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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 01-07-14, 10:37 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Front suspension was a god-send to mountain biking. The front suspension doesn't just offer comfort...that's actually a minor point of using it...it offered more control, especially with ruts. The side of the tire could find something to bite and the shock let the wheel climb out of ruts without having to steer out of them. You could also "pogo" the wheel out of the rut to the surface above it and climb out that way. If you are going to ride anything that is rutted, a front shock will help with control.
My front shocks, in the winter, "freeze" up so this suggestion wouldn't work for me. Are there any front shocks that don't "freeze" up in the cold?
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Old 01-07-14, 11:57 AM   #27
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Suspension corrected length steel forks dont change with the temperature..
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Old 01-07-14, 12:03 PM   #28
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Coil front forks work great in the cold.
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Old 01-07-14, 05:49 PM   #29
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My front shocks, in the winter, "freeze" up so this suggestion wouldn't work for me. Are there any front shocks that don't "freeze" up in the cold?
Coil forks or air forks work well for me. I replaced the elastomers in a Manitou fork with X-vert springs a long time ago and those worked really well. All of my suspended bikes now have Fox forks which work very well down to around 10F. I don't know how well they work below that temperature because I don't work well below that
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Old 01-08-14, 08:25 AM   #30
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Get a used mt bike and run 26x2.1 to 2.3 studded tires. Get them to plow it. They do in the Boston MA area.
Get them to plow? Boston must be much more responsive the needs of cyclists than Indianapolis! Get them to plow... lol
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Old 01-08-14, 08:54 AM   #31
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^^^^ Be the squeaky wheel. The Minuteman Bikepath gets used year round. Does your area have any bike advocacy groups? City based bike/ pedestrian departments ? Those politicians love good, green public relations.

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Old 01-08-14, 09:44 AM   #32
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The wider the tire the better it is at getting out of or going over ruts. The ruts may be all different widths if there are ruts made by other bikes.

I ride an off road paved bike path fairly often. It gets deep frozen footprints and plenty of ruts made by different width bike tires, and turns to rock hard ice. As I use my new 2.35 Schwalbe Ice spiker pro tires I notice the different even from my Nokia 2.25 tires. the wider tire does not drop into narrower ruts and goes over some, and climbs out better than narrower tires. Close to 400 studs and studs on the edge of the tread help too.

That does not mean it will never toss me over by suddenly going into a deep rut going at the wrong angle. In the woods, and on the bike path, I can lose control and get caught in a rut that will knock me over. It is extremely rare now for me, put it could happen. But there are no cars to run me over.

Been doing this for a few decades. The car tire ruts in hard ice next to traffic can still toss you in front of a car. Reducing the chances of this happening is the best you can do. You can't guarantee that conditions will never grab your tire and toss you into traffic. Some soft slush can do the same thing even with studded tires.

The only way to eliminate the risk of falling into traffic is to only ride when the ground conditions have no hard ruts, or soft slush. Even that does not totally eliminate the risk, but it's the best improvement possible.
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Old 01-08-14, 11:15 AM   #33
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Get them to plow? Boston must be much more responsive the needs of cyclists than Indianapolis! Get them to plow... lol
In Columbus, a very similar city to Indianapolis in size and culture, etc. the main bike path into downtown gets plowed immediately. Several years ago the county wide metroparks organization took over trail maintenance from the city and they do a fantastic job. When the city was doing the job, if they plowed at all, it was after the ruts were frozen and so had minimal effect. I often email metroparks to let them know their plowing is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-08-14, 01:09 PM   #34
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In Columbus, a very similar city to Indianapolis in size and culture, etc. the main bike path into downtown gets plowed immediately. Several years ago the county wide metroparks organization took over trail maintenance from the city and they do a fantastic job. When the city was doing the job, if they plowed at all, it was after the ruts were frozen and so had minimal effect. I often email metroparks to let them know their plowing is greatly appreciated.
Damn, I grew up in Columbus, should have stayed! To their credit, DPW salts the main trail into downtown which is a mixed blessing
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Old 01-09-14, 07:40 AM   #35
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^^^^ Be the squeaky wheel. The Minuteman Bikepath gets used year round. Does your area have any bike advocacy groups? City based bike/ pedestrian departments ? Those politicians love good, green pubic relations.
Squeaky wheel... I'm pretty sure the dept of public works has a picture of me on their wall that they use as a dart board! Indy has a great bike advocacy community and a sympathetic mayor. But it's still nascent particularly around commuting. Changing my tires is a lot faster than changing the system!
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Old 01-09-14, 09:06 AM   #36
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On the plus side, you'll only *need* to replace the front tire -- I think that's what Michael was driving at. The rear wheel just follows the front after you've climbed out of the rut.
A potential problem with having mismatched tires is that the rear tire with less traction may follow the rut instead of the front tire causing the back of the bike to kick sideways. Eventually the back tire will get at enough of an angle to climb out of the rut using the center studs, but by that makes staying upright a whole lot more difficult. Not a big deal on a single rut, but if you have a long series of ruts you end up fighting the bike as the back tire slips from rut to rut.
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Old 01-10-14, 08:57 AM   #37
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A potential problem with having mismatched tires is that the rear tire with less traction may follow the rut instead of the front tire causing the back of the bike to kick sideways. Eventually the back tire will get at enough of an angle to climb out of the rut using the center studs, but by that makes staying upright a whole lot more difficult. Not a big deal on a single rut, but if you have a long series of ruts you end up fighting the bike as the back tire slips from rut to rut.
Oh great, now you tell me?! Kidding - I know this is a possibility but firstly, I'm not 100% sure side studs are the answer (and buying one tire is cheaper to experiment) and secondly, I can handle rear end swing outs - FAR less scary then front end!!
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Old 01-10-14, 01:51 PM   #38
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I here you about rear tire slide out. We had the rear tire slid out on our mtb tandem two weeks ago at 20 mph. Felt like a bob sled team sliding down the road on our side. We where lucky that nether of use got hurt. I bought ice spiker tires, what a differance, double the studs from our other tires.
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Old 01-10-14, 04:53 PM   #39
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I have 26x 2.125 tires on my cruiser. I've been riding with them a little softer than normal. It's mostly worked just fine.

