Thursday, March 4, 2010

Groundhog Day, Bike-Style

Sorry, local bike bretheren and sisteren. When the next winter storm hits, it's going to be my fault. I took off my studded tires this week.

Everyone knows that when Nunemaker's Nokians see their shadow and crawl back into a dark corner of the garage, that guarantees six more weeks of winter. Plus, in an even more brazen attempt to flip off the Snow Spirits, I de-studded my bike during the first of our two state basketball tournaments. As every good Des Moinser is all too aware, the state tourneys are traditionally the harbinger of freakish winter storms, making it even harder for out-of-towners to navigate those wacky one-way streets between the really tall buildings. (They also marvel at our escalators and revolving doors once they make it into the small-towner confusion that is the downtown Skywalk system.)

In my defense, Nokians ain't cheap, so I hate wearing them down on bare asphalt. And let's be honest... when you're dragging winter weight on your own bod, the extra weight of rotating carbide gets old fast. Plus, they aren't the plushest-riding things in the world, and we're looking at a bumper crop of potholes this year.

I tried some absolutely massive (700x47!) pneumatic donuts for a couple days. How? Well, let's just say that Bruce Gordon knew how to make a 29er long before that silly marketing term ever existed. My '93 BG ate those 47s like a snake dislocating its jaw around an egg. However, my fenders were just a skosh too narrow (oh, did I mention the bike took those tires WITH FENDERS? yeah, it's got some crazy clearance), so a lot of snowmelt spit out the sides onto my pants and shoes. Uncool. I figured it was either "buy wider fenders" or "go back to your trusty 700x32s." Being cheap, I went with the latter.

Temps have been over freezing all week, slowly wearing down our snowpiles, and we're supposed to see 50 by Sunday. Groundhog Day or not, I'm going to taunt winter one more time and declare that the off-season ends now. Who's with me?


Steve Fuller said...

I ended up not putting studs on any of the bikes this year. I went so far as to not mount the studded tires I do currently own (your hand-me-downs) onto a set of rims for a quick switch onto the trusty Singlecross. The Karate Monkey with the 2.1 Nanoraptors and the La Cruz with the 40mm Marathon Extremes got me through all of my outdoor riding this year.

With the temps staying solidly in the "cold as hell" camp rather than flipping between full on freeze and full on thaw this year, ice hasn't really been a thought for me until the last week.

Pete said...

This is the beauty of owning a dedicated winter bike. The studs never come off. But I am contemplating riding a different bike next week for many of the reasons you mention.

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

Pete -- I used to have a dedicated winter bike, but it was such a dog that I hated riding it. With a small garage, I think my compromise position for next winter will be a set of winter wheels that I can just swap in quickly. Much better than wrestling the Nokians on and off.