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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 01-10-05, 05:01 AM   #1
giorgios
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Riding through an ice patch?

This year I am riding outside during the Chicago winter season, as opposed to riding attached to my Cycleops. I purchased all the needed gear. I am fortunate to live one block from our eighteen mile long paved lakefront trail. It is treated like a street. It is plowed and salted as soon as it snows. Occasionally there will be ice patches a few feet long sometimes longer. I am experimenting on how to ride through theese patches also during the summer when it is windy there will be sand on the path. a) pick up a little speed and freewheel through with my pedals at 3 and 9 oclock and I shift my but all the way to the rear of my saddle or b) shift to a lower gear and "power my way through" any of you have this situation during theese cold months?
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Old 01-10-05, 05:16 AM   #2
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Yes, I run into unexpected ice all of the time. A lot of the roads around here are on low ground, like 1/10 of an inch higher than the the riverbank, and 1/10 of an inch higher than the flooded cow pasture on the other side. Snow melts onto the road, it rains, or whatever, and then ice appears.

There's not much to do, really. I just ride over it. Don't turn. Don't brake. If it's a longer section, I reduce my speed, and use a low gear to give myself some torque. (If I suddenly find myself on ice, and there's some way to go, I just let myself roll to a slow speed. Try not to use the brakes on ice.)

If there's not much snow on the ice, or the ice is thick and bumpy, I don't try to ride it. I get off and walk. If your front wheel gets knocked a little bit by a rock, an ice chunk, or a frozen tire track in those conditions, you're going down.
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Old 01-10-05, 06:55 AM   #3
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I suppose studded tyres would be an overkill in your situation? Like Merriwether said, try not to do much of anything. If you for some reason need to brake, do repeated, quick, short bursts of light braking and releasing. This will help you stay upright. In a tight spot I rather lock my rear wheel, let it fishtail to either side and take the bike down that way than lock both brakes and go down head first.

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Old 01-10-05, 07:52 AM   #4
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It depends on what you want to do, and how much you want to spend. If you want to ride all the time when it is icy you could get some studded tires and use them just when you think it is needed. Or do what I do, have another bike with the studded tires mounted, just take the other bike sometimes. That's the easiest way to ride as much as possible.

With the studded tires you might want to ride on some lakes.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 01-10-05 at 07:54 AM. Reason: incomplete
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Old 01-10-05, 12:55 PM   #5
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Just roll it out. When you're coming up on the ice identify a line through the ice (it may require that you flatten out a curve in the path, for example), approach a comfortable speed (not so slow that you're unstable but not too fast either--a fast walk is probably about right), and just coast through nice and light. Find a good balancing point so that your weight is about equal over the front and rear. Too much weight one end or the other and the opposite end will tend to walk around on you. If you have to make any corrections be it speed or direction, silky smooth is the rule.

Often times going around the ice in the off-path snow is a better option.
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Old 01-10-05, 01:05 PM   #6
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Unfortunately it takes practice in the school of hard falls. I fell a few times at the beginning of last winter. Usually you don't hurt yourself when you fall on ice. The worst that happened to me was bruised ribs that hurt for quit a while. By the middle of winter I wasn't falling any more. I did have to learn on my own because everyone just thinks it's crazy to be riding a bike out there!
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Old 01-10-05, 01:42 PM   #7
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Those are all great tips!

Reducing your tire pressure always helps.

Like they said just feeeeel your way into a turn and just let your bike flow with you and the ice, Nice and easy is the way to go.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:24 AM   #8
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Studded tires wear out quickly on bare cement/pavement. So if most of your trip will be on ice/snow then by all means get studded. But that doesn't sound like your situation. Otherwise as knobby as you can find.

I don't mind the ice patches too much if, like they said, you go straight (often I just coast through em) without breaking with your front wheel totally straight. (assuming the ground itself is reasonably level and the ice isn't too slippery) Along with the other great suggestions posted.

The two conditions to really worry about is bumpy ice and semicompact snow. Bumpy ice is bad because lateral movement is really hard to deal with on a slippery surface. So if really bumpy just get off and walk it. If semibumpy try to find a path where the outside edge of your tires won't hit the slope of some bump (causing lateral movement).

