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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 09-01-11, 10:51 PM   #1
NewEnglandBiker
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I Sold My Mercedes

Decided a Specialized Allez was enough. Its been three weeks now, I hardly notice its gone.

Its a shame to let such a pretty car go, I'd grown attached to it, but I'm loving the extra 20k in investments I have now! Not to mention the cancellation of my gym membership and insurance policy.

Now let's just hope I can make it through the Boston winter. I think I need a mountain bike. Any suggestions on good snow tires?


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Old 09-02-11, 12:01 AM   #2
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Decided a Specialized Allez was enough. Its been three weeks now, I hardly notice its gone.

Its a shame to let such a pretty car go, I'd grown attached to it, but I'm loving the extra 20k in investments I have now! Not to mention the cancellation of my gym membership and insurance policy.

Now let's just hope I can make it through the Boston winter. I think I need a mountain bike. Any suggestions on good snow tires?


Nice ride but not a winter bike I would think. I like the Giant Yukon for a MTB or a Rock Hopper. Can't help you on snow tires.
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Old 09-02-11, 12:35 AM   #3
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I like the Schwalbe Winter over the Nokian 106. The Schwalbes are noticeably faster due to less rolling resistance, and are just as good on ice. The Nokians are a bit better on totally unplowed roads.
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Old 09-02-11, 05:45 PM   #4
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Anything with studs?...I am going to be finding out shortly. DD and DS both live in the NE now and will have bicycles this winter. DD is in Keene, NH currently has a city bike, is getting a road bike and I am sure will be asking about an MTB before long. DS lives in Somerville/Boston and is getting a custom set up city bike, I hope he doesn't plan to ride it in the winter, but if he does I am sure we will work something out. He does still have an MTB left over from his college days, but it is my storage area in NC.

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Old 09-02-11, 06:43 PM   #5
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Both my cars and my bikes have always been just barely above beaters.
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Old 09-02-11, 07:56 PM   #6
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Hang on a second now.

It seems like NewEnglandBiker has just made a radical shift in lifestyle and we are here recommending studded tires for the winter.

Doesn't seem right to me. Going without a car is a big step, especially if you are used to having a car around. Unless you are in some unique circumstances (really close to work; work at home...) I'd recommend a couple of things:

1) getting really well acquainted with public transportation for those winter days when you don't feel like riding.
2) understanding what's available in terms of Zip cars or rentals.
3) figuring out inter-urban bus or train possibilities.

and then maybe Nokian studded tires for your winter bike.
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Old 09-02-11, 10:23 PM   #7
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Hang on a second now.

It seems like NewEnglandBiker has just made a radical shift in lifestyle and we are here recommending studded tires for the winter.
That was what he asked for!
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Old 09-02-11, 10:30 PM   #8
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But Gerv and Robert Foster are right - there is more to it than tires.

To the OP, you now have enough cash and good reason to get a more utilitarian bike. If you hang around here you'll see lots of references to the principle of n+1. The number of bikes you need is always n+1, where n is the number you already own.

I wasn't kidding about beaters- I ride a 1984 Trek tour bike in the summer and a 1990s rigid (no suspension) mountain bike for part of the winter. Both were cheap enough, bought used, that it wouldn't ding me much financially if they were stolen. Both have fenders and rear racks. I'm not car-free, but I am a car-free commuter. I take public transit about 40-60 days a year, mostly when it's icy, and bike to work the other 150+ days.

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Old 09-02-11, 11:43 PM   #9
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Zip Ties!!! http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010...ies-photos.php


I admire your bravery!

You may want to switch to a fixed gear for winter or disc brakes or live dangerously, "No Brakes!!!"

Last edited by Cyclomania; 09-02-11 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 09-03-11, 05:46 AM   #10
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Zip Ties!!! http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010...ies-photos.php


I admire your bravery!

You may want to switch to a fixed gear for winter or disc brakes or live dangerously, "No Brakes!!!"
I forgot about that...my son's city bike has drums brakes

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Old 09-03-11, 09:18 AM   #11
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First of all, NEB, nice bike and nice car. but the bike is a lot nicer than the car!

Let's put winter cycling in perspective. I assume that most of the time you will be riding on the same streets that cars ride on. These streets will be plowed and salted pretty quickly, if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. That means that most of the time you will be riding on clear pavement, even a day or two after a "maajor snow event." Just like most cars no longer bother with snow tires, you won't need to bother with studs if you are riding on main streets and primary roads. Worst case scenario--you will ride well on main streets, but you will have to go slowly on side streets. Rarely, you might even have to get off your bike and walk on the side streets. So studs and a special bike are not "required" equipment.

