Experimental music, photography, and adventures

First snow 2010

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Yesterday was my first commute this year that involved any snow. We had gotten a dusting overnight.  The newspaper had an article about how slick the roads were, so I got overzealous and put the Nokian studded tires I bought from Doug on the Trucker.

I should have known not to pay any attention to the alarmist article in the paper. The roads were wet, but completely clear of snow and ice. Maybe they really were icy earlier in the morning. I don’t know. So, the tires were really unnecessary. Still, even if I didn’t end up needing them, it was a good time to finally do a test ride using them.

Two things struck me about the tires. First, even though they’re rated at 35mm, the same as the Paselas I’ve been running, the Nokians are much narrower. Second, these things are quite aggressive, both in terms of knobs and studs.

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They also make a lot of noise while riding. I think they are noisier than my 26″ studded tires, although it has been a while since I used those, so maybe I just don’t remember.

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Even the small amount of snow we had was enough to beautify certain scenes.

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My ride home was interesting. It was mostly dark.

The Trucker looks absolutely badass with these studded tires on it. It looks like more of a ‘cross bike, with the knobby tires.

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I decided to explore a new section of the B-Line Trail that I had heard was ridable, if not officially open. For a while the new section of trail paralleled a road.

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Here is a large bridge they built — again, not yet open. This part I did not attempt to ride on.

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However, I did find a nice new section of the trail that is accessible and ridable. I had to go around a gate and through some mud to reach it, but once on the trail, it has very smooth pavement.

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I spotted some interesting graffiti along the way.

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Soon I turned onto another brief path that just ended at the Country Club/Walnut intersection. This bridge was nice.

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As was this view of some ducks in the creek.

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While taking the trail kept me away from cars for a while, the trail spit me out in a bad place. The only real options for getting home from here involve riding on Country Club and then Walnut Street Pike, both of which can have heavy traffic, or on Rhorer/Gordon Pike, which involves a long, traffic-laden climb.

It’s a shame there isn’t a more pleasant/safer way to get to/from the trail from our house. These routes are doable, but stressful enough that I doubt I’ll be able to use the B-Line trail on a regular basis. That said, going DOWN Rhorer to the trail might be a good option, on my way to work.

Those problems aside, I enjoyed exploring the new section of trail. I’ll be curious to see how the trail is once it’s officially open. They still have some work to do.

I’m also going to try to seek out better routes to/from the trail from home, because it really would be a good option, if I could solve that problem.

7 Responses to “First snow 2010”

  1. Chris Says:

    The front view photo of the LHT is great. Those tires make it look ready for anything, and eager to get at it.

  2. welshcyclist Says:

    I’ve been umming and ahhing about gatting studded tyre for a very long time now, it hardly seems worth it for the short spell of snow and ice we have in my part of the world. But reading about you guys’ riding in such conditions makes me so envious. Thanks for sharing your post with the rest of the cycleblogosphere. Cheers.

  3. RANTWICK Says:

    I think it is good to ride these types of tires a bit before you really need ’em (like you just did), since the handling qualities can be quite different. I love the sound of studded tires on bare pavement. Mine sound kind of like rice crispies. I also like how they quiet down on hard ice as they do their job. Those are indeed some agressive looking tires… my schwalbes aren’t looking quite as serious as they did a couple of years ago, but they’re still doing the job nicely.

  4. Apertome Says:

    welshcyclist: I rode through a couple of winters before investing in the studded tires. In many conditions, regular knobby tires are good enough; in particular, in deep snow without ice, aggressive MTB knobby tires can actually be better than the studded ones. But in ice you really need the studs.

    Rantwick: agreed, and I am glad I have been doing some test rides on the studded tires. I thought about swapping tires back last night, but we are supposed to get some snow this weekend, so maybe I’ll actually get to use the studded tires!

    You’re absolutely right about the handling. These don’t corner very well on clear pavement. It’s a worthwhile tradeoff, I just wish it wasn’t such a pain to swap tires. I am still hoping to eventually get another wheelset to combat that problem.

  5. Doug Says:

    Badass indeed! Those tires kept me upright in a lot of nasty winter conditions. Seems funny to see the tires I used on some one else’s blog on some one else’s bike. Hope they work out for you.

  6. John Says:

    I’m getting some winter tires for the beater this year. Because the commute is only 5 miles I think I can pull it off the only problem is crossing the bridge when the snow plow pushes everything onto the sidewalk and it stays till it melts.

    I’m going to bring it to the attention of the Mayor before the first snowfall.

  7. Jon Grinder Says:

    I, too, have both 26″ studded tires and 700×35 studded tires. Oddly, my 700s seem louder to me than the 26s, just as yours do. I wonder if it is a function of higher pressure in the narrower tire…

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