Discuss Detroit Archives - January 2008 Biking in the winter in Detroit Previous Next
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Lukabottle
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Username: Lukabottle

Post Number: 130
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 5:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Now for a happier discussion.

To all you Physics majors, environmental friendly hippies, or nutty athletic freaks:

Road bikes, mountain bikes, or bmxs on snow and ice?

My friends rave that roadbikes are much safer since they cut through slush and snow with thin tires. They all claim mountain bikes and bmx's catch snow, making it more dangerous. Unfortunately, two associates have already fallen, one busted his eyebrow open. I am having my doubts about road bikes but I am finally wearing a helmet.

A bmx seems safer since it is a shorter fall than a road bike. Also, with all the hidden potholes, sewers, curbs, etc. it seems if you hit an ice patch, a road bike would have less control than a bmx.

Sometimes I wish I would have kept my car but damn have I been saving a lot by not wasting money on car insurance and gas. Plus I can feel good health wise and mentally about my carbon footprint.
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Jimaz
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Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 4036
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 6:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Have you driven a Zamboni lately? :-)
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Alan55
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Username: Alan55

Post Number: 909
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 7:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How about a Made-in-Michigan recumbent bike?

http://www.wizwheelz.com/
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Lukabottle
Member
Username: Lukabottle

Post Number: 132
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 7:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

lmao, that is great!
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Mwilbert
Member
Username: Mwilbert

Post Number: 35
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 7:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You want studded winter tires, I haven't seen them in road bike sizes, so probably a mountain bike, which in my experience works better in snow than a road bike. Also, there tend to be more road hazards left in the winter, especially ones you can't see (like potholes under the snow) and if you hit that on a road bike you have a good chance of needing a new wheel.

Also, I have a recumbent, but I don't ride it in the winter, and I don't really like to ride it where there is much traffic. They tend to be low-riding and that makes visibility problematic--in snowy conditions you want the cars to see you as far away as possible. Also, instead of just your legs getting splashed, it is your whole body. I'm sure dedicated recumbent riders would disagree, and you definitely wouldn't fall as far.

(Message edited by mwilbert on December 13, 2007)

(Message edited by mwilbert on December 13, 2007)
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Ptero
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Username: Ptero

Post Number: 150
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 8:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I rode my bike today. She was hummin'. Oh. You don't mean motorcycles, eh?
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Atl_runner
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Username: Atl_runner

Post Number: 1982
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 9:21 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Road bike.. there is not enough time that there is not a nice clear path on open road. More efficient too.
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Kslice
Member
Username: Kslice

Post Number: 238
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 9:38 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I really dont see how a road bike would eb better in winter. Do you put thin tires with no tread on your car over the winter? No, you put bigger tires with thicker tread on your car.

GO with a BMX with big tread tires or small mountain bike. BMX is good because you can put your full weight on the pedals for max power.
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Gazhekwe
Member
Username: Gazhekwe

Post Number: 1143
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 9:51 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I used to ride my road bike in the winter. It was in the days when they were called English racers, and we had lots of snow. The wheels would just spin in the snow while the bike stayed in place. I would ride and ride and the tires would spin and spin. I would ride probably three blocks but only travel one. Good exercise, though!
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Gannon
Member
Username: Gannon

Post Number: 11098
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 10:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The issue is whether you want skinny tires to cut through the snow OR rather wide knobby's that can grip on the ice.


I fully understand the desire to cut through snow, but I would MUCH rather have a sturdier mountain bike frame and suspension (and room for FENDERS) with rims that could handle more than one rough road anomaly.

I mean, hitting ONE hidden pothole with a front suspension fork will prove it's value, both in reducing the shock to the rider AND potential and probable damage to the bike.

One bent rim and you're walking to work tomorrow. Or waiting on the bus...or taxi'ing.


But seriously, Roaring Mouse (who hasn't posted in a while) has this KILLER city bike with full fenders and racks with special pouches so she can carry her work to client meetings and such. I think it is a Trek, but I cannot remember where she bought all the accessories.


The fenders alone were probably her best investment! I've been jealous for a while, but NEXT season...I'll be ready!


