We finally got some snow in eastern Massachusetts. There is still not enough to use the cross-country skis, but enough to prompt me to mount a studded tire on front of the Green Queen (aka my green Cielo by Chris King). It has been amazingly mild this year and this is definitely the latest I have have ridden into winter without studs.
The Green Queen is my nominal commuting bike. John calls it my 50 year old hammer - with two new handles and three new heads. I've had the bike for 18 years, and over the years I have replaced almost everything except the Phil Wood Fixed hub. Yes, even the frame has been replaced.
My commuter bike started life as custom Ted Wojcik cyclocross frame spec'd to get clearance for fat studded tires, with rack and fender eyelets. Sadly when I mounted the fat studded tire and fender, I discovered a bit of toe overlap. I put up with this for many years until, after all those years of abuse from winter salt and such, I noticed a bit of paint bubbling near the bottom bracket (a sure sign of internal rust). I used this as an excuse to replace the frame with one that didn't have TCO.
I spotted the Cielo frame a few years ago in Richmond at NAHBS. One of the big appeals was the lack of TCO in the small frame size. It also had all the features I look for in a commuting bike, like horizontal dropouts and fender and rack eyelets. You may not realize that horizontal (front facing) dropouts work better than track-ends (rear facing) for a fixed gear bike with fenders, until the first time you try to take out your rear wheel to repair a flat tire. I practically had to remove a fender once on a bike with track-ends, so if I want fenders with a fixie, I either go for front facing horizontal dropouts or use an eccentric hub like the ENO with vertical dropouts.
As I mentioned above, I have a vintage Phil Wood flip-flop hub, which is currently laced to a Sun CR18. I'm trying hard to wear this rim out, so I can replace it with one that is easier for mounting/removing tires. You may be getting the idea that I have a lot of punctures on this bike, but that is not really the case, thanks to the big cushy tires that I can fit into the frame. But as a commuting bike that gets used lots in foul weather, when I do have a flat, I like it to be as little hassle as possible. Currently I use an ancient Avocet 32mm tire on the rear and a Schwalbe 37mm studded tire on the front.
The front wheel has a Schmidt generator hub, proving an endless source of power for my Supernova headlight and taillight. I also have a B+M D-Toplight battery taillight and plenty of reflective stuff on the bike, rims and spokes.
The bike sports ancient SKS gold colored chromoplast fenders. I love the gold color. They have some rockin' Angel of the Highway mudflaps from Buddy Flaps, which often gets me a cheery greeting from passing motorists.
I recently installed a very elegant Middleburn crank, with a single splined chainring.
The brakes are old Paul's NeoRetro cantilevers mated to short reach Cane Creek levers, with a handy quick release in the lever. The bars are my favorite narrow TTT Morphe bars - no longer made, but I stockpiled a few when I could.
A Tubus Fly rack enables me to carry an Ortlieb pannier (or panniers) full of gear, like work clothes and laptop. I also have a Topeak Morph pump, along with a couple of spare tubes, a
quick patch kit, tire levers, allen keys and screwdriver.
I've commuted on this bike for many years. I did get a Bike Friday Tikit when I worked downtown, but this is really my preferred and most used commuter. I love the simple maintenance of a fixed gear, especially for all the mucky conditions that I ride in. And the fat tires are great for Metro-Boston's less than pristine roads.
Today was our first real snow, but the roads were clear (of snow but still wet) when I headed out. Thanks to my worth-their-weight-in-gold-fenders, I stayed comfy all day. The sun even came out and made a lovely shadow!