I still prefer riding on something unplowed over rutted. I'll just get off and walk. Each time I've nearly taken a tumble has involved one of those evil ruts made of walked on snow.
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Old 01-10-14, 05:00 PM   #40
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Oh great, now you tell me?! Kidding - I know this is a possibility but firstly, I'm not 100% sure side studs are the answer (and buying one tire is cheaper to experiment) and secondly, I can handle rear end swing outs - FAR less scary then front end!!
I took my Marathon Winters out again today and found a really rough alley parking lot/drive way through the front lot of a plant nursery that is closed for the winter. Numerous deep, criss-cross ruts mixed with an assortment of hard pack and soft snow. Finally forced a rear end washout when I couldn't make the jump between ruts. It was low speed as I was fighting a lot of snow that was softening in the 28F temps we had today. I've pushed these tires really hard and this was the only wipe out I accomplished, and it was more a loss of momentum is soft, rough, fairly deep snow, than any fault of the tire. I don't think anything short of a fat bike could have navigated that section successfully.
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Old 01-10-14, 05:14 PM   #41
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I took my Marathon Winters out again today and found a really rough alley parking lot/drive way through the front lot of a plant nursery that is closed for the winter. Numerous deep, criss-cross ruts mixed with an assortment of hard pack and soft snow. Finally forced a rear end washout when I couldn't make the jump between ruts. It was low speed as I was fighting a lot of snow that was softening in the 28F temps we had today. I've pushed these tires really hard and this was the only wipe out I accomplished, and it was more a loss of momentum is soft, rough, fairly deep snow, than any fault of the tire. I don't think anything short of a fat bike could have navigated that section successfully.
That's encouraging - thanks! I only wish mine would come already. I really could nhave used them this morning!
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Old 01-26-14, 07:57 AM   #42
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I figured I should report back on my experience. I've been riding now for a couple weeks with Schwalbe Marathon Winter on the front and W106 in the back. It's a huge improvement. I admit I've not ridden the kinds of rutted streets that caused me to start this thread but have had plenty of uneven frozen trail to ride plus snow and the Marathon up front feels much more stable in uneven ice. I can definitely tell when the side studs grab in a situation where the 106's would have let me keep sliding. Thanks for everyone's input!
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Old 02-11-14, 07:31 AM   #43
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I commute daily on an mup that rarely gets plowed but does get salted. Problem with that is unless they salt before I leave in the a.m. (rarely) it's 10 miles of frozen ruts. I run Nokkian w106's this time of year but the ruts scare the crap outta me. I'm enamored with fat tire bikes but really don't have the money or space for another bike. Any suggestions?
Since nobody's mentioned this alternative, for completeness I'll add the Nokian W240 to the list of tires known to help with frozen ruts. Studs where you need 'em, plus an aggressive tread. Peter White has a useful summary of studded bicycle tires that discusses the rut problem.

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Old 02-11-14, 09:42 PM   #44
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Since nobody's mentioned this alternative, for completeness I'll add the Nokian W240 to the list of tires known to help with frozen ruts. Studs where you need 'em, plus an aggressive tread. Peter White has a useful summary of studded bicycle tires that discusses the rut problem.
I rolled recently on some of those and have to agree. They're not the fastest rollers but they're also not designed to be. I did not have any problems with any slippage whatsoever. There were a few times I started to brace for a fall when taking a corner (just expecting this I guess) only to track smoothly right through it. Most of my commute was via MUP but I did have some areas on the roads that had ruts. I am sold on these tires. I only get to use them several times per winter but they have been worth the investment. I relied heavily on Peter White's recommendation of these.

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Old 02-11-14, 10:40 PM   #45
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At first I thought the thread title was "riding with frozen nuts"

At least you knew they were frozen ruts. I rode onto those ruts on the side of streets thinking they were soft snow, only to have my wheels trapped between the hard ruts.
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Old 02-12-14, 08:41 AM   #46
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At first I thought the thread title was "riding with frozen nuts"
or maybe "nuts riding ruts?"
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Old 02-21-14, 11:20 PM   #47
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Since nobody's mentioned this alternative, for completeness I'll add the Nokian W240 to the list of tires known to help with frozen ruts. Studs where you need 'em, plus an aggressive tread. Peter White has a useful summary of studded bicycle tires that discusses the rut problem.

rod
I've been riding those this winter. They're great. They're heavy and slow. But they go whereever I want to go, or at least everywhere I can peddle hard enough to -- I slogged through 8 inch deep heavy wet snow, and they went, but I ran out of steam after a couple blocks. On ice, hard pack, etc they're great. Slush sucks, but I don't think there's anything that makes it suck less.
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Old 02-24-14, 01:08 PM   #48
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I'm riding Dillinger studded fat tires and still hate ruts. It all depends on the width and depth of the rut hiding under the new snow layer on how your bike handles the situation. Since so many folks enjoy the fat tire bikes here, ruts are large enough to capture a fat tire. I have to say the Dillinger's are really expensive but since I crashed last fall and broke my shoulder bone, the extra dough seems worth it.
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