I live in a Minneapolis suburb - recently bought some cold weather gear to get out in our relatively mild winter. The paved roads have plenty of leftover sand/salt on the shoulder - the street cleaner road sweepers will not be out for another 3-4 weeks. I have been riding my old Trek mountain bike with 2.125 knobbies - some cool dry days with no big problems with the sand. Last week I was passed by several roadies. I have been itching to get my 05 Allez Elite out of the house and off the trainer, but I am pretty tentative about all that sand on the road. Am I being too paranoid about the narrow road tires? I generally ride on the wide shoulders of the bike lanes where most of the sand ends up and pretty much stay out of the traffic lane - especially on the late afternoon rush hour when I can get out after work. I have only been riding the road bike since last fall and stopped riding outdoors then when it got cold. I have been enjoying the cold weather now with the proper gear and getting out more - I don't have a job where I could commute, but I would love to. Any advice on the sand/pavement and narrow road tires? Thanks!
Bruce Gordon BLT, Cannondale parts bike, Ecodyne recumbent trike, Counterpoint Opus 2, miyata 1000
The salt helps the sand stick to your tires and bike parts. A simple rinse with a garden hose after each ride will help make the bike last longer. Slightly knobby skinney tires might help. Have you had any traction problems? I rode in conditions like that for years. I would look well ahead and do most of my turning and braking in clean areas.
I think that there is a lot of crud that could be out there besides salt and sand, and you wouldn't know it until you were changing your tire. You might want to think also about what the detritis is doing to your drive train. I was replacing the whole thing every year, until I changed to a single speed, for the winter.
A simple rinse with a garden hose after each ride will help make the bike last longer.
Oh, Ken, this is Minnesota. If we use a garden hose, the water'll freeze like a popsicle, halfway to the bike. If we want our machine clean, we have to take it inside and give it a sauna and a rub down.
Which is what you need to do. Regularly. I hold my 'nice' road bike indoors until the streets are pretty well clear of that garbage. That grit and glass do horrible things. My 'cross bike, with wider tires and top tube mounted cables is my steed for the in-between.
I hold my 'nice' road bike indoors until the streets are pretty well clear of that garbage. That grit and glass do horrible things. My 'cross bike, with wider tires and top tube mounted cables is my steed for the in-between.
Thanks for the replies - I think I will take the road bike out after the streets are cleaned and keep riding my mtn bike in the meantime. That is in need of a good overhaul anyway so I'll keep that in the slop for now. We have had over 20" of snow since Monday, but the roads are pretty clear - won't last long. I am thinking of trying studded tires next winter - they sound like they handle ice and hard slush pretty well. Stevoreno