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  1. #1
    Senior Member tigerteeuwen's Avatar
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    Why riding during winter is hard

    Hello everyone!

    i just wanted to share why riding during winter is hard. I have been commuting as much as i can this winter and some days it feels like i am competing in a cyclo cross event with the amount of times i have to jump off my bike and walk and run it.

    so let me show you why its impossible to ride on some of the roads here.



    This ^ when the some of the only safe routes have conditions of roads as shown about it makes it a handful.

    sheer ice valleys, combined with semi packed snow that gets cut threw and causes you to lose speed, combined with ice underneath of it.

    it has been fun though, especially with the look on peoples face when they see you made it into work via bike.

    anyone else have any stories of road conditions that just were down right unfriendly?

  2. #2
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    This reminds me of the walk from Cary Quad to campus at Purdue, where the first class was at 7:30 and we all tramped down the fresh snow on the sidewalks, then the sweepers came out at 8 and essentially polished it into a treacherous ice sheet.

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    When you have to ride (or i would rather say walk with your heavy bike) through something as thick as this because they decided not to plow the cycling path (the slippery road being too dangerous because of the cars)

    Last edited by erig007; 11-22-13 at 11:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    First snowfall where I live and I've avoided riding the first day or two until the snow is cleared off the roads. I feel like a wimp but I'm not too excited about riding on ice esp. at night!

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Rain doesn't pile up in drifts, like Snow.

  6. #6
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Now you've got me thinking my commute needs some barriers and maybe a run-up.

  7. #7
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    The past two nights we have been giving tyre studding workshops at the bike co-op and this week has brought us a mix of the worst possible weather and road conditions save for freezing rain... when it is -25 we don't get any rain.

    I don't know where the OP lives and rides but will say that my Extrabike that is rolling on 2 inch wide knobby tyres that have generous studding don't get stopped by very much at all and is extremely stable on ice, packed snow, and will blow through oatmeal snow and brown shugah.



    I built that front tyre 3-4 years ago but had not used it much on this bike... it works extremely well.



    Tomorrow we are supposed to thaw out and things are going to be be warmer and things are gonna get slushy... and then things will freeze overnight.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    I don't commute in the winter. It's not that we have a lot of snow here in New York, but the cold makes it too much of a hassle and a hazard.

    Bundling up in layers of thermals and jackets is not worth the fifteen-minute ride. And the risk of being shuffleboarded off the road by a driver whose windshield is not yet defrosted is just too serious.

    HOWEVER, I have always been intrigued by those studded tires and would LOVE to try a set for recreational riding during the winter. Are they expensive? And can I make my own set from an extra pair of MTB knobby tires?
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  9. #9
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Glad that I don't have to deal with much snow and ice in NC. We sometimes go years between significant snow events, and the snow usually melts in a few days when we do get storms. I tried riding in snow/sleet one time on my mountain bike and fell off the bike within about 50 yards and could barely get traction. That was enough for me.

  10. #10
    Let's Ride! RidingMatthew's Avatar
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    i have pulled my mountain bike almost everytime we get snow here in NC, mainly to play in the neighborhood never really ridden anywhere with it though.
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    My normal route includes a concrete ford that is normally dry but often floods. I have seen 2+ feet of rapidly running water during extended periods of rain. Needless to say, I find another way around. This pasdt week, it was under about 4 or 5 inches of water, I still didn't risk it.

  12. #12
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    HOWEVER, I have always been intrigued by those studded tires and would LOVE to try a set for recreational riding during the winter. Are they expensive? And can I make my own set from an extra pair of MTB knobby tires?
    Yes. And Yes. The ones in the pic 65er posted are home made. Last I knew, there were instructions down in the Winter Cycling forum.

    One caveat: While home brew work fantastically off-road and on roads covered with ice and hardpack (as they seem to be in Alberta), they're not so hot when they meet pavement. (Although according to my nephew, the sparks are impressive.) Likewise, commercial ones with steel studs also wear out quickly on pavement, and are better suited for off-road.

    My tires have carbide studs, just like those in car tires, only shorter. I run Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 in 700x35/38. They're 35mm wide, but the height of a 38. I'm entering my seventh season with them Upstate on Lake Ontario. At their current rate of wear, I estimate they've got another seven years left in them.

    See http://peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp
    Last edited by tsl; 11-23-13 at 09:37 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post

    My tires have carbide studs, just like those in car tires, only shorter. I run Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 in 700x35/38.
    If Hakkapeliitta bike tires are half as good as their auto counterparts, I'll run out and get a pair. I used these on all 4 wheels of my Miata and not once, even in the worst of our winter storms did I not have rock solid positive traction and control, which is pretty good with a 2,100 pound sports car. I always enjoyed maneuvering around stranded 4wd SUVs as their drivers stood by scratching their heads.

    The only limitation was fresh snow more than 6" deep, on which the car would ski up and get stranded with wheels of the ground. This happened only once, after which I used some self imposed common sense restrictions.
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    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    For me it's mostly just the bite on my face and runny nose. I use Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires on my city bike and the design of the bike makes it fairly impervious to slush or other problems since everything is internal and protected. I occasionally wipe it down, more for aesthetics than anything else.

    I have segregated paths everywhere I go (and don't go places that don't provide physical protection once it snows) and the counties and cities do a good job of keeping them clear. Worst for me is some intersections and parking lots when the snow is heavier than plows can keep up with.

