Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Dig Riding in the Snow

Let's face it - around here you will be very miserable for a few months if you do not embrace winter.  That means finding ways to get outdoors as much as possible.  More folks are riding fat bikes these days, but they are still best suited for groomed trails or packed snow.  Sheer ice and varied conditions still demand studded snow tires.

I am running 700x38 Schwalbe Winter Marathon tires with 240 carbide-tipped studs per tire on the Superfly.  These hook-up well in snow up to 3" and on compact snow and ice.  Today the roads became worse the closer I rode to the south hill.  The tires are great until hitting uneven tire ruts or severe side slope where they want to drift a bit as they are pushed laterally.  The other issue is that of hills and curve where cars ooze on the inside shoulder and you have to transition between the soft stuff and the tire ruts and then back.  That is a challenge for any studded bike tire.

57th Avenue was nothing but ice and I had better traction for moving than most of the 4x4 rigs rolling by me.  The best conditions for this setup is frost on pavement, unpacked snow or ice with no more than moderate side slope - everything else requires some finesse.  Good studded tires are not cheap, but they do represent a good value in that they will last 5 or more years with proper care.

Finally, despite how controlled you and the bike are, cars seem to be ill prepared for winter driving and encountering a bike on snow and ice. So if you do ride on winter roads be very aware of your surroundings.

Drivers seem genuinely perplexed on how best to negotiate a bike on the winter roads.  Today, the majority slowed and moved over more than normal - others were unsure whether to pass or stay back and then passing at awkward times.  This was fairly early on a Sunday morning where drivers appeared to be slightly more patient.

It looks like we are going into a pretty snowy weather pattern so I may need to transition inside for a while.  Today was a chance to stave-off the trainer a little longer and hone some skills for when I am sick of the trainer and savor riding outside again.

No comments:

Post a Comment