Author Topic: First Snowfall + Increased Badassity over the past year = First Snowy Bike Ride  (Read 396 times)

YoungGranny

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About a year ago I stopped being a complainy-pants and started riding my bike to work occasionally. While I don't ride it everyday I've been getting better and better and the last few weeks have been able to maintain 3 days a week. We got our first snow last night (only a dusting but lets not subtract too many badass points ok?) So, this morning I set off on my very first ride in the snow. Did it take me an extra 5 minutes to get into the office day? Yes.

However, it was totally worth it when just now in the break-room a fellow employee I've never met (I work in an office with 2,000 people) asked if I was the woman he saw biking the other day. I replied "Yes, probably" and he said "Oh, well you didn't bike today right?" I, of course smiled and said "What? You didn't??" The look on his face and the other 5 people in the break-room easily made this ride my favorite one so far this year =D


This is mostly just motivation for other new bike riders. A year ago I hadn't biked more than 50 miles in the past decade. I was so nervous to bike into work and even thought that my route was not bikeable. So now that I proved to myself I can bike, I know you can too!

GnomeErcy

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I'll be honest, biking in the snow (well in particular on the ice) scares me - kudos! Definitely earns some badass points, even if it WAS just a light dusting :) :)

Syonyk

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Studded snow tires for bicycles exist.

They last years if you put them on when it starts getting snowy and take them off in the spring.

Get the ones with proper carbide studs - they're more expensive than steel studs, but last a lot longer (4-5 winters is doable with daily riding, but beyond that you lose too many studs to really have good traction).  They're really luggy too for tossing snow out.

They're scary on dry pavement if you're used to good rubber - I described them as "60% of dry pavement grip on dry pavement, 50% of dry pavement grip on a sheet of ice."  Do NOT push it hard through corners on them, or you'll get off the stud track and are back to hard rubber on ice, which has no traction.

But, you can ride through basically anything with them.  You can do stoppies on a sheet of ice with them.  And you can be running down a road, hearing the purr of the studs on the pavement, and when it all goes silent, realize you hit black ice you didn't even see - and are gripping just fine.

They are absolutely worth the cost (I think a good pair should run you $100-$150 installed) if you're biking in the winter.  The looks you get are totally worth it. :)

=======

I don't bike as much anymore (work from home, live on a rural 55mph road a dozen miles out of town), but I ride my sidecar motorcycle all winter long (2WD - you can lock the sidecar wheel in for low traction conditions).  I share the same joy in getting, "You... rode in this???" comments/looks. :)  And when I biked everywhere, I definitely got some good comments in the winter.  It's fun!

You don't even have to do it that much to get the reputation as a winter riding badass.  Just a few times is enough!
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

Kmp2

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Congrats!

And welcome to the frostbiker club :)

Continuing to bike late into the fall and into winter conditions is how most of us get started.
I generally found that fresh snow (in excess of an inch or two) is what stops me. The cold, the dark and the ice you can adapt to with layers, lights and studs... but struggling through powder, slush, brown sugary snirt etc... is difficult and usually has me walking, bussing or getting hubby to drop me off, at least for a few days until things clear up either by traffic melt, warmer weather or the plows.

Biking in the snow isn't actually very dangerous, and most of the dangers can be mitigated by learning a few skills (not gripping your bars to tight when your plowing through snow, staying more upright on your turns, and studs - they really are miraculous!) It's kind of like learning to walk in the winter, you slow down take shorter steps and wear better footwear.

I really try to dial down the badassity about winter biking, because I want it normalized and it is easy when you get the hang of it... but as always those first few rides learning and figuring things out is Badass! Congrats!


JLE1990

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Quote
Studded snow tires for bicycles exist.

They last years if you put them on when it starts getting snowy and take them off in the spring.

Get the ones with proper carbide studs - they're more expensive than steel studs, but last a lot longer (4-5 winters is doable with daily riding, but beyond that you lose too many studs to really have good traction).  They're really luggy too for tossing snow out.