I avoid semicompact snow like the plague. Be careful around that stuff, I usually try to go around it or walk through it if I don't have cars behind me, (I mean the stuff I find on roads, might have something to do with gas/oil mixing in with it though) Its like bumpy ice except you can't see the layout of the bumps.

Last edited by Hobbes; 01-11-05 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 01-11-05, 07:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes
Studded tires wear out quickly on bare cement/pavement. So if most of your trip will be on ice/snow then by all means get studded. But that doesn't sound like your situation. Otherwise as knobby as you can find.
My Nokians have no visable wear on either studs or rubber, and they are in their second winter of mostly pavement riding.

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Old 01-11-05, 10:27 AM   #10
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Can anyone discuss this further? I think I know what you mean by semi-compact snow. Isn't ok with knobbies, slippery but managable? Thanks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes
I avoid semicompact snow like the plague. Be careful around that stuff, I usually try to go around it or walk through it if I don't have cars behind me, (I mean the stuff I find on roads, might have something to do with gas/oil mixing in with it though) Its like bumpy ice except you can't see the layout of the bumps.
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Old 01-11-05, 12:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes
Studded tires wear out quickly on bare cement/pavement. So if most of your trip will be on ice/snow then by all means get studded. But that doesn't sound like your situation. Otherwise as knobby as you can find.

I don't mind the ice patches too much if, like they said, you go straight (often I just coast through em) without breaking with your front wheel totally straight. (assuming the ground itself is reasonably level and the ice isn't too slippery) Along with the other great suggestions posted.

The two conditions to really worry about is bumpy ice and semicompact snow. Bumpy ice is bad because lateral movement is really hard to deal with on a slippery surface. So if really bumpy just get off and walk it. If semibumpy try to find a path where the outside edge of your tires won't hit the slope of some bump (causing lateral movement).

I avoid semicompact snow like the plague. Be careful around that stuff, I usually try to go around it or walk through it if I don't have cars behind me, (I mean the stuff I find on roads, might have something to do with gas/oil mixing in with it though) Its like bumpy ice except you can't see the layout of the bumps.
This sums it up about as well as possible.

I would like to add a couple of details. The inexpensive studded tires wear out easily in a year if you do much pavement. If you do about the same pavement miles, Nokians with Tungsten carbide studs, so far have gone four years for me. But, they are costly and may not go that long for you if you do a lot of pavement. If you do use Knobbies use a wide deep tread that will self clean a little because of the wide spaces. Also find a soft compound for ice it grabs a little better.

The most difficult thing is ruts frozen in ice going almost parallel to the way you are going this will instantly toss you in front of car with no trouble at all. Even with studded tires you can fishtail and move over a whole bike length. No good in traffic
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Old 01-11-05, 01:29 PM   #12
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You could always cram on your brakes and drift. Uber-style points.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:56 PM   #13
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I also live a block away from the lakefront. Isn't it great how they keep the trail maintained in the winter?

I don't know how I do it, but whenever I feel the skid, I lean away from the direction of the skid, and I can always save myself. I don't brake- I think braking makes it worse?

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Old 01-11-05, 03:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
I also live a block away from the lakefront. Isn't it great how they keep the trail maintained in the winter?

I don't know how I do it, but whenever I feel the skid, I lean away from the direction of the skid, and I can always save myself. I don't brake- I think braking makes it worse?

Koffee
Correct braking will make it worse. Your doing exactly the right thing.

You probably turn the bars a little into the direction of the skid too?
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Old 01-11-05, 03:46 PM   #15
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I can't remember. Mostly, I act on instinct. It works for me!

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Old 01-11-05, 03:58 PM   #16
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You got it right. Who's on the new avitar?
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Old 01-11-05, 04:07 PM   #17
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Rode through sum ice patches on bike path on way home from work and just powered through them.I have a mount and ground Nokian on the front and an IRC on the back.Just look ahead and no sudden movements , if clipped in you may want to unclip one or both feet.
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Old 01-11-05, 04:09 PM   #18
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You got it right. Who's on the new avitar?
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Old 01-11-05, 05:28 PM   #19
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Lena Horne!?!


