I love winter riding-I ride more in winter than summer actually. I don’t really change up anything on my bike. If there is rain or snow make sure to dry the bike well. I figured this out after all my metal parts were starting to rust. If the ground is frozen, it’ll be fun and fast as hell. If you get a warm winter day ( well above freezing) stay off. The thawing trails will be soft and slippery. You can really rip the tread apart. Clothing is pretty easy. Keep your ears/head, hands, and feet covered and insulated and layer up. If you’re layered enough you’ll find you get warm enough after riding for a while despite the cold air.
Same here, I like riding in the winter better than the summer. It’s cliché to say it, but dress in layers so you can adjust during the ride. If you’re feeling a little cold at the start, that’s usually good since you’ll warm up once you start working. Even during the ride, having layers to put on / take off when you climb or descend makes a big difference.
Well if you’re going out in really cold conditions, I’d recommend going with mechanical brakes as pneumatic brakes may start freezing up on you. I’ve only had this issue twice but it can end your ride and send you home early. I prefer to ride flats in the winter instead of clipless because I tend to take a spill once in a while when I stray from groomed singletrack and it makes it easier to exit the bike as pleasantly as possible if I’m not tied to my pedals. There are a lot of snow angels out there all winter, I’d rather just leave boot prints.
Cleaning wise, I store my bike in my house after I’m done riding just to wipe it down, dry it out, and let ice chunks or frozen slush thaw out. I take a toothbrush to my chain and cassette sometimes to help get rid of corrosive road salt if I do a road/gravel ride, and apply wet lube more generously than in the summer. You don’t have to, but I will sometimes wash out my bottom bracket and crankset just to keep it from rusting.
In terms of tires, I love to go wide–as wide as possible. I love my Vee Snowshoe XLs, but am going to try and fit 2XLs on both my rear and front by trimming down the side knobs a little. I also can’t emphasize enough setting up your fat tires tubeless, your flotation will be increased and your tires will widen out more than with tubes.
Trails–Last year in Michigan we probably had a total of 3 weeks with glare ice and freeze-thaw action which kept most bikers off the roads and trails, but I installed some KoldKutters on my Vee Snowshoes and was out riding every day (those things are slower, but cheaper than other studs). I always watch the trail conditions pages as it really helps to get a hang of grooming schedules and trail openings/closings especially towards spring.
I’ve always kept clothing simple, sometimes just wore two or three sweatshirts out on the trail and layered down between laps if I felt like it.
Same setup but with flat pedal, and the layering. Your extremities will feel it the most, eg fingers and toes. Get a good pair of gloves, thickness will depend where you’re riding and how cold, also ski mask/balaclava and toe covers. I learned I can have fewer layers since my body will heat up during the ride anyway, and a good windbreaker will keep the freezing wind out. For 30deg below ride, I use bar mitts since I don’t like wearing thick gloves. With the mitt, I can wear my summer gloves under it.
It will take some experience, but later on you’ll have that mental list of what to wear at what temperature.