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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 02-08-05, 08:29 PM   #1
CommuterKat
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Crashed...again...

So, I am finally back on my bike after crashing for the second time this winter...grr...
The first time, I did a face plant going down a hill and ended up with a knee cap that was chipped in two places that still hurts when I kneel down (crash was back in November...)
The second time was the day after New Years and I ended up taking a fun ride in an ambulance up to our local hospital only to discover that I had a seperated tendon in my back and a potantially (??) fractured vertebrae. (never did find out if it was a fracture or not...strange...)

So, when does all this dang ice and snow go away so I can actually go out an ride my bike for real????
I envy all of you who enjoy this winter riding, or who don't get the type of winters we get up north and can ride without the fear of black ice stealing the road out from under our tires.

Ok, ok, I'll stop whining now...
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Old 02-08-05, 08:42 PM   #2
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Black ice, especially when bicycling after dark, is certainly dangerous.

If this is a common problem for you, and it would seem like it is, I'd check out some studded tires, something like the Nokian Hakk 106's. Plus: They are absolutely fantastic on ice and will give you a feeling of confidence. Minus: they are SLOW, and you may not be able to put them on your road bike, depending on fork width.

There's a good illustration here:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp

It's not that everybody needs studded tires in the winter. They don't. But I find them reassuring, particularly when I'm out after dark when its hard to see black ice -- or I can see it, but I think it's just wet, not frozen.
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Old 02-08-05, 08:55 PM   #3
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I really think you should get Nokians. Black ice is a wonderful riding surface with them and a lousy one without.

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Old 02-08-05, 11:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterKat
So, I am finally back on my bike after crashing for the second time this winter...grr...
The first time, I did a face plant going down a hill and ended up with a knee cap that was chipped in two places that still hurts when I kneel down (crash was back in November...)
The second time was the day after New Years and I ended up taking a fun ride in an ambulance up to our local hospital only to discover that I had a seperated tendon in my back and a potantially (??) fractured vertebrae. (never did find out if it was a fracture or not...strange...)

So, when does all this dang ice and snow go away so I can actually go out an ride my bike for real????
I envy all of you who enjoy this winter riding, or who don't get the type of winters we get up north and can ride without the fear of black ice stealing the road out from under our tires.

Ok, ok, I'll stop whining now...
Youch. Yeah falling is not fun. I'd say studded tires are definately in your future
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Old 02-08-05, 11:21 PM   #5
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But on a day like today, where only portions of my ride had any ice at all, I just can't justify putting them back on. Yeah, I did take a tumble, but I was ready for it, and the bike just slid out from under me. I walked the bike over the rest of the ice, and got of the damn Greenway. They do plow, but don't sand or salt, good and bad. I just don't think the 10 yards of unavoidable ice in a 15 mile commute warrants the Nokians. I may rethink this tonight for tomorrow's commute.
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Old 02-09-05, 07:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by naisme
But on a day like today, where only portions of my ride had any ice at all, I just can't justify putting them back on. Yeah, I did take a tumble, but I was ready for it, and the bike just slid out from under me. ... I just don't think the 10 yards of unavoidable ice in a 15 mile commute warrants the Nokians. I may rethink this tonight for tomorrow's commute.
That's the essential tradeoff issue: when is it bad enough? No easy answers, especially with a long commute that's undoubtedly faster without the studs.

For me, the question would be whether I knew where the 10 yards of ice were, or whether they were going to be a surprise.

When I first got them, they were either "on" or "off" the winter bike. Then I got a second wheelset and could swap the studded tires more easily. This winter I put the studded tires on an old Schwinn Frontier (a mountain bike with no suspension), and make an instantaneous decision about what to ride that day.
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Old 02-09-05, 08:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by zbicyclist
That's the essential tradeoff issue: when is it bad enough? No easy answers, especially with a long commute that's undoubtedly faster without the studs.

For me, the question would be whether I knew where the 10 yards of ice were, or whether they were going to be a surprise.

When I first got them, they were either "on" or "off" the winter bike. Then I got a second wheelset and could swap the studded tires more easily. This winter I put the studded tires on an old Schwinn Frontier (a mountain bike with no suspension), and make an instantaneous decision about what to ride that day.
That's really the best answer. You can decide at the last minute what to ride. If you want to you can leave the studded tires on one bike all the time, and just use that bike for the ice. That way when you know it's clear, you don't put any extra wear on the studs too. I've been doing that for years, I never change those tires. The lack of wear on the clear days makes up a little for the days when it is mostly pavement and just a little ice. I suspect over five years it may actually be cheaper.
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Old 02-09-05, 08:40 AM   #8
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Kat, get studs if you're going to keep riding this winter! Believe me: I've been riding the trail north of Burlington and haven't had any trouble with ice at all. Get Nokians if you can. I got "cheaper" tires, and while they're still great on ice, the studs aren't as durable.

As for speed, yes, the knobby tires slow you down, but if you ride enough, you'll begin to get speed back. Think of it as training for summer!
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Old 02-09-05, 08:54 AM   #9
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a seperated tendon is not good. Did it completely seperate or partial. Be careful, heal up for the spring. It's coming
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Old 02-09-05, 10:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zbicyclist
When I first got them, they were either "on" or "off" the winter bike. Then I got a second wheelset and could swap the studded tires more easily.
Also, for most days, you'll only need the front studded tire. If you buy only a new front wheel, that will certainly make the swap very quick, and painless.

