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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 10-31-06, 06:05 PM   #1
daredevil
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I want to keep riding but I don't know

I figured I would try to commute through the winter for the first time. We just got our first taste of winter weather. Temps in the single digits and snow packed and icy roads.

I went out briefly yesterday as a trial run and I'm just not sure I enjoy riding when my biggest concern is trying to stay upright. Plus I've had a couple hip replacements and don't want to fall if I can help it. How do you negotiate up hills when you have no traction? And I live in the mountains so hills are everywhere. Would studs do that much good? Or do you just walk part of the time?

I really want to do this but I'm not too confident at this point. Can somebody talk me into it?

I can handle the cold, that's not a concern.
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Old 10-31-06, 06:17 PM   #2
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And how about going clipless? That makes me a little nervous. Do you all continue with clipless on dicey roads or not?
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Old 10-31-06, 06:21 PM   #3
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With your hip you have legitimate health concerns here, so talking you into it may not be the best. That's for your doc.
Having said that, get studs. Nokians front and rear. Make certain that whatever you put on your feet has adequate purchase wherever you put them. LOTS of lights and reflective bits. Carry an extra layer and hat. Have a back-up plan. Keep up on maintenance. Then just get out there and do it. Recognize the difference here between discomfort and danger. Accept a little discomfort and just get out there and do it--again. Master it.
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Old 10-31-06, 06:23 PM   #4
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I run clipless year round. Clipless MTB shoes usually allow you to install two metal cleats in the toe for when you put your feet down (stops and such). It has only proven to be an issue in deep snow (for me).
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Old 10-31-06, 08:11 PM   #5
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I think that you may need to take extra precations with your hip because there is increased risk. But you can mitigate the dangers. The downhill bikers are using pads for crash protection. Why not a winter biker. I'm not sure if the downhill pelvic protectors have hip pads but if there is a lot of ice this would be something that I would want to look into.

Where I live the snow usually melts off the roads at least five or six days a week in the winter. But commuting is different because you don't have the option of changing your riding schedule. I would opt for the studded tires, flat pedals and crash protectors to start out and then change from there.

Check these out:
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/148...ded-Shorts.htm

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/121...ike-Shorts.htm
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Old 10-31-06, 08:59 PM   #6
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About falling, it's not like I haven't taken a dive before, it comes with the territory I guess. With winter cycling though, does a person just expect it to happen? If it's just a fact of life, I may want to rethink it. Is there anybody out there that hasn't taken a fall because of the conditions?
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Old 10-31-06, 09:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by daredevil

I really want to do this but I'm not too confident at this point. Can somebody talk me into it?
You are right about one thing. You aren't very confident at this point. Nobody that starts riding a bike on slick roads ever is, because it goes against everything we have learned. It's sort of like the first time some of us step on an airplane. It doesn't seem like the smartest thing to do, because we have learned that huge things like 737's can't fly, but of course they do.

Same applies with the bike. We assume that it would be assanine to be riding a bike on icey roads. It isn't. I understand that you may have special issues because of your hip. But you might want to consider this: On properly studded bike tires, you will be virtually completely safe on ice. They really are that good. If you try them you will be amazed.

Your biggest risk would be if you ever dismount the bike and try to walk on ice. I'm not going to tell you that their aren't treacherous road conditions in winter cycling, because there are. It takes some experience to learn what they are but i will try and help.

Smooth ice, is very safe with studded tires. Rutted ice with lots of snow is less safe. So anything in between behaves proportionally.
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Old 10-31-06, 09:48 PM   #8
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Falling down in summer is bad enough. Falling down from ice happens at about 3x the speed. Whenever ive gone down from ice on a corner, i'm on my side before i know it. With hip problems, id sign up for spinning classes and work on your strength training for the winter.
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Old 10-31-06, 10:08 PM   #9
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Falling down in summer is bad enough. Falling down from ice happens at about 3x the speed. Whenever ive gone down from ice on a corner, i'm on my side before i know it. With hip problems, id sign up for spinning classes and work on your strength training for the winter.
Point taken. Riding a trainer is what I've done every other winter. I just began commuting last March and I am so hooked, I don't want to stop if I can help it. I realize many days it will just be out of the question.

A question about the tires. From what I've read so far, I almost exclusively hear Nokias mentioned. My LBS has a pair of a different brand, do I not buy them? Are the Nokias that good?
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Old 10-31-06, 11:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by daredevil
A question about the tires. From what I've read so far, I almost exclusively hear Nokias mentioned. My LBS has a pair of a different brand, do I not buy them? Are the Nokias that good?
I haven't had the opportunity to use my Nokians yet, but here's how I arrived at my buying decision:

1) They're made in Finland. The Finns know bikes, and they know snow and ice.
2) I've read the same recommendations here.
3) I came across a comparison review on the web. I wish I had the URL. They rented a hockey rink for a day and tried-out seven or eight different studded snow tires. The Nokians came out on top.
4) In 700C size, the cost difference between the Nokians and other brands wasn't all that large, so I went with them.
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Old 10-31-06, 11:20 PM   #11
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One option is just to commute on the bike on rather good days when not so icy. The biggest thing that you have to get used to is you can't turn or lean into anything without slowing down to a snails pace because you can't always see black ice patches. In winter riding is an adventure that takes more time. You have to be more careful and ride slower except when the road is dry and clear.

