Saturday, January 11, 2014

Studded Tires are the Bomb!

So the first week or so of the year started out quite chilly. For several days I commuted back and forth to work with temps just below or just above 0 degrees F. The back streets on which I commute are ice packed and slick. One morning last year, under these conditions I hit an ice patch and went down hard causing several injuries that kept me from riding and running for a couple weeks. This year I bought a pair of studded tires. These things are the bomb!

These make Ice seem like normal pavement
In the winter I commute on my home built single speed. A bike I built from an approximately 20 year old Schwinn Homegrown mountain bike frame and spare parts I had in my garage. It’s not much to look at but it gets the job done. Having only one gear significantly cuts down on the maintenance requirements of riding in cold, wet, and snowy conditions. The only issue I have with the single speed is when climbing I almost always have to stand up. Under the slick conditions of winter, with no weight on the back tire, I often slide out. Not so with the studs! Now I can climb up roads of almost solid ice while standing with barely a slip. I’ve seen cars fishtailing and swerving all over the road while I just pedal on. I’m amazed! I ride primarily bike paths and side streets to and from work. Many of these side streets have sections of mirror like ice. These can be a challenge to even walk. With studded tires, no problem!  After over 25 years of bicycle year round commuting I finally tried studded tires. I don’t know why I waited so long!

Not much to look at but gets the job done!
Living in Colorado means big critters hanging around the front yard
I had a little mishap on my road bike that ended up trashing the frame. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but the chain wrapped around the derailleur, locked up my back wheel, snapped the derailleur, broke the chain, bent the derailleur hanger into the cogs, bent the cogs and front chain rings. It was about a four mile walk home in bike shoes. Frame not repairable. So a late Christmas present has arrived – a brand new Specialized S-Works Roubaix frame! This frame was designed for long rides. So the first thing I did was take in on a nice hilly 60 mile ride. I like it!

Maiden voyage on my new ride
With the New Year kicking in, I’ve began to get back in training mode. I’m looking to do the full Rocky Mountain Endurance Series again, as well as the Tour of Colorado, the Gunnison Growler, and a multi-day mountain bike trip, among others. With the cold and ice I’ve had to resort to the trainer for specific workouts before heading out on the single speed to work. I’ve also incorporated strength training and Max loves to help out with the ab work!

Max helping with Crunches