Monday, December 29, 2008

Outdoors reporter discovers winter bicycling

Pete Zimowsky, the Idaho Statesman's outdoors reporter, describes his winter riding experience HERE.

Apparently his commute is about 15 miles round-trip. Pretty impressive in the winter. (His good fortune is that most of it is apparently on the dedicated greenbelt. I feel MUCH better when bicycling in the nasty stuff, when I'm not also worrying about getting creamed by a 3000-pound, sliding-out-of-control steel missile.)


Anonymous said...

The Greenbelt, with the rutted ice and snow, is nearly impossible to commute this past week or so. Even this morning, I had to walk a section of it.

Clancy said...

I rode in the slush bucket over the weekend and it was tough. This morning with the thaw was much better. The only snow/ice/slush left this afternoon will be the alley to my garage.

Bikeboy said...

Just back from a short but GLORIOUS loop ride out in the east side of town (out on the north side of the river, crossed the orange arched footbridge, and back on Parkcenter.) Wow - it's NICE out there, and the pavement is mostly bone-dry. I think I pushed a little ham and eggnog and fudge out of my circulatory system!

Clancy said...

Thanks for the visual

db said...

Yeah, I read Zimo's column with some envy.

I know that there are bad parts of the Greenbelt south of the river that lead to the Statesman office, where he works. But I've ridden/walked that stretch to get to St. Al's for a medical appointment, and that is much preferred to trying to "share the road" with a bunch of rush-hour morons on Marigold in Garden City.

That's the road that has access to the post office, library, and Garden City city hall. It sucks. The bike lane is where the plows pile the snow. So I was forced to use the asphalt channels with cars that did not like to share, despite the holiday season.

That convinced me to take a couple weeks off and overhaul the commute rig. Hopefully both the roads and I will be ready next week. My hat's off to those who have ridden in the past couple weeks.

db said...

By the way, in the search for cheap, homemade studded tire resources, I found this:

Pop Rivet Ice Tires

Bikeboy said...

Hmmm... pop rivets for studs. I hadn't thought of that. (I'm no expert, but it seems like you'd have quick-wear issues, since many of those rivets are largely made out of aluminum. But on a cheap set of tires it might be worth trying.) I concur with those who say proceed with caution, when you roll 'em. (Reading through the comments.)

I found some less-expensive "factory studded" bike tires - the Innova "Tundra Wolf" at $30/each, ground shipping included... HERE. They are available in common "commuter" sizes.

"Tundra Wolf" - if Sarah Palin rode a bike in the winter, I bet she'd use Tundra Wolf tires! haha

(The studs are carbon steel; I believe the spendy Euro tires have carbide studs that would likely outlast the rubber. But in reality, if you used these tires over 4 or 5 winter seasons, they'd amortize nicely and the rubber would probably start rotting before you wore 'em out.)

db said...

Bikeboy, the instructions call for steel rivets, not aluminum. I'm seriously considering this method, as I already have a pair of worn knobbies anyway. That's cheap as can be.

I've read lots of criticisms of the Innovas in that they allegedly lose a lot of the studs quickly, or they wear down quickly. You're not having those issues, I take it?

Innova discussion 1

Innova discussion 2

Bikeboy said...

Regarding the Innova tires... I don't have 'em, I just happened across 'em on the web and the price was attractively lower than the European brands (that seem to be worth the price of admission, according to their users).

As of this date, I've never ridden studded tires of any kind. (Even 2 solid weeks of slippery roads is unusual in these parts, thus my hesitation.)