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Commute, panniers, snow and ice.

After the wisdom of my peers.

I have a shortish commute - 3 miles one way and about 15 miles back*.

Normally, I only have one pannier on as I hate riding with a backpack, and that's got my laptop and office clothes in.

In this inclement weather, am I better off having two panniers on, with one just being ballast (like a warm jacket for the train), or just keeping to the one?

If it helps, I'm fitting spiked tyres over the next day or so.

* I ride to my nearest train station outbound, then coming home I get off a couple of stops early and ride home ... hence the disparate miles

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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17 comments

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jaymack | 1 year ago
1 like

A Carradice bag, something like a Nelson long flap. I found that keeping the load central is a great help. You probably know that Carradice have a good selection of cavernous saddlebags, when my bike was this commuter's transport I didn't think they could be bettered.

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NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
2 likes

Personally I just use one every day with some tools, batteries, waterproofs and my lunch and never feel it is upsetting the handling. The only problem is I put it on the right so the reflective panel is nearest to the drivers passing me but my sidestand is on the left so sometimes the wind has an easy job blowing the bike over.

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Oldfatgit replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
2 likes

Mines on the right ... but I don't have a side stand 😀
I'd put it on the right as that's the side with a fully functioning leg, and the side I push off with

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NOtotheEU replied to Oldfatgit | 1 year ago
1 like

I've just read your original question again and realised I had missed that it was more about the current cold weather. I've had no problems this week with just one quite heavy pannier but took two on Monday to carry home something weighing about 5kg from work. the extra weight made the front end feel very light and was quite unpleasant. I won't be doing that again if it's below freezing.

I've never even considered studded tires as I wrongly assumed they were no good for tarmac. Reading some of the discussions on here in the last few days has made me investigate them so thank you to Road.cc and anyone who posted about them. I'm thinking of putting Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus tires on a spare wheelset to be prepared for the next freeze.

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ktache replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
1 like

Wet tarmac can feel a tiny bit sketchy, but the grip on ice, especially black ice, can be stunning.

Noisy, like riding on rice crispies, and slow.

My conti spike claw are also excellent in snow, but then anything with a big knobble does, my surly dirt wizards also work well in snow.

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NOtotheEU replied to ktache | 1 year ago
0 likes

Thanks for the info. I guess I'll just have to get used to the different feel and it will only be when it's freezing.

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Oldfatgit replied to NOtotheEU | 1 year ago
2 likes

I'm just running mine in now ...
They need a lot more effort than you would expect ... either that or I really have lost condition really quickly.

Crossing piles of icy snow at angles other than 90deg are a bit sketchy - but a lot less so than not having them on.

Main thing I've found (so far) is not being over cocky with them

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ktache replied to Oldfatgit | 1 year ago
1 like

Be careful when dismounting.

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vthejk | 1 year ago
2 likes

I'd say two, but don't add ballast just for the sake of it. An overloaded bike is a lot worse than an unevenly loaded bike in difficult conditions IMO; you have slower handling, lighter steering and other such miseries to contend with.

I'd be tempted to split the load between two, so you have a nice low centre of mass in partially-loaded panniers and don't get that weird swaying movement that comes with a single pannier. In my experience, that gets exacerbated in slippery conditions.

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Oldfatgit replied to vthejk | 1 year ago
0 likes

Splitting the load - One of my panniers does convert in to rucksack, so I should be able to carry two plus use my walking stick.

I was thinking of stuffing the second pannier with a warm coat and maybe a spare pair of trousers and leaving it on the bike while at work (secure underground carpark with no public access)

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AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
1 like

Well first of all, the answer to the question inthe other thread must be a resounding yes if you are only cycling three miles to the office with assist and still being hot and sweaty. yes

I personally would just keep to one as that is what you are used to with the bike and making changes to I assume balance it out, could alter your feel. However carrying extra clothing/kit for emergency needs, (walking and pushing the bike due to weather/ incident will cause you to be colder then cycling) is definitely a consideration if you have the room/ extra panniers.

BTW, have you considered taking several sets of clothes in the office at the start of the week and then only bringing home the worn clothes each day? You obviously need the space in the office but it is something I do.

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ktache replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
3 likes

My work jeans can get me through 6-9 months.

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Secret_squirrel replied to ktache | 1 year ago
6 likes

But they start whiffing around month 7  3

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Oldfatgit replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
3 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

But they start whiffing around month 7  3

Walking on their own around month 8

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brooksby replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
1 like
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Well first of all, the answer to the question inthe other thread must be a resounding yes if you are only cycling three miles to the office with assist and still being hot and sweatyyes

I have this image in my mind of OFG bundled up like the Michelin Man...

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Oldfatgit replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Well first of all, the answer to the question inthe other thread must be a resounding yes if you are only cycling three miles to the office with assist and still being hot and sweatyyes

I have this image in my mind of OFG bundled up like the Michelin Man...

I was chuffed to bits the other day when I got some Italian cycle clothing to fit me.

True, it was gloves ... but gotta start somewhere 😅😅

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Oldfatgit replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
2 likes

In response to point A ...
It may be 3 miles but ... and here's the important bit ... 2 and half miles are up bloody hill ... 😀 ( 5% through to 9% in places, and tbh, at 6am I need the warmth 🫠)

The added clothing... I'm in the office 2 days a week ... if ever - god forbid - we go to 5 days then I'll take spares in and take over a coat rack

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