Regular guest on Over the Bars, d’Andre Willis does, and she was kind enough to share her experience with these winter cycling confidence builders. Thanks d’Andre!
After being sidelined for two weeks by travel and a bad cold, I’m back on the bike this week. Days off the bike always remind me of why I ride….I miss the fresh air, the feeling of freedom, the time to think and reflect, and how good it feels to have a little bit of low-exertion exercise twice each day. This last benefit I particularly miss in the season when all kinds of high-calorie/fat/sugar treats seem to appear everywhere….oof.
Since snow and ice are now the norm outside, getting back on the bike meant that this weekend’s project was changing out my regular tires for my studded tires. Dottie over at Let’s Go Ride a Bike made the change this week as well and used her local bike shop. I did it myself this year – I enjoy doing basic bike maintenance and it helps make me more aware of what’s going on with the bike overall. It’s a chance to tighten all the rack and fender bolts, wipe the frame down and offers more immediate gratification than running the bike back and forth to the shop. Although most bike shop folks would be very happy to see you this time of year and would get your project in right away.
These tires are the Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 in the 700cx35 size. Yes, that’s a mouthful. They are made in Finland and are awesome. The studs are like little nail heads that protrude about a sixteenth of an inch from the surface of the tire. They are not “spikes” as I imagined before seeing them…I was picturing those scary tires on the bad guys’ motorbikes in For Your Eyes Only when James Bond and the girl escape from an ambush on an Alpine ski run. These babies can’t hurt you but they still grip on most anything – slick ice sheets, icy ruts and bumps, slush, deep snow. They are a little slower on bare pavement, but I’m not moving too fast out there anyway. You can find these tires in a lot of places both locally and online. Cost will likely be $80-90 for the pair, or equivalent to around 3 tanks of gas. They should last many winters – this is the third for mine – and the piece of mind they bring is worth every penny. With studs on your tires, you don’t need to be a stud to ride in the winter
Dave has Nokian A10s on his Schwinn/Dutch conversion. Are you running studs this winter?