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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 06-04-06, 03:53 AM   #1
Cosmoline
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Ice Ice Baby, in Anchorage

I've got an Electra Rat Rod I'm converting into an all season utility bike. I'd like to keep riding it in the winter months, as most of the time it's not below zero. The cold is nothing new to me, I've worked in forty below temps. What worries me is *ICE* This city has a ton of it esp. after mid December. It gets many inches thick on the bike trails and is often covered with oil and grease. I figure on getting studs for the rat rod and keeping PSI low, but what chance is there of actually being able to ride on a bumpy, uneven ice rink for miles on end without breaking my neck? Should I wear heavy boots with spikes and use them as training wheels? Should I just put on training wheels?
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Old 06-06-06, 06:06 PM   #2
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I've found that keping my speed up and just leting it rip works pretty well on rough ice. I used to pick my way along, but found it was more fun at speed. If you "post" (ride out of the saddle), it helps with the bumps. Smooth ice, on the other hand is wonderful and dreamlike to ride on.

I miss winter.

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Old 06-09-06, 03:01 AM   #3
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What about ice at an angle? Much of it builds up in berms by the sides of the roads and on the sidewalks. Is there a trick to riding along side a slope of ice or do you just avoid it?
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Old 06-09-06, 08:27 AM   #4
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Studded tyres. They don't prevent wipe-outs, but they do give you more margin for error.

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Old 06-09-06, 07:09 PM   #5
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Yeah, I plan on getting extra wide studded tires. I guess I'll just have to wear a lot of football padding.
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Old 06-10-06, 07:11 AM   #6
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Are these rough, boulder-like ice berms or smooth ones? If they are smooth, just follow the contour a bit and ride over them. Riding on ice with studs is really fun and easy. I'd be delighted if they stopped using salt and had more ice in the winter.

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Old 06-10-06, 12:38 PM   #7
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Nokian studded tires work great, I haven't had any problems with slipping sideways, they have studs in to the sides of the tires as well as in the center of the tread. The grip is amazing. I live in Palmer. The more ice there is, the better they seem to do. It is always good to remember that you may be cruizing along great with the studds, then you stop and put your foot down and splat, you're on the ground because you're on glare ice and you have no studs on your shoes. A lot of people use Yak Traks on their shoes for this reason. Just know also, anything but ice and hardpacked snow is way more difficult to ride through. Good luck!
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Old 06-10-06, 07:22 PM   #8
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Are studded tires extra strong when it comes to punctures? I find in the winter months, trails and the sides of streets often get littered with nails and glass shards, and it's a pain in the butt when you're constantly getting punctures too.

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Old 06-10-06, 07:56 PM   #9
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I use Nokian Hakapilita W-106 for winter tires. I have never had a flat with them. I would consider them more puncture resistant than Specialized Armadillos, but probably inferior to Schwalbe Marathon Plus.

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Old 06-10-06, 08:07 PM   #10
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Cosmoline - I used to live in Anchorage and just moved back to Minnesota. I commuted and rode some ice. PM me if you want some specific tips, but I rode Schwalbe Ice Spikers (heavy but good). No problems with the bumps and uneven surfaces, but you need to lower your expectations - you won't set record times and getting there with out falling is the goal. Get some good lights if you are riding in the dark. PM me if you want more specifics. Also, sign on with Trail Watch if you have the time and motivation.

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Old 06-13-06, 04:51 PM   #11
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Thanks for that advice!
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Old 06-13-06, 07:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmoline
I've got an Electra Rat Rod I'm converting into an all season utility bike. I'd like to keep riding it in the winter months, as most of the time it's not below zero. The cold is nothing new to me, I've worked in forty below temps. What worries me is *ICE* This city has a ton of it esp. after mid December. It gets many inches thick on the bike trails and is often covered with oil and grease. I figure on getting studs for the rat rod and keeping PSI low, but what chance is there of actually being able to ride on a bumpy, uneven ice rink for miles on end without breaking my neck? Should I wear heavy boots with spikes and use them as training wheels? Should I just put on training wheels?

With good studded tires riding on bumpy ice is about like riding on dirt. If the ice is flat like an ice rink it's almost like pavement when the studs are new and you have the right tires. I can bank a little, slam on the brakes and do wheelies on flat cold ice. Colder is better traction with studs.

Using an old mountain bike and Nokian studded tires I ride on uneven bumpy ice for miles on end every winter. At least 25 miles at a time, maybe more. I have not fallen in ice or snow in years. I used to ride a motorcycle in the snow 30 years ago. We made our own studded tires.
The studs are no help in snow without ice.

Ruts in the road that are almost parallel to your direction of travel and are deep enough will toss you off. Not because it's ice, the tires work great, it's like getting a tire caught in a railroad crossing groove, just because it's a rut. I don't ride in the road if there are a lot of ruts, I go on trails and paths that have lots of frozen footprints about 3" deep. I just ride over them slowly if they are huge.

I use 25 psi in the tires and front suspension and a suspension seat post to go a few miles it's so bumpy. It's bumpier than anything else you can ride on. I had to buy a suspension seat post to go more than 1/2 mile.

Does your bike have gears? Low gears are a big help. Low gears are needed for miles of deep snow.
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