(Edit: If you see the comments below, some readers have pointed out that I was a bit lax in two areas of bike safety -- alignment of pedal-clip straps and quick-release lever -- so I made slight changes below. Normally, I'm not too worried about these things lining up perfectly, but I figured I should at least point out the by-the-book methods.)

Yesterday, I started to overhaul my second-hand road bike into an all-season commuting model. Now the Trek known around S. Pearl Street as "White Lightning" is better equipped to handle the nasty things on the roads of late. If you're looking to do the same, come down to the Third Hand Bike Co-Op, where I and a bunch of rad people are waiting to help you fix up your rides.

Here's some of what I did:

(Edit: If you see the comments below, some readers have pointed out that I was a bit lax in two areas of bike safety -- alignment of pedal-clip straps and quick-release lever -- so I made slight changes below. Normally, I'm not too worried about these things lining up perfectly, but I figured I should at least point out the by-the-book methods.)

Yesterday, I started to overhaul my second-hand road bike into an all-season commuting model. Now the Trek known around S. Pearl Street as "White Lightning" is better equipped to handle the nasty things on the roads of late. If you're looking to do the same, come down to the Third Hand Bike Co-Op, where I and a bunch of rad people are waiting to help you fix up your rides.

Here's some of what I did:

View larger image Knobby tires: The most important thing I did yesterday was change out some older, slicker road tires for these ones. Though heavier and more cumbersome on dry pavement, they provide better traction on wet roads and are far more efficient on the snow and ice that built up yesterday Downtown. (Edit: When locking down a quick-release lever, it should be tucked back and aligned with the fork. This way, it won't catch on anything and release.)

View larger image Pedal clips: Wet shoes and plastic pedals mean your legs are doing much more work. They're propelling the bike and exerting energy trying to stay put. I call these things "feet belts" -- little seat belts for your feet. They give me more control of my bike and, because they're a size too small, allow for easy release. (Edit: Even on the non-drive side, it's best to have the metal clip holding the nylon strap facing away from the crank. Sort of like this.)

View larger image Rear fender: All commuters should have a rear fender, which saves your clothes and keeps you somewhat dry. This plastic seat-post model is available at B1 Bikes for about $15. It's light and easily switches from bike to bike. I'm still in the market for a front fender.

View larger image Straight handlebars: Changing out riser bars or drop bars is mostly a comfort thing. In winter conditions, I prefer less aggressive geometry -- so I can see all the jackasses who don't see me. This piece was snagged from a big-box mountain bike, and I sawed off about four inches to fit the shifters, brakes and grips.

(Photos by John Ross)