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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-04-07, 03:38 PM   #1
ECDkeys
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stopped my bike today with...my face

Well, I took the wrong bike out today. Should have taken the hybrid with the studded tires. I thought I'd be okay without studs since most roads were cleared. But there's more ice now than I've ever encountered so far this season. I slipped a few times with no consequence. But just now took a hard fall and felt my cheek rub the pavement. I imagine the road rash (and swelling) would have been worse had my helmet not cushioned my impact. Stopped in a local tavern where they served me topical analgesic, a bandaid, and a pint of beer.

Every accident I've had this season was due to ice (or otherwise slippery conditions) and complete loss of traction. Fortunately none involved other moving vehicles, motor or other.
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Old 03-04-07, 04:02 PM   #2
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Auch, that must have hurt quite a bit, just the sudden impact and shock is very annoying. At least they gave you the good old historical pain medicine ... yeast taking care of the skin recovery, not to bad. I have stopped my bike with knukkles before when I was younger ... which was after experiencing my first flying lesson.

Studded tires eh? How much traction do you get out of these tires in snowy conditions? I never have driven in snow before, you seem like you're pretty ... haha ... experienced with slippery conditions. I can't image traction in show anyhow, but I'm probably far off?
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Old 03-04-07, 04:33 PM   #3
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I don't rely on studded tires to improve traction in snowy conditions, although they probably do. The real improvement is traction on ice. Every time I've ridden studs on ice, I've never had a thought as to safety, to the point where I forget the improved handling studs offer on ice. So, I erroneously think unstudded tires will be just fine as long as I ride slowly and carefully. The problem is no matter how slowly and carefully I ride without studs, a sudden loss of traction in the front wheel will very likely take me down. (After my first crash this morning, I proceeded to walk my bike and slipped while walking.)
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Old 03-04-07, 05:04 PM   #4
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I've been riding studs front and rear this winter and I concur. In those cases where I have skidded the front - I still did not go down, as the studs provide sufficient grab to recover. I had a close call negotiating a fast turn last week though - came within 6 inches of wiping out in a pine tree on the outside curve of a path. I was able to straighten out of my sideways slide with only inches to spare - I had forgotten the rule when cornering on ice - no leaning!

I have observed many who ride in Calgary winter without studs - but I definitely think the added rolling resistance is worth the peace of mind.

<edit> your post encouraged me to stick with the studded MTB for a while before switching to the slick hybrid - thanks
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Old 03-04-07, 05:38 PM   #5
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Well, I'm glad I've persuaded at least one person to stick with studs because of my misfortune. Alas, my modeling career is over before it had a chance to take off.

Okay, who am I kidding, unless I was modeling for Average Joe Magazine.

I do keep forgetting that the extra rolling resistance is great insurance when riding in these conditions. I have this stupid desire not to be dropped by other cyclists that I'll push my luck in choosing which bike I'll take out.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:29 PM   #6
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I ate it pretty badly on my studded bike last Wednesday. Was riding along fine without much sign of ice, when I took a route that had me going through a tunnel under an overpass (for Bostonians: just west of Harvard square on the Cabridge side). The ground was, what I thought was a solid sheet of ice. Fine I thought, but I didn't count on the ice having cracked and having a 2 inch wide gap running diagnoally through the tunnel. Front wheel catches. Next thing I know I'm flat on my back staring right into my bike headlights.

Studs on ice...good. Anything on irregular ice...not so good.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:37 PM   #7
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ironic.

i've been told my face can stop traffic
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Old 03-04-07, 08:44 PM   #8
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Studs on ice...good. Anything on irregular ice...not so good.
I've never had studded tires, but I have to say that a pet peeve of mine is riding on ice in crosswinds.

Quote:
The problem is no matter how slowly and carefully I ride without studs, a sudden loss of traction in the front wheel will very likely take me down.
I've saved myself a couple of times when I had a sudden loss of traction on the front tire. You can put a foot down on the side to which you're falling, and pull hard on the handlebars, opposite pedal, and seat (use your thigh) to try to force the bike to stay under you. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECDkeys
Well, I'm glad I've persuaded at least one person to stick with studs because of my misfortune. .
You've persuaded at least two people. I was going to ride my CX bike into work tommorow but will take the studded MTB instead.

It has been really warm the last 2 days so all the snow is melting. There has been rivers of water flowing through the streets. The temp is suppose to go down to -7C tonight so everything should freeze up nicely. The main roads are dry so they shouldn't pose a problem. I'm just not sure how wet/frozen the secondary roads will be on my way into the office.

Better safe than sorry I suppose. I can ride the CX bike Tuesday if the roads are clear of ice.

