EleanorNYC has a lovely little post today showing “women who look stylish on their bike and not afraid of a little snow.” This reminded me that to not be afraid of a little snow, I need studded tires. If there is snow on the ground that has not yet been totally plowed off the salted streets, I’ll only ride my bike with studded tires.
These are the bad boys on which I rely: Schwalbe Marathon Winters. I bought them five or six winters ago and they’re still going strong.
Because I don’t have the time, patience or interest to swap out the tires myself (a longer-than-usual process for my Dutch bike), I brought Oma to a local bike shop a few weeks ago for her yearly tire swap.
When it was time to pick Oma up the next day, I Divvied to the shop. (Thanks again, Divvy!)
My girl was waiting for me, still wearing her medical bracelet.
Oma was also wearing a note from my friend Dan, who saw her when he happened by the shop later to have his bike serviced. An inside joke involving karaoke and Justin Timberlake – fun! :-) Now Oma and I are ready to take on winter together and not be afraid of snow. A lot of Chicago bicyclists get by fine without studded tires – and in fact I never put mine on two winters ago due to the relatively mild weather – but I like having them as an option. What do you do to take on winter bicycling?
It’s that time of year again: legions of bike commuters are gearing up for winter and considering whether to buy studded tires. Well, okay, maybe just five or six of you.
So should you get studded tires?
I asked myself that question for weeks last year. My dithering abruptly ended on the morning my bike slipped from under me and I landed on my butt.
Many winter cyclists in Chicago seem to go without studs, sticking to the major routes that are well-plowed, but I prefer side street and the Lakefront Trail, which are often icy. Also, I appreciate having one less worry for winter cycling. Freedom from paranoia is a good reason to get studded tires.
Flat tires are an inconvenience that I have not experienced for over a year, since I got Schwalbe tires on Oma and Betty Foy.
The cheap tires that came on Mr. Dottie’s Jamis, on the other hand, have had several flats in their lifetime. The most extreme flat happened last week – a clean slice straight across the tire itself. He went back to try to find the culprit, but did not see anything that could have sliced a tire, other than a grated bridge, but that seems unlikely. The problem cannot be a defect with the tire itself, because the tube was also sliced. Any ideas? Has this happened to anyone else?
Poor flat tire
As an aside, I must note that his Jamis frame is obviously too small for him, and the larger vintage Raleigh frame he recently built up is a much better and more comfortable fit. I don’t know why the bike shop sold him that size – they even had to special order it because the size was not in their inventory. We had no bicycle knowledge at the time, and we followed their recommendations. Boo.