May 21st, 2010
I recently posted here about bicycling in the mud and rain, and got some good suggestions (and also on the icebike mailing list). I eventually decided to replace my current bike (Trek 7.3FX) with a Specialized Tricross Sport Triple. As I mentioned in the bike store, “it seems odd to spend this kind of money on a bike only to ride it through mud and sand.” Another customer overheard and said, “It sure does — but don’t worry, it’ll be fine!”
But on the other hand, I figure that it is probably realistic for me to ride it around 3600 miles (5793 km) per year. At that rate, it will pay for itself in reduced car costs in about a year.
I picked it up last Friday, and on Saturday moved my accessories (headlight mount, tail light, water bottle cage, etc.) to it. The Bontrager Back Rack I from the 7.3FX did not fit well, so I ordered the Specialized Tricross Rack Set, which did fit well (I’m not using the front rack though).
This has been a wet week. I rode Thursday when it had stopped raining about 20 minutes before I left in the morning, and we got more rain in the afternoon. Although both the Tricross and the 7.3FX have 700x32C tires, even the factory tires on the Tricross performed far better in mud than the 7.3FX ever did — and I can still go much more wide if I feel it necessary. Actually, somewhat to my surprise, I didn’t really have a problem with kicking up mud; my enemy turned out to be kicking up sand. It didn’t really damage anything, and I had to try not to cringe as I saw the sand hitting the chain, etc. I rinse it off when I get to my destination, and clean/lubricate the chain frequently in these conditions.
I haven’t yet been on the bike during an active rain, but from what I’ve done so far, I think it will be fine. So at this point, there’s very little that will prevent me from riding.