In some rural areas it is better to commute on frozen back dirt roads or on hard packed snow trails. If you have hard packed snowmobile trails along the highway in winter these can be used and are sometimes safer than the road.
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Old 11-01-06, 09:13 AM   #12
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Studs make a huge difference in slippery conditions. I have run the Nashbar 700c studded tires which really don't have that many studs and light snow or icy conditions is no problem. Once the snow gets deep enough that the cars start rutting it up or they turn it into that brown sugar looking stuff then a narrow studded tire is not going to be effective. Something like a Nokian Extreme or a high flotation tire like and Endomorph or Gazzaloddi 3.0 on an extra wide will work in a wider variety of conditions at the expense of weight and speed.
I've commuted through 2 Cleveland winters (60"-100" snow yearly) and not had a fall on snow or ice yet.
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Old 11-01-06, 09:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daredevil
And how about going clipless? That makes me a little nervous. Do you all continue with clipless on dicey roads or not?
I run clipless year round. When conditions are really slick then I will sometimes clipout but I find I have better control if I stay clipped in. The biggest problem with clipless pedals is finding a way to keep you feet warm. I have used booties and wool socks in the past but this year I am upgrading to the Lake MXZ301 winter shoes. We'll see what kind of improvement it is.
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Old 11-01-06, 01:50 PM   #14
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I've commuted through 2 winters. First on cheap studded tires on my 700c hybrid. The studs wore out from the times the pavement was clear. Last winter I was on a new bike with 26" rims (purchased so I could use a wider range of tires) and Nokian Extremes. The Nokians use carbide tipped studs, so they last MUCH longer... they are expensive, but well worth it.

My only falls have been with the first set of studded tires after they were worn out... OK once I fell with the new setup, but it was because my tire grabbed the path pavement edge... it was very slow speed & into a huge snowdrift.

I rode the first winter with flat pedals & winter boots... when your tires aren't good if you go down it happens FAST... no time to react.

The Nokian Extremes are so good I've decided to go clipless this winter. Just need to get an appropriate set of shoes first.

It is WAY easier to ride in icy conditions with the Nokians than it is to WALK on icey sidewalks to the car.
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Old 11-01-06, 02:31 PM   #15
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I have Nashbar studded mountain bike tires. They are much more affordable than the Nokians. I paid $27 each for mine. I might be different, but i don't run my clipless in the ice. I prefer platforms when things get too hazardous.

I am entering my 4th winter of almost daily riding. I have crashed several times over the last several years, but i have NEVER crashed on ice with my studded tires. And i have ridden quite a few miles on said conditions.

I think to say that avoiding winter riding to avoid crashing and therefore to spare your hip is a bit presumptuous. As you already stated, crashes can happen at any time, not just in winter. I would almost go far enough to say that winter crashes are less likely because there is a greater tendancy to concentrate on every move.

You will have to ultimately decide if you want to ride or not, but I wouldn't let anyone talk you IN or OUT of riding this winter. Give it some study and then make up your mind. My opinion is that it is a very safe and fun activity. And I HATE my trainer.
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Old 11-01-06, 03:10 PM   #16
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Go for the Nokian tires - even under the worst conditions you will have good grip and therefore confidence during the ride. I didn't ride as much as Portis during ice and snow but I was working for some time in the nordic countries and most of the people there have their bikes equipped with them.
I also hate my trainer
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Old 11-01-06, 03:19 PM   #17
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I'm using studded tires for the first time this year, and they are great! Lots and lots of grip, haven't felt any kind of (involontary)slipping yet. They add a lot of resistance, but I counter that by running a low gear(fixed) and going slower. I use Nokian Extreme 294, they probably have more studs than needed but I got them so cheap I couldn't say no.
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Old 11-01-06, 03:23 PM   #18
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I'm using studded tires for the first time this year, and they are great! Lots and lots of grip, haven't felt any kind of (involontary)slipping yet. They add a lot of resistance, but I counter that by running a low gear(fixed) and going slower. I use Nokian Extreme 294, they probably have more studs than needed but I got them so cheap I couldn't say no.
So that brings up the next question. How much is cheap? I think I saw the 294's for about 100 bucks each. Where is the best price on em?
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Old 11-01-06, 03:27 PM   #19
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I saw them here for 69 USD
http://store.airbomb.com/ItemDesc.as...ogle&IC=TR1103
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Old 11-01-06, 06:23 PM   #20
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Now down to 63.92.
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Old 11-01-06, 06:37 PM   #21
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Save 20 bucks by chosing less studs.
I like using http://froogle.google.com/ for price searching

http://store.airbomb.com/ItemDesc.as...ogle&IC=TR1107
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Old 11-01-06, 11:42 PM   #22
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When it comes right down to it, I think that the possibility of a serious crash is even worse in the summer because you are likely going to be riding much faster and taking more chances due to feeling invincible.

The worst crash I've ever had was in perfect weather conditions.
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Old 11-01-06, 11:58 PM   #23
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Now down to 63.92.
With this drop in price - if you wait for one more day you should be able to get them for free...
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