Am gearing up for my first winter biking experience. Have an early 1990's Trek 800 mtn bike that I'm going to appoint as my winter beater bike. One question: what kind of tires would be best for the icy, snowy roads in northern New England? I don't have any bike paths to ride on, I'd be mainly on paved back roads which are pock mocked and cratered from frost heaves and such. Would I wear down a pair of studded tires on the pavement? There would be black ice on the road from time to time, and snow after a storm, but b/c cars will be driving on the roads, I will probably be on bare pavement most of the time. Thanks!
Can you have two wheel sets? if it's 26" you should be able to pick up a second set of wheels for next to nothing (even if you have to pay $20 for another old bike). Then you could quickly swap wheels in the morning depending on conditions.
I found my studded tires (shwalbe snow studs) held up pretty good to bare pavement on my commutes, but I was for the most part on snow/ice and not the other way around.
I'm in Kansas. Even here there's enough ice that I went down last year, no injury but scary, which then dissuaded me from going out on days that would have otherwise been nice--subfreezing but beautiful. I had a three- layered kit, balaclava, goggles, serious-cold mittens, -25F-rated boots, plus bright flashing lights to keep cars at bay, but I was too old to risk slow-healing injuries, so intermittent ice really messed up my daily workout regimen, and it was frustrating.
I'm getting studs for a back-up set of wheels this time.
That's exactly what I do. Studded snow tires and a 14-27 cassette on one wheelset, road tires and a 12-23 cassette on the other.
Last year I rode my touring bike with a singe studded tire in the front, this year the Xtracycle is going to be the snow/slush bike. I just ordered the new shifters and brakes for it, once those are installed I will be looking around to order a set of Marathon Winters for my extra set of wheels. Then I will be set for winter. That way if it's looking bad I can ride the X, if it's nice I will take the Sherpa... Two bikes is even easier than two sets of wheels...