Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Global warming?

Yesterday we set a record low for the date. -32.4C (-26.32F). They say it hadn't been that cold here since 1813 or something. How good was their weather equipment back then anyway? Nasty nasty cold!

Today it warmed up a bit....to -25C when I left for work. The cold isn't the problem though, it's the ice all over the roads. My Schwalbe snow studs just don't cut it, by a long shot. On Soots, or even any other bike for that matter, those studs are good for the occasional little patch of ice. Right now, on all the road around town, there are ruts that can be 6-10" deep that are solid ice.

It's gotten to the point that I've reverted to re-studded the ice spiker tires I had last year. It's a long and slow process, but I'm over half done. This year though, I've made a few changes. The resistance on the studs last year was so great, that keep any forward momentum require a lot of consistent effort. Not that it's a bad thing, but when you're reward is reaching a top speed of 8-10mph, it's a little disheartening. This year, I'm taking the same approach, running the pan head screws through the square tread block, covering the head with duck tape and then running a second tube as a liner over the tube that will be holding (hopefully) the air. The difference: I'm cutting the screws down with bolt cutters, so the screw will only be about an eighth of an inch proud, rather than a quarter inch. This should make it roll a little faster (still going to be a slow tough slog) and I'll be able to retain the claw like traction that I get when the studs dig deep into the ice.

(This picture shows last years version of the spiker tires)

I'm also building the studs up around a frame that hasn't seen action lately. My trek. The bike that started my serious bicycle commuting. Some mustache bars, maybe a 7speed cog in the back and a shimano bar end shifter from the parts bin. Hopefully in another week I'll have it all together.


Pat S said...

Those ice spikers are seriously hard core, Jerome.

coastkid said...

spike tyres..nice!!, strangely i would love those conditions here..just once to experiance it!.is it what they call a dry cold?,horrid damp cold here..2-4 celcius air temp but alot colder in wind,

Jerome said...

Hey pat, yeah, they are. I was perusing your studded tire posts, and I was close to getting the 294s for my Karate Monkey. How are you finding hte Marathons?

Coastkid, it is a dry cold for sure. I think just one experiece would be good. I do know what you mean about damp cold. I worked in Oakland CA for a while, and when it got cool there, it seemed to cut to the bone.

Pondero said...

If I ever encounter cold like that, I'll be indoors...in bed...in a sleeping bag pulled over my head...under a blanket...wimpering.

Anonymous said...

My experience with homemade studs has also been that more studs with minimal protrusion is much better than the really fierce looking long ones. You can see mine here: http://tinyurl.com/6n5n24 Val

Pat S said...

Jerome, we just got our first snow last night, so I haven't had much chance to try the marathons. But I'm only counting on them to get me over some long distances on mostly clear, icy roads. They won't be much good for ruts or junk.

The 294's were awesome, especially if you ran them at relatively low pressures. The drag was really high, though, and it was just too much work to push them over the longer distances. If I didn't have as far to go they would be perfect. They float over junk and climb out of ruts really well.

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