First of all, the title of this thread is "700x23 on snow and ice? Piece of cake
." and that's pure B.S. From the OP's own writing in this thread it's clear that that type of riding takes a lot of paying attention, concentration, and developing somewhat advanced bike handling skills.
Originally Posted by daveizdum
As stated in the original post, I do ride on hard packed snow and ice. Some seem unwilling to accept this. It's actually pretty easy with practice. I think I could probably ride circles around an ice rink after the 3 months of practice I've just gotten.
I live in Minnesota, and - I honestly have to say I really do find what you're saying about an ice skating rink nearly impossible to believe.
I'm sorry. I'm not any sort of huge safety advocate - I ride in the summer without a helmet whenever I feel like it, I use lights at night but don't wear head to toe reflective gear or anything, I bike at all times of the day or night. But staying upright on "sheer" ice with 23c tires? I...just don't think I can believe that. I've tried to ride on "sheer" ice on a Pugsley and could not keep the bike upright once the front tire got fully in contact with the sheer lake ice. I don't know if more experience and bike handling skills might have allowed me to do it, but in my opinion it would be completely impossible on 23c slicks.
We have plenty of people here who ride without studs, but I do not believe any of them could ride 23c's on a smooth, newly resurfaced ice skating rink with them. I just don't think it's possible. If someone has video of someone doing this, including a closeup of the condition of the ice, I would certainly be interested in being proven wrong. But I'm not sure I even believe it's possible to actually ride 23c's on "sheer" ice without falling over or putting your feet down.
Originally Posted by daveizdum
I live in the Rocky mountains and have ridden through a foot of packed snow with ice underneath. This should be sufficiently wintery for anyone reading my post and contemplating whether I subjected myself to extreme or mild conditions.
1 - your snow must be different than ours in Minnesota, or you're leaving important information out, as it's pretty much impossible to ride through 1 foot of snow here with any sort of tire. Pugley riders were finding themselves with the need to walk their bikes at certain times when we got 6 inches of snow or more here. I have heard it depends on the type of the snow. I've also found that 6 inches of snow on the sidewalk can be nearly impossible, while 6 inches of snow on the road that got compressed by cars was doable with a 2" tire (or a 35c actually as well).
Even Puglsey riders were finding it impossible to ride the greenway here before it was plowed when we got 16" or so of snow the last time.
2 - as other people have said, riding over packed snow with ice underneath is quite a bit easier than riding sheer ice without studs as the tire has some grip on the snow. In fact, any sort of the kind of ice that has some snow gripping it is monumentally easier than real, "sheer" ice. Just a little bit of grip on the ice is often enough.
When someone says that they rode all through winter and they say "zero mishaps", I also wonder what that means exactly. I've noticed that when people use colorful adjectives they often mean something different than they're implying - I suspect you might mean that you fell over once or twice but since you didn't brake anything you don't consider it a "mishap". Or, maybe you just got lucky.
I can only relate my own experience, but I live in Minnesota - the land of snow and ice in the winter. It's not like I'm talking just from theory, or just from my own experience - I've known many people here who bike as transportation who have used no studs, just the front tire studded, and studs on both tires. And over and over and over again, the best I hear from the "no studs" riders are that they have a least one fall each winter. It's not necessarily serious - often (though not always) they fall but don't break anything. But all of those guys always talk about bike handling, steering around icy spots, etc etc - none of them ever seriously claim that it's "easy".
I take issue not with the idea that it's possible to ride without studded tires in the winter, but with the idea that it's a "piece of cake". I think that's total b.s. I live and bike with people who do that kind of stuff. And the same themes always come up again and again -
1. They're nearly always young guys - the kind of guys you'd imagine skateboarding or going off huge mountain bike jumps
2. They always fall down at least once a year. Sometimes they say it was no big deal, but it always happens at least once.
3. There's always a certain number of them that have broken something serious.
Now when we talk about risk, I mean, doesn't this same set of points apply to people who road race and do any sort of serious mountain biking? Yes, it certainly does.
But, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it's one thing to say that with practice, skill, and always paying attention that it's possible to bike regularly in snow and ice without studs. I'm not saying that it's not. I know people who do it, and they accept a higher level of risk, but everything has risk including the more "serious" forms of biking. But to say it's a "piece of cake" is nothing but ridiculous. It's certainly not easy.