Sometimes people ask me jokingly, “You have snow tires for that thing?”. I think most people assume it’s time to put the bikes away when the snow starts falling. When I reply, “Yes, actually I do. I have a set of studded snow tires with 240 studs per tire!”, they seem pretty surprised. Not only because such a thing exists, but that you’d want to ride in the snow in the first place. Like any other winter activity though, winter biking can be fun with the right gear.
After walking to work all week, I decided it was time to get the ice bike out to save some commute time. This is pretty much the only bike I will ride if there is ice on the ground. The studded tires hooked up great, and allowed me to navigate the snow and ice with confidence. Occasionally I’d hit a pile of slushy snow, and the front tire would slide a bit. A reminder to scan the terrain and keep the speed in check. I arrived at work safe and sound though, and was actually disappointed that the ride was over.
While the ice tires are working great, my bike really needs fenders to make it ideal. Our temperatures warm up later in the day, turning the ice and sand to mud. This combo isn’t friendly to your work pants without the protection of fenders. Luckily it refreezes rather quickly at the end of the day.
Back in 2009 I wrote the article Tips for Bicycle Commuting in Snow and Ice. After rereading it, I think it’s still pretty relevant. Especially since my winter commutes were much more challenging at that time. If you’re interested in winter bicycle commuting, check it out. And here’s a closer look at the studded snow tires I’m using.
How about you? Are you still bicycle commuting this time of year? What have your experiences been?