the FD if possible.
    Custom frame bag to match my Epic harness and seatbag.

    Too fun. Wish I’d done this years ago. Cannot wait for more snow. Now to plan an S24O to a lean to…


    Seems to be arriving slowly. Some flurry snow flakes to start, followed by freezing rain. Toured town and the Intervale trails. Single speed, studs. Fun. Jim and I stopped at Viva for warm up, did another lap of the trails, and ran into a few friends. Quite a few bikes out today.


    Needed the studs I put on last night. Good fun, but I missed the wide Nokian Extremes. Time to prep the IF for roller duty and get the Soma kitted for proper winter riding. I really missed fixed + studs. Having control of the rear wheel with my legs adds a level of confidence riding ice.



    The IF isn’t my first choice for my winter steed, but as I wait on a pedal rebuild,  a pedal replacement, and a busted buckle for my mtb shoes, it will wear the Nokian 35s and serve as a cold weather rider until the snow piles high. The Soma is waiting for the 294s, for fat tire fixed winter fun.