However, ther are times when you will wish you had studs. This is mainly on side streets that don't get plowed and on trails. The bike trails in my city are plowed (swept, actually) as soon as the main streets. But in some conditions, the plowing leaves streets and trails icy rather than snowy, so studs are nice to have. You can get along without them, but you will have to proceed slowly and fall down occasionally.

Personally, I have had little problem with icing of standard rim brakes and derailleurs. I've had them freeze over a couple times in 6 Michigan winters, but they were easy enough to fix.
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Old 09-03-11, 10:00 AM   #12
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Congratulations on becoming car free. Studded tires are mandatory in any area where the roads are colder than freezing temperatures. Some people don't mind taking that chance. Even if you don't ever fall without studded tires, you still slip around and don't have optimum traction. The way cities are cutting back with their spending you can bet they won't be clearing the streets or putting out as much chemical or salt deicing products on the roads.

That photo of the cable ties is funny. I bet it would work for a mile or two. All of the cable ties I've bought in the last few years are made of plastic that cracks in very cold weather. If there is a good brand for them that resists cold weather then that solution might work for more miles.
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Old 09-03-11, 02:56 PM   #13
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Studded tires are mandatory in any area where the roads are colder than freezing temperatures.
"Mandatory"? Sez who? "Mandatory"? Where, in what "area"?
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Old 09-03-11, 03:23 PM   #14
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I wonder how far you would get with these? I guess flats are a real nuisance too.
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Old 09-03-11, 09:52 PM   #15
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Congratulations on becoming car free. Studded tires are mandatory in any area where the roads are colder than freezing temperatures. Some people don't mind taking that chance. Even if you don't ever fall without studded tires, you still slip around and don't have optimum traction. The way cities are cutting back with their spending you can bet they won't be clearing the streets or putting out as much chemical or salt deicing products on the roads.

That photo of the cable ties is funny. I bet it would work for a mile or two. All of the cable ties I've bought in the last few years are made of plastic that cracks in very cold weather. If there is a good brand for them that resists cold weather then that solution might work for more miles.
I don't know about studs being mandatory. I've ridden some winters with them and some witnters without them. For regular commuting on almost every day of the year, you can get by without them. Personally, I prefer them, especially as one of my hobbies is ice biking (riding on frozen lakes and rivers). But if I had a limited budget, there are other things I would spend the money on instead of snow tires for my bike.
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Old 09-03-11, 10:33 PM   #16
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my suggestion would be to have an extra set of wheels with some winter tires on them

the extra set of tires could also serve as an emergency backup to be used on short notice

when you are depending on a bike to for your sole transportation, you can never have too many extra sets of wheels / tires etc.
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Old 09-03-11, 10:56 PM   #17
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I don't know about studs being mandatory. I've ridden some winters with them and some witnters without them. For regular commuting on almost every day of the year, you can get by without them. Personally, I prefer them, especially as one of my hobbies is ice biking (riding on frozen lakes and rivers). But if I had a limited budget, there are other things I would spend the money on instead of snow tires for my bike.
ice biking > sounds like some fun times
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Old 09-04-11, 04:21 AM   #18
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ice biking > sounds like some fun times
Can't find the link at the moment, but in Minnesota there is a whole cycling culture built up around racing on ice. They do time trials and criteriums.

As far as using studded tires? If I had to ride on the ice and mess left over after plows and cars went through? I would want studs, also when you get the thaw and refreeze with large patches of ice. I would also consider a dedicated winter bike, the junk they spray on the roads is going to be hard on it. A set of studded tires is cheaper than a trip to the emergency room if you slide and fall. Also don't forget to wear some sort of spiked shoe too, nothing like coming to a stop on glare ice completely under control with your studded tires, put your foot down and have it slide away from you.

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Old 09-04-11, 09:03 PM   #19
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First, congratulations on selling the car. I went car free two years ago, and I don't miss the insurance, maintenance, or gas bills of owning a car.

On to snow tires ......

In January, I bought my first set of studded snow tires for my cyclocross bike. I searched the web, and eventually, I wound up at Peter White's site. I called and talked to Peter (January is probably slower than, say, September, so he has more time to chat). His opinion was that you put the tires on at the first snow and you take them off when the snow's gone in April. There's no, "Maybe I should switch wheels because it's sunny" mindset. Snow melts during the day and refreezes at night. There is enough possibility of slipping that you just want to keep them on. After having ridden on those sunny days, I'm glad I had the studs on.

Peter's site is worth reading he breaks down the studded tires. I got the Hakkapeliitta's, and I'm happy with them: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp

Another hazard: One day I was headed over to the American Museum of Natural History on my bike in January a few days after a snowfall. I live near Columbia University, so I took Central Park West as a straight shot down to 79th --- about two miles. In good weather, with clear streets, Central Park West has four lanes of traffic and a parking lane with a little "left over" that makes a bit of a bike lane. It's usually pretty easy, and I ride pretty fast. This day, there was slush, snow, and crud on the right hand side giving a little more than one lane in each direction. I found this lack of space frustrating. Some kids were at a bus stop, and I kind of looked at them and they looked at me. I thought, "Huh, that's weird." By the time I realized what was happening, I had already zipped by them in the slush: they were making snowballs to hit me. I was way out of range thanks to the studded tires.

