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Old 02-12-12, 05:18 PM   #1
cranky old dude
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Ooooo, look at all the pretty snow!!!

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!!

Last edited by cranky old dude; 02-12-12 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 02-12-12, 06:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
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!!
I use Schwalbe Marathon winters as well, but I agree, they are great on ice, useless in snow. Of course now, I don't have to ride in the snow, so I don't.
If I had to, I'd probably use the Schwalbe Snow Stud tires or something like it.
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Old 02-12-12, 09:03 PM   #3
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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'm hoping this will help you learn to use your powers for good!

I had to put the darned snow tires back on the bike today.
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Old 02-12-12, 09:25 PM   #4
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Need pics.
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Old 02-13-12, 01:44 PM   #5
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Need pics.
Okie Dokie.......The Schwalbe is on the left. I still have it's mate on the rear wheel and it works quite well there. The IRC is on the right and currently mounted on the front of the bike. It's a very aggressive tire and the sheet metal screws help fight slippage a bit. The IRC is about 20 years old and I don't believe they're available any more.



EDIT: The sun is shining, the major roads are down to bare pavement, and the daytime temperatures are forecast to be above freezing so the Schwalbe is back on the front again until the next significant snow event.

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Old 02-13-12, 01:45 PM   #6
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I'm hoping this will help you learn to use your powers for good!

I had to put the darned snow tires back on the bike today.
You're welcome!!
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Old 02-13-12, 07:37 PM   #7
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We had our first, and hopefully only, appreciable snow of the year today. We got about 3.5 inches, give or take a little. That beats the 24 inches we had a year ago in a couple of days in February. Anyway, I'm walking from our lab to the plant today and encountered a bit of the "brown sugar" you mentioned. I'm thinking, there's no way I would ride in this mess, day or night.

I rode three hours on Saturday when the temperature was about 27oF and the windchill was around 16 or 17oF. The roads were dry, the sky was mostly sunny. I felt OK. Today, it was 28 to 34oF, the windchill was up around 22 or 23oF, and the sky was totally overcast. With all the snow/ice/sleet or whatever on the ground, it felt a lot colder than it did on Saturday, when it was actually colder.

My hat is off to you and tsl for riding daily in these conditions. You guys are a couple of tough hombres.
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Old 02-13-12, 10:35 PM   #8
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It tried to snow today. By noon we had a light powdering and by 4pm the rain had washed it all away. So much for the big winter snow storm.
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