T.J.
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Old 03-04-07, 10:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tequila Joe
You've persuaded at least two people. I was going to ride my CX bike into work tommorow but will take the studded MTB instead.
Funny, it was my CX bike that I was riding today, and it's been that bike that I've taken spills on all season, never on my other bikes. I swear, that bike is cursed.
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Old 03-05-07, 12:02 AM   #11
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hah! I was riding my studded MTB home tonight and took a spill. I have the schwalbe snow studs on the rear, and since I was planning on turning left halfway down this bigtime hill I took the left side path. Well of course the snow that had been melting all day left a nice sheer sheet of ice on the downhill (particularly at the curve). I had just pumped up my snowstuds to 85 psi to disengage the studs on the rear (sooo much easier to pedal), going down the hill with light rear brake action and then no traction on the rear. No big - I'll feather the front before I pick up too much speed. No dice - I went down on my wrists, but fortunately I had some traction (thank you Nokian!) so it was all in slow motion. Landed (slowly) on my wrists and feet as my bike slipped out from under me. I saw the gouges my nokians left in the ice - I was in a full front skid for about a foot before I was on my hands - I figure that's why it didn't hurt.

Watch the black ice and keep both sets of studs engaged.
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Old 03-05-07, 10:07 AM   #12
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disengage the studs??? whaaaa?????

can you tell me what tires have this feature?
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Old 03-05-07, 11:13 AM   #13
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I always leave my studs on until there's no chance of ice anymore.

But I found out last week that even Nokian studs are not a 100% guarantee. There was a 1/8" covering of very hard, slick ice on the driveway, and the front wheel went out on the corner. I was going pretty slow, but I did take the corner a little sharp. nothing but a little rash on my right elbow to show for it, and a little appreciation that if there's ice, even with studs, take it easy.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:33 AM   #14
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I never ride studs in the winter and haven't wiped due to ice in two years but if there was any day I would want them it was today. Two days of chinooks then freezing over night left the path real icy (off-camber ice too).
The key to riding ice with no studs is keep pedalling and relax your grip on the bars. I saw too many people (studs or no studs) this morning braking hard before the ice and coasting way too slowly across it. This does two things, one it increases the amount of time that you're on the ice and makes you more wobbly and two, your rear wheel gets more traction when you are applying force to it than when its just coasting. That being said, there's nothing you can do if you're trying to turn on sheer ice.
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Old 03-05-07, 01:37 PM   #15
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Well, I just returned along the same route that I took yesterday that had me crashing all over the place with non-studded tires. It was crazy going, but my studded tires helped keep me upright. The thing I have to remind myself is every time I feel on the verge of losing traction, those are precisely the times I would have wiped out with my other bikes.

These were ridiculously unpredictable ice ruts I had to negotiate. It was fun to a certain degree, but it was VERY hard work. When the ice leveled out, however, it was freakishly stable even with slight leans on turns.

Duly noted about keeping speed on ice with non-studded tires. The thing that got me yesterday was there was a slight crown to the ice covered road, and by the time I met the ice, it was too late for me to steer towards the center of the road. Despite the tread on the side of my CX tires, there was zero traction as I tried to maintain forward momentum.
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Old 03-05-07, 04:45 PM   #16
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Well, it was a good decision to take the MTB with studs. Thanks for steering me this way. It was REALLY icy on the way in today. Water flowed across parts of the road & MUP when it was warm yesterday and froze into off camber sheets of black ice overnight. There were sections of ice over 50 yards long. I saw pedestrians & another bike commuter falling / having a very hard time walking on the ice. I zipped by them as if I were riding on dry pavement.

Last edited by Tequila Joe; 03-05-07 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:08 PM   #17
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ECDkeys -- I did the same thing last winter when I swapped out the studs too early. I went down on a patch of ice and slid until my face caught on a chain link fence. A couple of nasty scrapes and an infection that required a doctor's visit, but I did recover. I forced me to call off my courtship of Britney -- I guess that turned out for the best!!
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Old 03-06-07, 12:07 PM   #18
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Well, working from home this morning. I'll need to head out in about an hour. But now I'm faced with a quandry: Just now a big ol' tractor (you know, those gigantic behemoths that move earth) came through my quiet neighborhood and pushed all forms of packed snow/ice/slush away. Damn, it was impressive to watch. But there's still ice, although less bumpy. So, no more enormous ruts, and ice-covered surfaces are more uniform.

Most of my ride the other day saw very decent dry pavement; it was just the few blocks surrounding my neighborhood that felt like aggressive mountain biking (leaving me wishing for front suspension).

Why do I insist on pushing my luck? Just take the studded tires already.
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