Introducing. . . Helga III

I am planning on doing a couple of posts on winter riding. Over the last few years, a lot more information about winter riding has been shared. A few short years ago, it was difficult to find advice on riding through the winter. These posts are based mostly on learning through experience and reflect what I do to get ready to ride through the chilly season. This first post is on the all important steed!
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All my winter bikes have been named Helga. She was tougher than Hagar, and a bike has to be pretty tough to make it through Canada’s coldest season. However, it does not need to be expensive. The most expensive thing I purchased was studded tires. I know people who ride through the winter without studded tires, but I love them. I have ridden for three winters on studded tires and have not had a fall yet.

I bought Helga III at the police auction for $20 this past summer. She is a Genesis Stealth, which I have never heard of, so you know she is a quality ride! She needed a few transplants and some work to get her ready for winter riding. I transferred the studded tires, fenders, seat, grips and rack from Helga II. I also visited Recycle Cycle to do a little work and improve the ride of Helga III. I rebuilt the bottom bracket with bearings and an axle. I replaced the chain, a shifter, a cable and a water bottle holder. The total cost was $6. If you haven’t been to Recycle Cycle to work on your bike, go! The total cost of Helga III was $26.

Helga II was a Raleigh. I rode her for two winters and could probably have gotten a third out of her. However, she had a couple of problems that Helga III doesn’t have. She was a little too small for me and the bottom bracket was welded slightly crookedly in the factory, which made the pedals turn awkwardly. I bought her off Kijiji for $20 and transplanted parts from Helga I to her. I also bought new handle bar grips for her and rebuilt the bottom bracket. The total cost of Helga II was $35.
bicycle ski carrier

Helga I was a Diamondback that I bought off Kijiji for $40. I bought a rear cassette ($25), fenders ($25), a rack ($10) and studded tires ($130). I rode it all through the winter. She was a great winter bike! Helga I was dependable and comfortable to ride, just what you want in a winter bike. Unfortunately, I didn’t take care of Helga I very well. In the spring, I just put her away in my shed, and hopped on my commuting bike. When I took her out the next fall, everything was seized solid. The total cost of Helga I was $230!

I have learned quite a bit since I first started riding through the winter. Most importantly, I have been washing and oiling my winter bike before I put it away each spring. I’ll share some other maintenance and riding tips in a future post.

About Chris

I like canoeing, cycling, hiking, running and cross-country skiing
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