Riding where it snows ...

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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AJS914
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I'd like some advice. I'm in Spokane, WA where we get snow and the plowed roads aren't great. Really, they only plow and salt the main roads but not side roads.

It's been warmer this week and the snow is melting. I'd like to get out on the road but I'm still scared of slipping and falling on ice. My choices are:

Ride the mountain bike on the street - Specialized Camber with 2.4" tires

Ride gravel bike, Specialized Crux - with 40mm Clement MSO Xplor tires

Don't ride at all. Stick to the cross country skis, the weight room, and the trainer.

The forecast for the next 10 days is warmer (35-40F) so the snow is melting. I'm thinking I could get outside on either the MTB or cross bike. If I ride I will need to stay on the main roads that have been plowed and salted. That also means the main roads that the cars are likely to use instead of back roads.

I don't want to spend $100+ on studded tires for a few outdoor rides during the winter.

I'd appreciate any advice. This is my first time living in a snowy area. The temperature is not an issue.

by Weenie


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TonyM
Posts: 2578
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:11 pm

by TonyM

I have decided to invest in studded tires for my MTB (2.35 and 2.10 Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro Evo) last winter so that in case the snow periods is too long I can still go biking outside in the fresh air instead of having to stay inside on the trainer. The plan is to use the MTB either on bike trails (I have some flat side bike trails here along the dyke) or on the roads with snow.

For me it was more about the safety and not crashing during the winter because of the ice and having to make a long recovery etc...

However I used to live in a place where I could go cross country skiing within 10 minutes of drive and that was great also!
For me it is just important to be able to go outside at least once a week for sport. My wife also needs me going outdoor otherwise I am not that good at staying at the house all time.

So my advice would be to invest in some studded tires for safety reasons (I would prefer on the gravel bike if I had one) except if you would like to stick with cross country skiing and the home trainer.

Mr.Gib
Posts: 3144
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:12 pm
Location: eh?

by Mr.Gib

I have a rule - if there is a chance of ice then I will not ride. Not worth it for me. Perhaps easy for me to say living where ice is very rare.

Below freezing can be perfectly safe in areas where lots of salt is used and the roads have also had some time to dry out.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

AJS914
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

Mr.Gib wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:21 am
I have a rule - if there is a chance of ice then I will not ride. Not worth it for me. Perhaps easy for me to say living where ice is very rare.

Below freezing can be perfectly safe in areas where lots of salt is used and the roads have also had some time to dry out.
Right now we have patchy, slushy ice everywhere expect the main roads that are salted. So, I'm kind of with you on not wanting to take a chance of slipping on ice. We are in a warming trend for the next 10 days so I think in a few days I'll be able to ride the main roads, at least on my gravel or mountain bike. It would be nice to get out for an hour or so just to get a break from the trainer.

On the other hand, I can go to the local regional park where there are hiking trails and go for hours at base training pace on my cross country skis. I can also drive 45 minutes to groomed cross country ski trails and do a long day of slow long distance "base miles".

Even if I can't get out on the road I think I have a pretty good winter program going:

4-5 hours a week on the trainer (tempo or sweetspot with a few intervals)
2-3 hours a week weight training
4+ hours a week cross country skiing or snowshoeing

TonyM - thanks for your response. I'm just not ready for studded tires. I don't want to spend the money or go through the pain of swapping out tires on my mountain bike (tubeless sealant and all) for what may be a handful of rides.

TuplaO
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:00 pm

by TuplaO

Greetings from Finland! Are we talking about a real chance of actual slippery ice with no way around it? Are we talking about icy patches that you have no way of seeing until it's too late? If yes, proper studded (MTB) tires are the only way, if you want to ride outdoors.

On the other hand, my experience is that snow, slush, 'soft' ice and the like do not require studs. Just a knobby tire that 'cleans itself' well enough (e.g. file tread). Generally, if the tire is at all able to bite into the surface you're riding on, you should be good. If there's softer snow that makes the tires squirm, drop your tire pressure accordingly. If need be, we're talking about going down to 'cross pro level, where the tire can feel almost flat at first.

Granted, the riding feel will never be the same as on a road bike on dry tarmac, but if you ride 'cross or trails etc., you'll be fine. Besides, a little 'spill' on snow often leaves you and your bike totally unscathed. I usually fall off a couple of times in the winter season, while it's been years since I've crashed my road bike in the summer season. Compared to road riding, it's hard going at first, but a decent training effect can be had with a fraction of kms in the right conditions. Just stay loose on the bike, and you'll start to get the hang of it.