    I wear normal street clothes and am comfortable down to about 15-20f.

  15. #15
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    If Hakkapeliitta bike tires are half as good as their auto counterparts, I'll run out and get a pair.

    The only limitation was fresh snow more than 6" deep, on which the car would ski up and get stranded with wheels of the ground.
    When in doubt, I go with experience. The Finns know their snow and ice.

    As for 6" deep, this is another case where bikes are better than cars. I can clear almost 8" before I'm dragging the lower RD pulley, and 10 or 11" before I'm dragging the BB through the snow. At that point it does overwhelm the motor output, so I just hop off and cyclocross carry the thing.

    Try that with a Miata!

    Of course, a fat tired MTB would float over the snow. But if it's that deep, they've closed work so I can stay home.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    We deal with mostly ice around here, with the occasional snowstorm. Marathon Winters are great, because there is typically bare pavement and icy stretches. I haven't heard any studs on other commuter bikes yet, but we're getting close. Studded tires are mounted on an extra wheelset, and a couple missing studs from last year were replaced. Really haven't had a good winter storm in a couple years, so we are due, perhaps.

  17. #17
    Senior Member tigerteeuwen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    When in doubt, I go with experience. The Finns know their snow and ice.

    As for 6" deep, this is another case where bikes are better than cars. I can clear almost 8" before I'm dragging the lower RD pulley, and 10 or 11" before I'm dragging the BB through the snow. At that point it does overwhelm the motor output, so I just hop off and cyclocross carry the thing.

    Try that with a Miata!

    Of course, a fat tired MTB would float over the snow. But if it's that deep, they've closed work so I can stay home.
    I was running a kenda kinetic in a 2.35 previously during my winter rides over the last few weeks. I found them pretty much useless in a wet snow.

    Now i am currently using a panaracer 2.1 because of the softer tire compound, If i can't make these work i will have to bite the bullet and go studded.

    Trying not to spend $200 on tires though, because i am wanting a brand new bike come the spring.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post

    As for 6" deep, this is another case where bikes are better than cars. I can clear almost 8" before I'm dragging the lower RD pulley, and 10 or 11" before I'm dragging the BB through the snow.

    .
    I've also ridden in deep snow, but at anything over 4-5" my pedals drop into the snow, and since the pedal is moving forward even at 6 o'clock (the bike is going forward faster than the pedal is going backward) I end up snowplowing with my feet with every stroke, scooping up snow and pushing it to my ankles where it gets my socks wet.

    So while I still ride in snow, I don't do it as much as I did decades ago, and now reserve that kind of thing mostly to frozen lakes.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member blakcloud's Avatar
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    I have a dedicated winter bike, Trek Portland with Schwalbe Winter Marathon's 700 x 35. They worked well last year for those icy conditions. I have never tried them in heavy snow since we never really got a pile of snow in one shot, just a bunch of smaller storms. In previous years I have used mountain bikes with knobbies and they worked great in the snow, but not so great on ice.

    If I lived in a snow filled climate, I would love to try a fat tire bike.

  20. #20
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Yes. And Yes. The ones in the pic 65er posted are home made. Last I knew, there were instructions down in the Winter Cycling forum.

    One caveat: While home brew work fantastically off-road and on roads covered with ice and hardpack (as they seem to be in Alberta), they're not so hot when they meet pavement. (Although according to my nephew, the sparks are impressive.) Likewise, commercial ones with steel studs also wear out quickly on pavement, and are better suited for off-road.
    Stud placement is really important, key is to set them so that they are off camber and don't engage when you are riding in a straight line at normal psi but engage when you are turning... by doing that you don't wear out the studs and the tyres roll well. Drop the pressure a little and you will get steady engagement on icy roads.

    For off road and snow, the biggest fattest mtb tyres you can find will give you maximum float and then you can can it a step farther... fatbikes are terrible on ice because of the low contact pressure on the tyres and really need studs.



    More self studded... they are going into their 3rd winter. Note the second picture as it shows how the off camber studs do not make constant contact




  21. #21
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
    When you have to ride (or i would rather say walk with your heavy bike) through something as thick as this because they decided not to plow the cycling path (the slippery road being too dangerous because of the cars)

    Looks like somebody needs a Pugsley!

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
    Looks like somebody needs a Pugsley!
    You can ride on that with a pugsley? Maybe i should look into it

  23. #23
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
    You can ride on that with a pugsley? Maybe i should look into it
    Well that purple monster that sixty-fiver just posted a few comments up is a Pugsley, he'd know best...

  24. #24
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
    This reminds me of the walk from Cary Quad to campus at Purdue, where the first class was at 7:30 and we all tramped down the fresh snow on the sidewalks, then the sweepers came out at 8 and essentially polished it into a treacherous ice sheet.
    Tell me about it!
    I graduated from Purdue in '91.
    I can't fathom WTF they were thinking with those damned ice polishers!
    If it was a dry climate like CO or UT, they could have been useful.
    But in fact they served no purpose whatsoever in the IN climate.

  25. #25
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    If Hakkapeliitta bike tires are half as good as their auto counterparts, I'll run out and get a pair...
    Start running.

    I miss very few days of riding due to the effectiveness of these tires. The Schwalls are also excellent. But I have no complaints about my Nokians.

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