My first winter on the bike was sans studded tires. I ate it on black ice several times, and I was very lucky not to hurt myself to the extent where I would be off the bike for an extended amount of time. The next winter, I strapped on the studded tires (most days only require the front!), and life is so much better. Think of the expense as a VERY CHEAP insurance policy!
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Old 02-09-05, 10:38 AM   #11
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I just put the Nokian W106s on in December, take them off in March, and never think about it. My commute is just a 10 mile round trip, so the extra drag is no problem. Frankly, if it were not for the fact that the Schwalbes are so good, I'd consider riding them year-round just for the puncture resistance.

If the extra drag of the knobby tread bothers you, you well gain all the safety benefits with just a front tire. I do not notice any more diffuculty pedaling with just the front one mounted.

However, if you need to go up icy hills, you had best get two.

Paul
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Old 02-09-05, 10:53 AM   #12
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CommuterKat, if you don't already have one, I'd suggest getting a BMX helmet for icy runs. They keep your head warm and seem to protect better on hard crashes.

The newer BMX helmets come with lots of vents, and are actually alot lighter...like 2lbs or under.
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Old 02-10-05, 01:19 AM   #13
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It's not just what one rides on, but how one rides. I'm much slower in the winter, and more cautious, whenever I have to turn. Black ice is likely to form where cars sit idling, such as at intersections, so I slow down at any that I think might have a film of it. On the very rare occasion, when I've fallen, I haven't hurt myself, except, once, when riding quickly, without studs, on a frozen lake( and that was pretty stupid).
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Old 02-10-05, 02:39 AM   #14
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I agree, it sounds like you could use a pair of studded tyres. One additional good thing about the Nokians is the fact they're not too sensitive to riding on a bare pavement. The studs are quite durable.

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Old 02-10-05, 09:27 PM   #15
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I crashed the night before last night as result of an attacking dog despite the
use of studded tires. Fortunately my left leg was only slightly injured as a result
of the fall. Studded tires have greatly reduced the number of crashes but not
totally eliminated them.
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Old 02-10-05, 11:22 PM   #16
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ha ha yeah unless the studded tires actually rolled over the mutt...they're not much good in that sitch
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Old 02-11-05, 12:12 AM   #17
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I do have the two bike system in place, actually it's a three bike system for the winter, in the warmer months it's a whole different story, it turns into a mindf**k cause I have more than three bikes, and several sets of fixed wheelsets, and all sorts of frames, not to mention the roadies, the cross bikes, the tracks, the MTBs. I'm just glad I'm single and live alone, cause Mom would hav had a fit with my collection in her garage.
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Old 02-11-05, 10:33 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by naisme
I do have the two bike system in place, actually it's a three bike system for the winter, in the warmer months it's a whole different story, it turns into a mindf**k cause I have more than three bikes, and several sets of fixed wheelsets, and all sorts of frames, not to mention the roadies, the cross bikes, the tracks, the MTBs. I'm just glad I'm single and live alone, cause Mom would hav had a fit with my collection in her garage.

A bike for each different type of riding.
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Old 02-11-05, 10:36 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by naisme
I do have the two bike system in place, actually it's a three bike system for the winter, in the warmer months it's a whole different story, it turns into a mindf**k cause I have more than three bikes, and several sets of fixed wheelsets, and all sorts of frames, not to mention the roadies, the cross bikes, the tracks, the MTBs. I'm just glad I'm single and live alone, cause Mom would hav had a fit with my collection in her garage.
My wife never goes into the "bike shed". I'm not sure she's really aware that I own 7 complete rideable bikes plus a few partials that are being stripped and/or someday might turn into a homebuilt. I'm certainly not going to tell her.
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Old 02-23-05, 06:37 PM   #20
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I agree with most of the comment posted ...

Use different bikes for different conditions... In winter I use a mountain bike, for its lower center of gravity (not as far to fall).

After using studded tires I would not stop using them (no mater how expensive they are). I will even use my bike after an ice storm.. Great traction...
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Old 02-23-05, 07:22 PM   #21
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Me and my trusty mountain bike hit the path before sunrise Saturday morning..It was snowing---maybe two to three inches was already on the ground.
It was fun heading up the path with a 15 mile per hour wind at my back.
The ride back was a b****.
Let me preface this by saying, i had a mudder on the back and a semi-slick on the front....i didn't anticipate any problems, just slush. i thought.
It then turned to sleet and then just rain.
I must have swan-dived away from my bike at least three times... ...i kept drifting to the edge of the path.
my front tire kept getting caught between it and the snowy-gravel.
I gave myself a 9 for technique and landing.
after the third fall, i just started laughing.

Last edited by landrover; 02-23-05 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 02-25-05, 08:11 AM   #22
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i got about 300 miles so far on a set of Nashbar(Kendar) studded tires I got for 30each.. studs wont last as long, they aren't carbide, but I wanted to see how much I would really ride in the crap before investing big bux.. plus I just bought a new bike and didnt want to send that much on good studs for the old one etc.. Having studs is a world of difference in traction on black ice, and peace of mind(confidence)..No reason to risk going down, they are not that expensive when you look at the cost of medical attention etc.. I do most of my riding in the dark too and rather that watching for ice I can instead keep an eye out for deer, which kinda nice.. if one dont get ya the other will.. Check www.icebike.com for comparison of the studded options..
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