Try it out, embrace it, is my tip.

mattr
Posts: 3579
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 6:43 pm
Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

What is everyone else round there riding?
Should give you an idea of what is needed. i.e. if it's really worth investing in studs or not.

Round here we have so much snow and ice that everyone switches to CX or MTBs with studs in late Nov, then keeps them on for 4 months.
I even bought a cheap pair of shimano wheels to leave the studs on for the entire winter.

joejack951
Posts: 397
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:50 pm
Location: Wilmington, DE

by joejack951

AJS914 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:41 am
I'm just not ready for studded tires. I don't want to spend the money or go through the pain of swapping out tires on my mountain bike (tubeless sealant and all) for what may be a handful of rides.
Get a cheap pair of wheels to dedicate to the studded tires (presumably clinchers so no need to spend extra money on tubeless rims). Slap on a used but serviceable cassette and some inexpensive rotors and you are good to go. The salt on the roads will do a number on the wheels so you won't want to be riding your good stuff in the winter anyway.

You may only get a handful of rides per year, but the tires will last more than one year. And once you try riding on ice/snow you'll likely find more excuses to go out in it as it really is a fun challenge.

Multebear
Posts: 1083
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 10:11 pm

by Multebear

^this. Cheap used (beater) wheels should be easy to source on various classified pages. Mount the tires, and if you only use the wheels a few times a year, they will last you many years. After each ride clean the cassette, chain, derailleurs, pulley wheels, crankset and so on very thoroughly, and relube. If you do this, the wear will be at a minimum.

Even if you only do a couple of rides every year like this, it will give you more motivation to do some good intervals on the trainer, because you break the routine.

AJS914
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

What is everyone else round there riding?
I've seen very few bikes on the road this winter. We had an early snow but it melted quickly and got in some outdoor riding after that.

Today it's raining and it's 45F (7C) so the snow is melting fast. The forecast is above freezing for the next 10 days so it looks like I'll be able to easily get out on the road after the rain stops.

We might be moving out of the snow belt this summer so I don't want to invest in extra wheels. If I knew we were staying here, I'd just buy a fat tire bike. I saw some guys riding them on trails while we were snow shoeing. It looked like lots of fun.

In the end, I'm a 50 year old ex racer who wants to be as fit as possible but is not willing to crash on ice. I did the gym today. I'm doing the weight lifting outlined in Friel's book. It's quite enjoyable to do that and then relax in the spa, steam room and swim some laps in the pool. Later today I'll do an hour on the trainer at endurance pace peppered with some high rpm ftp intervals.

simoncx
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:27 am

by simoncx

I stopped using my road bike in the winter years ago, it's either cyclocross or mtb from november to end of march. I really don't care if the bike is light or tires roll really well this time of year, in the northeast winters can be nasty so I'd rather stay up right. One good thing about training on cross tires on the road is it takes a lot more effort and you end up getting a better workout.

jfranci3
Posts: 268
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:21 pm

by jfranci3

THink about flats. Snow tends to pull stuff off people's cars and accumulate on the road. You're going to get flats if you ride any distance. I don't think the MTB or CX tire will matter all that much; they'll both work in hard pack snow and both will fail on ice. Setup the trainer for quick workouts and join a spin class and enjoy the social atmosphere.

AJS914
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I've been enjoying the gym. I'm following the weight training guidelines in Friel's book. I'm also doing stretching, some yoga and the core work I've always been meaning to do. This is all going to benefit my cycling this year.

I'm on the trainer about 5 hours a week right now plus whatever I can do on cross country skis.

We are in a warmer trend right now so I might get out on the road this week. I thought I'd get to hit the road last week and then we got a foot of snow. So it goes...

AJS914
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I got out on the road today! It's been six weeks on the trainer. It actually snowed this morning for a couple of hours but it didn't stick. I got my Crux out and rode some gravel as well. A nice break from the trainer...

UpFromOne
Posts: 710
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:23 am
Location: Olympic Nat'l Park, WA

by UpFromOne

I learned to ride snow in Arizona of all places.

by Weenie


mr4fox
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 2:01 pm

by mr4fox

Im in norway and we have had an unusually dry (for this part of norway) and cold winter so far. this is my 3rd winter with Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pros on and they still impress me! i have been training about 10-12 hours a week and haven't had to train inside once yet!! i know you said you dont want to buy studded tyres but they will probably last you ages and as long as you can stay warm they beat the hell out of zwift!

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