It’s Baaaack!

15 11 2011

Winter, that is.

And the Polar Porta-Bike.

Porta-Bike, where the bike path runs along the LRT tracks. And see - a train!

I put the studded tires on last weekend because of the threat of freezing rain, but on Monday morning it felt like overkill as I plodded into work on the clear & dry streets. An unexpected snow storm (ha! – like you wouldn’t expect a November snow storm in E-Ville) descended on the city by evening, turning the streets into an Ice Capades Demolition Derby. On my little winter special though, I was the most stable vehicle on the road, further insulated by a thin layer of smugness.

This year set a record for the latest first snow of the season, and it was almost like everyone (myself included) were just hoping it wouldn’t snow at all this year. That would’ve been nice, but back in reality, riding single speed foldies through snowy winter wonderland Mill Creek Ravine after dark is pretty nice too.



9 responses

16 11 2011

Nice update! So when you have your studded tires on and there is only negligible/no snow, do you just go at a slower pace? I’ve read that one should not bike “aggressively” on bare pavement with studded tires (it’s my first winter–or will be–with studded tires and I am wondering how this is going to work during the “transitional” phase before we consistently have snow on the ground all the time).
Thanks in advance for the advice.

16 11 2011


Lack of ice/snow might make metal studded tyres a bit noisier. Other than that, there’s no reason to go slower. They’re just tyres for winter use and you can ride on asphalt, ice and snow. Still, same rule applies as to the car tyres: the metal studs might come off if you do a lot off emergency braking (locked wheels) or hit the pedal to the medal so you leave rubber burns, so I don’t recommend doing that. ;-P

If you’re talking about studded w/o metal studs, on ice they’re almost as slippery as regular tyres, so ride slower and be careful. Ask the blogger (or your local cycling friends) if you can get by with regular studded tyres or if metal studs are necessary. The local conditions say what to choose.

16 11 2011

Thanks! The ones I was talking about are indeed studded w/ metal studs. Last year I got by all winter with slightly under-inflated non-metal studded tires, and never actually wiped out but had a few close calls on thick ice. This year I want the added peace of mind :).

16 11 2011

I do find that studded tires slow me down a little because of the extra rolling resistance, and the extra weight – and different tires can vary greatly on both of those aspects. If you get a tire with the studs more off center, you can increase the tire pressure on clear days and the studs won’t be engaged unless you’re turning or starting to wipe out. And if conditions get dicey, you can decrease the pressure. Tires that have studs in the center of the tread could be problematic if you’re biking aggressively on pavement, not only because you could loose them (I’ve lost a few studs on my Schwalbe Marathon Winter), but also because they’ll actually decrease traction while significantly increasing rolling resistance. That being said, many tire manufacturers recommend a run-out period where the brand-new tires are run on pavement for the first 50km to permanently set the studs.

Many people also only ride with one studded tire in the front. I have actually ridden more winters without tire studs than with, but I don’t think I’d go back to riding without them, even if I do have to work a little harder at times, it’s worth it. Last year was the first I used two studded tires, and it did slow me down more, but I feel it was worth it.

The worst part of riding on concrete with metal studs for me is the noise because I know it’s the sound of my expensive (or in the case of my DIY tires, time consuming) tire studs being worn down.

BTW, what do you guys mean by “non-metal studs.” The studs I’ve been referring to are metal, Do you just mean knobby tires, like for mountain bikes?

16 11 2011

I assumed Timoohz was talking about very knobby tires when s/he referred to “studded w/o metal studs.”
I guess decreasing the probability that you’ll wipe out in front of a car by slipping on ice still outweighs these inconveniences.
This is all very helpful. Thank you!

16 11 2011

Latest first snow of the season? Yeepers. Go Edmonton!
Here in the Portland, there is talk of the possible first snow in the area, as we’re getting socked with rain and dropping temps at the same time. If anything we might see a few flurries in the hills, but not in the valley.

19 11 2011

I think I’ll still take snow over cold rain, even though the current temperature is -19C (-30 with windchill). At least it’ll be sunny tomorrow (with the -30 wind chill).

19 11 2011

To each their own! Hearing that forecast doesn’t appeal much to me.
Rain really isn’t that bad, if you are prepared for it. Layers of wool do wonders. Even in cold rain.

17 11 2011

Yeah, I was talking about knobby tyres but couldn’t remember the correct word. 🙂

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