Here in the DC area, the only kind of Bike For The Rest Of Us you’re likely to be riding following the big blizzard is one that can trudge through snow and slush. Snow has a tendency to render rim brakes useless, clog up fenders and swallow tires less than 2″ wide. So what kind of bike would I like to be riding in the snow? An Electra Townie Balloon 8i, of course.
What? No Cyclecross bike? No Surly Pugsley? OK, so a Pugsley would be really nice, but the Electra is a little more upright, a little less extreme. Plus, it has roller brakes, front and rear!! I can probably count on my hands the number of bikes sold in the US with roller brakes. OK, count on one hand for those sold in your local LBS.
The Electra also comes with Schwalbe Fat Frank tires that are 2.35 inches wide to float over the snow. Gearing is a Shimano Nexus 8-speed internal that is more impervious to the elements. A partial chain guard will keep the faux-fur trim on your Sorel Pack Boots clean. The crank-forward design of these bikes will also be useful for putting your feet down as your bike slides out from underneath you on the black ice.
OK, so I’d rather be testing tire flotation on some soft beach sand like Yokota Fritz, but for now just thinking about riding this bike in the snow will have to do.