I finally got back into commuting on Friday the 10th after a long, long time off the bikes. Of course our warm dry Winter came to an abrupt halt at the same time...the story of my life.
I rode home yesterday on icy pavement with a few areas of 'Brown Sugar' snow on top of the ice and found the ride on my Mountain bike equiped with Schwalbe Winter Marathons to be mostly stable. The only issues I had were with that crappy old "Brown Sugar' grabbing my front wheel and making it very difficult to stay upright.
This morning I awoke to a big suprise! We had between 12" & 18" of fresh white powder on the ground! I got to thinking about the late 80's when I first started winter commuting and it dawned on me that I had my bike set up a bit differently back then and it handled way better.
I went out to the garage on a scavanger hunt and retuned to the house with an arm load of goodies. I had my summer wheel, an old IRC Blizzard studded snow tire, and an old solid rubber tire insert. I replaced the summer tire with the IRC Blizzard complete with the rubber insert. Then I headed out to the porch and took the Schwalbe Winter Marathon off the front off the Trek and put on the old IRC. Almost done....now for the secret weapon....I grabbed a box of 3/8" hex headed self tapping sheet metal screws. With the solid insert I was able to screw those babies right into the tire. They make great studs!!
The IRC Blizzards are 26 x 2.125's, The Schwalbe Winter Marathons are 26 x 1.6's and seem to have a less agressive tread pattern.
I dropped the seat down about an inch to allow my stablizers (feet) to reach the ground and headed off into work. The road conditions varied from bare pavement to icy with deep snowy ruts to ice with a coating of 'Brown Sugar' to a few spots of 18" deep fresh un-driven on snow. The bike handled like a charm!!
The Schwalbe Winter Marathon is sitting on the porch mounted and ready to go back onto the bike when the road conditions become a bit less challanging.
So at the end of the day my bike was locked up at the bike rack just as nice as could be. The few cars out in the parking lot were just kind of scattered about as the plows hadn't showed up yet, though I had managed to power through the lot without having to use my stablizers!
It never ceases to amaze how one or two little changes can make such a big difference in bike handling.
Golly Gee it sure is great to be back on the bikes again!!