Cheers!
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Gravitymachine
Member
Username: Gravitymachine

Post Number: 1897
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 10:09 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i'd opt for a larger contact patch and knobby tires a al mountain bike to ride on the snow (bmx qualifies too, but bmx bikes are better for for short distance sprints, not long distance commuting).not huge like a 2.1" tire, more like a 1.5 or so

skinny tires could cut through slush well, but they'll still ride on top of hard pact snow i would think, and even if they cut through, chances that there is an icy layer between snow and pavement is pretty high
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The_ed
Member
Username: The_ed

Post Number: 1557
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 10:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Top 10 Tips for Biking in Snow

http://www.npr.org/templates/s tory/story.php?storyId=1724600 1
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Missmich
Member
Username: Missmich

Post Number: 22
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 11:08 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

ya need one of these:

https://www.ktrakcycle.com/ind ex.html
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The_ed
Member
Username: The_ed

Post Number: 1560
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 11:18 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Missmich that is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time.
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Dkhbike
Member
Username: Dkhbike

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 12:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The TerraTrike recumbent shown courtesy of Alan55 is the only thing that will go in the snow. Disc brakes, studded tires, and an enclosed drive train to keep encrusted snow out of the derailleur/rear cog will also probably be necessary. A two-wheel bike in snow? Fuggedaboudit!
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Gannon
Member
Username: Gannon

Post Number: 11104
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 12:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

NOW, to get a fender that will catch whatever is thrown by THAT rear track...very cool stuff Missnmich, thanks for that link.

Roughly $400 to add the rear track and front skid to any bike? How cool is THAT?!
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Rjlj
Member
Username: Rjlj

Post Number: 440
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 12:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I prefer a unicycle in the winter.
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The_ed
Member
Username: The_ed

Post Number: 1587
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 2:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

funny
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Charlottepaul
Member
Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 2138
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 2:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Lukabottle, if you don't have clips, does it matter how far you have to fall?
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Lukabottle
Member
Username: Lukabottle

Post Number: 135
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 3:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wiping out on a bmx doesnt cause much pain. The road bike, I am a lot higher off the ground.
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Dkhbike
Member
Username: Dkhbike

Post Number: 5
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 4:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Studies have shown that cornering on a bike in the wintertime, particularly at high speeds, frequently causes the instantaneous formation of an ice patch directly and unavoidably in the path of the cyclist.
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Erikto
Member
Username: Erikto

Post Number: 640
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 3:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I didn't know that, DKHbike, and I ride year-round in Toronto, which I think has similar winter weather to Detroit's. In fact, I think we are sharing a massive snow storm at this moment?
I think one might be best off on whatever bike they are most comfortable with in decent weather, rather than switching bikes. I don't particularly like speed/ road bikes, and I am more comfortable on crappy old tanks (old cheap mountain bikes that I end up destroying).
I had a spectacular accident on the way to work this week, riding a huge & heavy old delivery bike. The fender fell off. The metal brace that held the front fender slipped, caught the front wheel, and it gripped so hard that the wheel is now heart shaped, the metal is broken where the heart closes, and the spokes are all stretched and curled. The wheel looks like a work of art. My leather jacket was trashed, but I preferred that to having my arm look like my jacket sleeve. I mention this because I probably ride about 350 days a year, and this never happened to me (then again, I rarely ride a bike with any fenders)- so let this be a warning! I like things to be low-maintenance, but I will never ride a bike with rattling fenders again. Just a cautionary bike riding tale I thought I'd share...
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Pmardo
Member
Username: Pmardo

Post Number: 65
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 4:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have to say that I have had no trouble riding road bikes in snow/winter conditions. I prefer the skinny tires, except when it is icy, in which they do not do so well. But how long does snow really last on the main roads? They are salted and plowed, and one can avoid the back roads generally. So really, I don't see a problem, at least when the snow is light like it has been so far and really for the last few winters.
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Gmich99
Member
Username: Gmich99

Post Number: 257
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 4:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I ride my mountain bike through all four seasons. I recommend a mountain bike with coarse tires for the winter.
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Fishtoes2000
Member
Username: Fishtoes2000

Post Number: 365
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 4:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In the winter, fatter tires are a better choice. They float on snow, rather than dig in. They let you ride with lower air pressure which increases traction and your tire patch. They let you more easily ride over road debris/hazards hidden under snow that causes flats on road bikes.

There's useful info at www.icebike.com

A friend of mine (whose originally from Waterford) is building the ultimate snow bike. The front fork is sealed and carries the fuel for his stove, a necessity for multi-day treks in the backcountry.http://lacemine29.blogspot.com /2007/12/egads-look-at-time.ht ml
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Chitaku
Member
Username: Chitaku

Post Number: 1738
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 4:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Pmardo you crazy bastard you rode your bike last night!!
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Pmardo
Member
Username: Pmardo

Post Number: 66
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 12:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

wow there is a lot of snow out now! We'll have to see about biking to work tomorrow!
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Jazzstage
Member
Username: Jazzstage

Post Number: 172
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 2:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Damn those tires are both fat and phat!


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Otter
Member
Username: Otter

Post Number: 1
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 9:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Lukabottle,

I don't think mtn bike vs road bike is that important a distinction, though given the tire clearance on most road bikes I'd probably say mountain bike to choose between the two.

If you're rolling on ice then you'd really want studded tires, else count on unexpected gymnastics.

