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How many inches?

Old 01-12-24, 10:34 AM
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How many inches?

How many inches of snow does it take to stop you from unpowered bike riding.
Seven inches today near Chicago, rode with studded tires , not far but rode!

gm
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Old 01-12-24, 10:50 AM
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0.1". Or any ice.

edit: I gave up hating an indoor trainer, too. Mine has a good 2 window view now.
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Old 01-12-24, 11:14 AM
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Lot's of variables here, it's not just about how much snow.. It depends on what type of snow. Fresh powder snow is a lot easier to ride through than heavy wet sticky snow. Traffic snow can also be hard to ride through. The type of tires you have also makes a big difference. Some tires grip well and others just slide all over the place. Gearing ratio also makes a big difference on how many inches of snow you can ride through. I don't bring tape measure with me on my rides so I can't tell you exactly how many inches.
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Old 01-12-24, 12:53 PM
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i dont get my rocksalts off riding in snow. 000.00"
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Old 01-12-24, 12:55 PM
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I live in Tucson, my minimum riding temp is 60ish now.
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Old 01-12-24, 12:57 PM
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I haven't seen snow in decades but even when I was young and crazy and living in the snowbelt I avoided riding in it.

But I admire the rugged commuters who do.
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Old 01-12-24, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
Lot's of variables here, it's not just about how much snow.. It depends on what type of snow. Fresh powder snow is a lot easier to ride through than heavy wet sticky snow. Traffic snow can also be hard to ride through. The type of tires you have also makes a big difference. Some tires grip well and others just slide all over the place. Gearing ratio also makes a big difference on how many inches of snow you can ride through. I don't bring tape measure with me on my rides so I can't tell you exactly how many inches.
+1 Tires - there's grip. There's tire type. More grip - almost always better. Less air pressure - almost always better (as long as those wheels get you there reliably with only acceptable damage. Tire width? Now that one varies a lot. Depends on the snow, amount, type and even the age of the snow and time of day. Sometimes you want all the width you can get to not sink in. Other times narrowish tires cut through the snow to the pavement.

And the big variable here - how strong is the rider and how important is the ride? As a young man, I didn't drive and didn't have access to mass transit that could get me there faster than on bike. If I needed to go there, I rode. One winter in Boston, that ride was 12 miles each way. I had started racing and was told by the club vets to set my second bike up fix gear the summer before. Rode it with cyclocross tubulars and heavy, cheap rims. Simply dropped the pressure to whatever I needed. Very hard on the rims. By March they were irregular polygons but tubulars simply don't care.

And the rides? Mostly on plowed and lightly salted streets (1976 so less than now). Mostly wet pavement, soggy snow and soft ice but cold and hard did happen. On morning 6" of fresh snow. I was first one out and it was magic. Tires cut right to the road. Traction, good control and a wonderful silence. It continued to snow all day, warming some. Coming home was a different story! Hard! Like epic hard. Took everything I had to turn that big gear. (I actually geared higher in the winter as I learned very fast that the higher the gear, the easier controlling the bike in snow ans on ice was. Fewer crashes.) There was a two mile stretch of gentle downhill on a parkway that hadn't seen a lot of traffic and no plow. 10' of heavy NE snow except the tire width ruts of hardpack. I could stay upright as long as I could stay in the rut. Every time I needed an extra inch I crashed. Soft and wet crashes. No pain, no injury. Just wetter and heavier.

So, going into work that day was pure magic. A wonderful ride. And coming home was one of my really hard rides! I had the perfect tires and wheels going in. I don't know to this day what would have served me better coming home. Wider would have been easier - probably but maybe it would have required pushing around more of that dense heavy stuff and I can't imagine the tires that would have done well on that 10" of heavy snow outside those ruts. A fat bike? Riding the 12 miles in on a fat bike? Certainly not the magic I saw. And riding up Boston/Brookline's Goddard Ave on a fatbike? Not my idea of fun.

The three unknowns of snow and ice. The conditions. The rider's conditioning. And the rider's willpower. (Will power, a blend of gumption and lack of smarts.)
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Old 01-12-24, 01:21 PM
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Im a 10 minute walk from work. Not worth getting bundled up for a ride. Just a casual walk.

I’ll go mountain biking as long as I’ve got enough grip that I can sort of climb. That’s maybe 3-4”. Once it melts and refreezes, that totally keeps me away.
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Old 01-12-24, 01:29 PM
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Thread moved from General to Winter.
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Old 01-12-24, 01:29 PM
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If there is snow in the morning, I won't head out on my bike. But when I'm riding home from work and the snow starts, I'll ride home.
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Old 01-16-24, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
Lot's of variables here, it's not just about how much snow.. It depends on what type of snow. Fresh powder snow is a lot easier to ride through than heavy wet sticky snow. Traffic snow can also be hard to ride through. The type of tires you have also makes a big difference. Some tires grip well and others just slide all over the place. Gearing ratio also makes a big difference on how many inches of snow you can ride through. I don't bring tape measure with me on my rides so I can't tell you exactly how many inches.
Well said.

Not necessarily the depth, really, and more the nature of the snow and ice. Maybe a foot or two or so of fresh powder is an awful lot of fun on the creek path here in town. Actually fresh anywhere is fantastic, but there's also deep boot prints and snow shoe ruts that freeze in place, or multiple car tracks a foot deep and frozen solid, or the grey granular stuff that forms when too much mag chloride meets continual frigid temps. I think I hate washing out in that grey crap most of all. Ice storms are pretty great.

But that's just me and I only go ice riding for fun, and I firmly believe in confidence inspiring, condition-specific, studded tires and have several mounted, like Nokian Extremes and Hakas and M&Gs and Ice Spiker Pros.

Something I learned from experience early on was that fenders will save your derailleurs from freezing when it gets deep, and when it gets deep you really don't want to be limited to one gear. Well, not around here anyway.
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Old 01-18-24, 09:49 AM
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I guess 2"-3"

some preferences
  • ride bike at the beginning for the storm, then go home when it gets bad
  • wait for plowed & packed snow conditions on paved bike trails
  • avoid fresh powder over glare ice
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Old 01-19-24, 08:08 AM
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My Schwalbe studded tires don't do well with snow, so maybe an inch or two and then I quickly lose interest. A bigger factor these days is that even with an inch, it usually means they've salted the roads. The road spray from the cars will turn me off of riding before the snow will.
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Old 01-22-24, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MNBikeCommuter
A bigger factor these days is that even with an inch, it usually means they've salted the roads. The road spray from the cars will turn me off of riding before the snow will.
+1 that road slop is nasty. much prefer paved & plowed bike trails or forest trails, well away from the auto traffic & chemicals
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Old 01-23-24, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by gringomojado
… unpowered bike riding.
What exactly is that?

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