They're scary on dry pavement if you're used to good rubber - I described them as "60% of dry pavement grip on dry pavement, 50% of dry pavement grip on a sheet of ice."  Do NOT push it hard through corners on them, or you'll get off the stud track and are back to hard rubber on ice, which has no traction.

But, you can ride through basically anything with them.  You can do stoppies on a sheet of ice with them.  And you can be running down a road, hearing the purr of the studs on the pavement, and when it all goes silent, realize you hit black ice you didn't even see - and are gripping just fine.

They are absolutely worth the cost (I think a good pair should run you $100-$150 installed) if you're biking in the winter.  The looks you get are totally worth it. :)

=======

I don't bike as much anymore (work from home, live on a rural 55mph road a dozen miles out of town), but I ride my sidecar motorcycle all winter long (2WD - you can lock the sidecar wheel in for low traction conditions).  I share the same joy in getting, "You... rode in this???" comments/looks. :)  And when I biked everywhere, I definitely got some good comments in the winter.  It's fun!

You don't even have to do it that much to get the reputation as a winter riding badass.  Just a few times is enough!

What about using zipties on the tires? Do you think that would be a good alternative to buying a separate set of tires? Is it possible to use the studded tires all year around as well? I live a ways outside of town as well and I am trying to find a way to reliably ebike in and not use the car at all. It's just started freezing so any tips on that would be awesome.

Syonyk

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What about using zipties on the tires? Do you think that would be a good alternative to buying a separate set of tires? Is it possible to use the studded tires all year around as well? I live a ways outside of town as well and I am trying to find a way to reliably ebike in and not use the car at all. It's just started freezing so any tips on that would be awesome.

I've not tried zipties on the tires - I imagine it's better than nothing, but only barely.  Cold plastic on ice doesn't exactly grip the ice, but a carbide stud digs in and holds onto the surface.  They'd be slightly helpful in snow, maybe?

You can't use studded tires all year long.  When it gets warm, the studs will come more quickly out over time (you'll lose a few in the cold anyway - the service life is pretty much over when you don't have enough studs left to grip safely), and they're terrible on dry pavement compared to summer tires.  They're a very open tread pattern well suited to grabbing and clearing snow, but they're not designed for warm weather service.

The right answer, if you're biking in snow and ice, is to get two sets of tires.  They're not hard to swap around yourself.
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

JLE1990

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OK I'll keep an eye on the traction and if it starts to slide I'll get a set. I'm already feeling like a wuss for paying 650 for a diy ebike kit so I'll probably hold off unless it seems unsafe, my area gets mostly rain(164 days per year!) so we'll see. But it sounds awesome!

frompa

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There are tons of You Tubes and websites showing how to make your own studded bike tires.  I did it years ago and I'm still using those tires.  Performance-wise, they are indistinguishable from purchased studded tires; cost-wise, they are much less expensive.  Best of luck!

YoungGranny

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Sounds like I need to look into some studded tires as well. I imagine them being similar to yaktrax for shoes - you don't really understand what all the fuss is about until you try them. I might youtube a few videos and try to DIY some before shelling out money for a pre-made pair since people have found that to be a good work-around.

ACyclist

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I have several bikes.  The weather changes too quickly for me to swap out tires constantly.  I just grab whatever bike has the best tires for the daily weather. 

Right now, I am riding my plus bike, because the ice isn't really too bad right now. Wider tires provide me enough grip, mostly.  On really icy days, I grab my studded commuter bike.  I have another CX bike that is nice for just dry pave too. 

BikeFanatic

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I just put on my Nokiian studded tires on my Ebike today. I have two pairs and they last forever, I use them for confidence on the ice,I got them online at mikes bikes in upstate NY and another pair at REI, They were like 60 -80 $ per tire,  for me it has been worth it. I got my first pair in 2008 I believe. Carbide studds are the way to go.

PS 650 for an Ebike is a greatr deal!