If you're on deep, fluffy snow, you're not going anywhere very fast, so go find some skis or snowshoes and have more fun :-)

You are probably better off on biggish (high-volume) tires that you can run at lowish pressures without getting pinch flats or bending a rim in a pothole. In practice this tends to mean mountain bikes, as the majority of road bikes don't have enough clearance for big tires. But if you do have a road bike with plenty of clearance in the fork, rear stays, and around the brakes (either with the standard 700c or wheels or converted to smaller 650b wheels) to run big tires (like 42s or something) with some kind of tread, then road vs. mtn doesn't really matter. Some (usually low-production) road bikes come with 26" (mtn-bike-sized) wheels in smaller frame sizes, after all.

High-volume tires are better for snow for the lower pressures you can use without blowing it out in some pothole covered by snow, and for the better likelihood of surviving those same surprises.

If the snow is such that the roads are mostly wet and a little slushy, it doesn't really matter very much. But if you don't have good fenders or can't fit them you'll get pretty nasty.

I guess a crash will be pretty non-dramatic on a BMX bike, but it doesn't sound like a good way to get anywhere fast. Then again, a bunch of high school kids won the last alley cat on BMX bikes.

David

(Message edited by otter on December 18, 2007)
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Gravitymachine
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Username: Gravitymachine

Post Number: 1902
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 10:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Then again, a bunch of high school kids won the last alley cat on BMX bikes.



because they cheated, or so i was told
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Cambrian
Member
Username: Cambrian

Post Number: 1793
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 11:38 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I attempted a January bike ride a few years ago to do some errands after the car's engine seizing left me without a way to get around. The result was I had to spend a few hundred dollars that spring replacing rust damaged parts from the road salt. If I were to attempt it again it would be with a throw away bike. When I was bike riding in Anchorage the locals there say they ride year around, but studded tires are key in the winter time. You can make your own studded tires by twisting screws through from the inside of the tire.
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Lukabottle
Member
Username: Lukabottle

Post Number: 138
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 12:23 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gravity Machine

The kids didn't quite understand the rules and were a group of eight which gave them an advantage. They did not save their tickets and were trying to ride as a group and collect blue and red at the same time. The volunteers learned we need to be a bit more clear on the rules. I am not sure if Ron was aware of that when he said they earned second. Most bikers understand and follow the rules.

The most important thing is everyone had fun.
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Aiw
Member
Username: Aiw

Post Number: 6478
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 12:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This made me think of this link I just saw in a Toronto Blog:

http://spacing.ca/wire/?p=2581
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Gravitymachine
Member
Username: Gravitymachine

Post Number: 1903
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 12:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

The most important thing is everyone had fun.



indeed it is, and even as a mid-pack finisher, i had a ton
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Fishtoes2000
Member
Username: Fishtoes2000

Post Number: 366
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 1:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

I had to spend a few hundred dollars that spring replacing rust damaged parts from the road salt.


I ride about a thousand miles every winter and almost never wash my bike. In the spring I typically need to replace the chain and sometimes the rear shifter housing or cable. Better bikes rust less because they have more non-steel components (e.g. aluminum.) I also avoid using hi-zoot hubs and bottle brackets in bad weather so they last longer.

Also, I find that I only need my studded tires for a couple rides each winter. I bought some Nokian's rather than make my own. I have used them in Anchorage too. :-)
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Otter
Member
Username: Otter

Post Number: 3
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 4:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I avoid riding my bike(s) on salty roads because I don't want to get salt all over them (it's bad enough on my cars), but if you wash it off well after every ride you should be OK. I'd rather avoid the trouble and hate cold weather anyway.

If you do ride in the winter and have a separate bike for it something with a geared hub or a single-speed would be easier to maintain. Nad it's so flat here anwyay.

I have lots of fun at alley cats too, and who cares where anyone finishes?

David
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Lukabottle
Member
Username: Lukabottle

Post Number: 139
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 5:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well, for all you crazy enthusiasts, incase you didn't hear, back by popular demand:

"Are you tired of winter yet? Are you ready for another alleycat race? Dreaming of the soothing warmth of summer? Get over it! And get ready to face the Artic Alleycat! The meanest coldest toughest race yet! Well maybe not the toughest.... But definitely the coldest.

So bring your gloves, scarves, and hats and show up at Hart Plaza Monday, January 21st MLK day

We'll start registering at 6pm and the race will start at 6:30. Race ends at the Majestic Theater. Bike lights and helmets STRONGLY recommended. This is winter; it's dark and may be slippery.

I want to have an idea of how many people will show up... so shoot me a message back and let me know if you're interested" message on the Myspace page and let us know you are coming.
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Fishtoes2000
Member
Username: Fishtoes2000

Post Number: 368
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 6:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Darn. I'll be in up north on the 21st.

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