Just be aware that there are extra hazards in winter.
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Old 09-05-11, 08:30 AM   #20
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First, congratulations on selling the car. I went car free two years ago, and I don't miss the insurance, maintenance, or gas bills of owning a car.

On to snow tires ......

In January, I bought my first set of studded snow tires for my cyclocross bike. I searched the web, and eventually, I wound up at Peter White's site. I called and talked to Peter (January is probably slower than, say, September, so he has more time to chat). His opinion was that you put the tires on at the first snow and you take them off when the snow's gone in April. There's no, "Maybe I should switch wheels because it's sunny" mindset. Snow melts during the day and refreezes at night. There is enough possibility of slipping that you just want to keep them on. After having ridden on those sunny days, I'm glad I had the studs on.

Peter's site is worth reading he breaks down the studded tires. I got the Hakkapeliitta's, and I'm happy with them: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp

Another hazard: One day I was headed over to the American Museum of Natural History on my bike in January a few days after a snowfall. I live near Columbia University, so I took Central Park West as a straight shot down to 79th --- about two miles. In good weather, with clear streets, Central Park West has four lanes of traffic and a parking lane with a little "left over" that makes a bit of a bike lane. It's usually pretty easy, and I ride pretty fast. This day, there was slush, snow, and crud on the right hand side giving a little more than one lane in each direction. I found this lack of space frustrating. Some kids were at a bus stop, and I kind of looked at them and they looked at me. I thought, "Huh, that's weird." By the time I realized what was happening, I had already zipped by them in the slush: they were making snowballs to hit me. I was way out of range thanks to the studded tires.

Just be aware that there are extra hazards in winter.

I too had an amusing encounter with some little kids one icy day wihen I was riding without studs. I had been navigating well without them when I hit a small uphill where the kids were playing with their sleds. I didn't have enough traction to get up the hill, so I stood on the pedals and spun as fast as I could. I wasn't making any foreward progress at all. It looked like I was on a stationary bike, spinning for all I was worth. I must have looked pretty funny because those kids were rolling around in the snow laughing at me.

As for Peter White's advice, I agree. I usually install my studded tires on Election Dy and remove them on Tax Day.
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Old 09-05-11, 09:18 AM   #21
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Down here Studded tires go on around Christmas and come off by Valentines Day If I bother with them at all.

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Old 09-05-11, 07:14 PM   #22
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Hang on a second now.

1) getting really well acquainted with public transportation for those winter days when you don't feel like riding.
2) understanding what's available in terms of Zip cars or rentals.
3) figuring out inter-urban bus or train possibilities.
Agreed.

Boston has excellent public transit so there may not be a need to become a full time bicycle commuter. Print out the bus or rail schedules and have them near your desk for easy access. I make portable 12 hour schedules and carry them with me so I know the bus and rail schedules from my home and office.

Also, if you don't know how to play the market, stay out! I believe we are going into a recession or are already there. Everyone at work lost 30% of their 401K portfolio and who knows when they are going to get their money back.
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Old 09-06-11, 12:49 PM   #23
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Studded tires are mandatory in any area where the roads are colder than freezing temperatures.
Disagree - I lived and commuted in Maine for many years. Although studded tires do make a difference, I am still not convinced that they are worth it for the few days per year where there is enough ice on the road to warrant them. In most places where there is frequent snowfall, they are pretty good at clearing the roads, and if there is not frequent snowfall, why do you want studs?

I kept a good all-around tire on my regular commute bike, and also had one bike with studded tires, but to be honest, even when there was snow, I would often choose the regular commute bike with 700C28 Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires over the beast with studs....
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Old 09-07-11, 12:28 AM   #24
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if there is not frequent snowfall, why do you want studs?
For the built up ice that stays on the road, and more importantly black ice which you can't see until you are on top of it.
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Old 09-07-11, 03:01 AM   #25
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Decided a Specialized Allez was enough. Its been three weeks now, I hardly notice its gone.

Its a shame to let such a pretty car go, I'd grown attached to it, but I'm loving the extra 20k in investments I have now! Not to mention the cancellation of my gym membership and insurance policy.

Now let's just hope I can make it through the Boston winter. I think I need a mountain bike. Any suggestions on good snow tires?






Keep topping up your investment account with what you would have otherwise spent running the car minus what you spend on cycling and in a fairly short time that initial 20K will seem like chickenfeed.
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