No wonder she's a fabulous mysterious Avatar


Did you know she posts in the 50+ Forum?
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Old 01-11-05, 07:58 PM   #20
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Lena Horne

I like it.
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Old 01-12-05, 11:59 PM   #21
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Nokians with Tungsten carbide studs, so far have gone four years for me. But, they are costly and may not go that long for you if you do a lot of pavement.
How much do they typically cost?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manybikes
If you do use Knobbies use a wide deep tread that will self clean a little because of the wide spaces.
Yah, I got a back knobby tire with knobs spaced reasonably far apart and there is still the occasional situation where it gets nearly smooth via caked in snow. So far i've been impressed by the performance of my armadillo tires. I think I've had them a year so far. They say they're a little heavier but what does a half pound or even a pound matter when your wearing several times that in clothing alone.

Soft compound? How do you tell? Most tires seem to be equally hard to me.
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Old 01-13-05, 11:29 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes
How much do they typically cost?


Yah, I got a back knobby tire with knobs spaced reasonably far apart and there is still the occasional situation where it gets nearly smooth via caked in snow. So far i've been impressed by the performance of my armadillo tires. I think I've had them a year so far. They say they're a little heavier but what does a half pound or even a pound matter when your wearing several times that in clothing alone.

Soft compound? How do you tell? Most tires seem to be equally hard to me.
If you go to the Nokian web sight you can see the different models. I have the "Extreme 296" it is a MTB tire 26 x 2.2 maybe. Four years ago they were about $85 per tire. I have noticed that the tires I wear out faster actually feel a little softer to me. I know the tire manufacturers have a good handle on this. There is a rating scale, I can't remember the details. Car tires actually have a code printed on the tire.
Anyone out there have a better answer? ...

Some bike tires are actually advertised as being soft for good traction. But they wear quicker
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Old 01-13-05, 02:14 PM   #23
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Nashbar makes a decent pair of studded tires (either 26" or 700C) according to this review (http://icebike.com/Equipment/nashbar700c.htm).

I've been wanting to get some but doesn't look like it'll snow in MD this winter :-( I asked about these tires in an earlier post and people who'd used them said they were not junk, worked well and a lot cheaper than Nokians.
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Old 01-13-05, 02:27 PM   #24
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How much are Nokians? I paid for a pair of Nokian Hakkapelitta W106s, $107 including shipping off ebay.
It was either them or a indoor trainer, easy choice.
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Old 01-13-05, 04:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
Nashbar makes a decent pair of studded tires (either 26" or 700C) according to this review (http://icebike.com/Equipment/nashbar700c.htm).

I've been wanting to get some but doesn't look like it'll snow in MD this winter :-( I asked about these tires in an earlier post and people who'd used them said they were not junk, worked well and a lot cheaper than Nokians.
I'm having trouble getting to the link today. It depends on the studs. Maybe you can benefit from my mistake. I bought a pair of IRC blizzard tires. They have steel studs that are very long. but not too many.
112 I think.
When they were new the were fantastic. They wore out completely in one winter with just a little pavement riding to get to the snow and ice sometimes. They were $50 each or $100 for one year.

I tried Nokian studs in the Blizzards, but the pocket for the studs is different and they don't stick out much. Then I bought the Nokians (296 studs), $85 each. They are now in their fourth (4th) year and have more pavement miles on them per season than the IRC's did. I measured the used studs in the tires against some new leftovers from the studding project. The studs are not wearing out. The rubber behind the studs is wearing a few thousands. But the handling had not been affected yet. The studs are Tungsten carbide in the Nokians, That's the reason they last. So $85 x 2 = $170 divided by four years= $42.50 a year. But still going strong. They have a couple of 30 to 60 mile pavement rides on them.
If you like winter riding which will be enhanced by studded tires, the Nokians could end up being half as much to use over a years time.

If the Nashbar tires have Tungsten carbide studs they should advertise it, it's a selling point, it will help sell tires. I would have to assume if it does not say Tungsten Carbide, the studs are steel. Depending on the design of the tire you may, or may not be able to replace, or get, replacement studs. Worth asking before you buy some tires. If the studs are steel, and the replacements are available and cheap it might be a good deal. I did not find replacement studs for the IRC Blizzards. Or any others except Nokian.

Finally got to the link..the test was a few days I think, and it does not say what the studs are. I would have to say they are steel.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 01-13-05 at 04:48 PM. Reason: incomplete
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