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My Wettest, Heaviest, Snow Commute so

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My Wettest, Heaviest, Snow Commute so

Old 01-28-24, 09:19 AM
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My Wettest, Heaviest, Snow Commute so

After a 20 year break, I returned to commuting in the snow back in 2015 with the purchase of a pair of 26x1.65 studded Suomi Nokian W106 snow and ice tires. Since then, I've ridden in everything...light powder, hard-packed snow, hard-packed ice, glare-ice, rime ice and wet, heavy snow.

I've determined my limit for snow is 3-inches, because any more than that and my speed is reduced too much to make the ride practical. That was certainly the case when my commute was 9-miles and 40-50 minutes uphill homeward. There were dark winter nights where it took almost 90 minutes to get home because of Ice or deep snow.

The 1.65" wide snow tires usually do a good job on snow, especially at low-pressure, either riding atop the snow, or cutting through to the pavement. But last Friday's ride was a bear!

I woke to 3 inches of wet, heavy snow and slush at 34F...just above freezing. Warm enough to enjoy the ride. I let the air out of the tires down to 30psi and took off. Immediately I could sense a problem. The tires cut through the snow to the pavement, but the snowy slush was so thick it slowed me to a crawl. I shunted over to some tire tracks, but they were either icy ruts, or just more densely packed slush.

I thought I may turn back, change into my office cloths and drive, but driving in slick conditions with other vehicles is too stressful. So I lowered my tires to 25psi and continued. Eventually I reached some wet, clear stretches of street where cars had worn the snow down, but no plowed streets. That's why it was so surprising to find the last leg of the MIxed Use Path by the office had been plowed (kudos, Colorado Springs!

A studded fat bike would have been better in these conditions, and I saw some fat-tire tracks at one of the parks I passed through.

The slush had caked on the wheels, spokes, brakes and drivetrain, but hadn't frozen. The incredible retrofit-V-brakes were working about 90% of normal, so only a little extra effort was needed. Shifting was fine also.

My average speed for the 6-mile ride to the office was only 7.1mph. With the studded tires inflated full on dry pavement it's usually 11.5mph average, and on my road bikes (including the 20-inch folder) I usuallyon the same bike with the summer smoothies it's 13mph, and on my lighter road bikes, including the 20-inch folder, I usually average about 14mph into work.

After I arrived at work I walked past the break room, where some called out..."Hey, Bob...did you ride today!?" to which I answered, "Yes, I did!" I work at a TV station and during the noon news I got a mention, on air which I added below.

And per usual, living in a dry climate at 6500' altitude, the snow had melted off the streets by the ride home.

Not bad for a 62-year-old on a 27-year-old bike.



Last edited by BobbyG; 01-28-24 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 01-29-24, 06:45 AM
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Here's the ride:
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Old 01-29-24, 06:59 AM
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I did a winter ride the other day and my biggest mistake was taking a dirt road at one point. My bike had a thick coating of sand and tiny pebbles firmly plastered onto everything and I had to wash it with snow from a snow bank before putting it back in my vehicle.
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Old 01-30-24, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by EDP
I did a winter ride the other day and my biggest mistake was taking a dirt road at one point. My bike had a thick coating of sand and tiny pebbles firmly plastered onto everything and I had to wash it with snow from a snow bank before putting it back in my vehicle.
...but still fun, I'm sure!
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