Bike riding in freezing weather can be great fun. Provided you have the right winter tyres.
Actually, I wanted to leave you this year and mothballed. The few winter weeks, would I be able to, even so, I thought. But then the temperatures dropped, and I got in my basement. Since they were still slightly dirty from the last year, but ready to use my winter tires.
I must confess that my Radleidenschaft in the Winter. I catch myself at the thought of a warm subway can also be a fine thing. Occasionally I give in to the temptation. But after one to two days on the side of bad-tempered commuters, with dripping nose and it drives me but then again on the wheel.
First of all, little pointed to a continuing love affair. The first encounter with a bike, in the Ralf Neukirch remembered, ended with a fall. But at some point, the Cycling of the need for passion was for the LEVEL editor. Since then, he holds it with John F. Kennedy: “Nothing compares with the simple pleasure to ride a bike.”
From the beautiful moments, but also the sporting, technical and personal challenges of Cycling Ralf Neukirch told regularly in this Blog.
The main problem is not the cold. For one, you can’t protect yourself against, even if it is just on the feet. On the other hand you can tell that heroic Suffering for Cycling. The French professional cyclist Gérard Saint has peed in 1957, the classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege on their own hands, so that he could move in the freezing cold. The path through the Tiergarten, I’ll deal with that just yet without such measures.
The real enemy of the cyclist, the smoothness is. The major roads are mostly scattered, as it is not a Problem. But the side streets or bike paths, so exactly the routes on which it moves as a cyclist, are treacherous. Small puddles, the freezing in Winter, can become a treacherous trap.
Lower tire pressure helps
Last Winter, a bike rider had to brake on such a small patch of ice and crashed in front of me, because in front of him, a car came from a side road and not on the bike path, but only on the road. This happens again and again. Cycling in the Winter is dangerous. But there are ways to protect yourself.
An emergency measure is the use of a lower tire pressure. This increases the contact surface and improves the adhesion of the tire. For this reason, the width of the tires in Winter are a Must. The best tires up to 5 inches, as they are mounted on so-called Fat Bikes. However, do not fit on normal wheels and therefore unsuitable for most drivers.
Useful the purchase of special winter tyres, as I have in the basement. Have a special rubber mixture for the Winter and offer more Grip in the cold. However, you have to think twice, what you need the tires. Some models, such as the Conti Contact Winter have a blade profile, with the ideal on-snow skiing. In large cities the Chance to ride through freshly fallen snow, very low.
With cars prohibited, the Bicycle allowed
Anyone who travels as I do throughout the year, for there is no way around the really hard Slippers: The winter tires with metal pins, the so-called Spikes. In the case of cars they are banned for decades, the Bicycle, but it is allowed. The Spikes are not sharp, as the Name suggests, but have a flattened, round head.
In order to plow over all of this, what may put in the Winter in the way of Fresh snow, slush, deep snow, überfrorene wet, bare ice. My tires, a Pair of Schwalbe Marathon Winter that I bought a few years ago for my former bike Trip. On the recommendation of my bike dealer, I have tried the tires on the frozen lake in our neighborhood. Perfect! Acceleration, braking, curves, no Problem.
Before buying, you should, however a couple of things in mind: tyres with Spikes to build up higher than normal tires. You have to make sure that there is enough space between the tyre and mudguard. Studded tires must be run-in addition, the best on a normal roadway. Then the pins are pressed firmly into their holders and do not fall out in case of an emergency. Because you will lose, nevertheless in the beginning a pair of Spikes, recommends the purchase of replacement sets in addition to the installation tool. It does not cost much.
Two drawbacks, there are
You should also consider on which routes you need the tires. Mountain bikers can choose from a wide range of spiked winter tires, but only in the terrain sense. For city drivers, two models are interesting: The Schwalbe Marathon Winter and the Schwalbe Winter. The latter is a stripped-down Version of the Marathon Winter, with only two rows of Spikes in the middle of the tread. The Marathon is equipped with four rows.
I bought the Marathon because I thought, the more Spikes, the better. Today, I would choose the simpler Version. Which is cheaper, lighter and is completely sufficient, if you don’t want to try just extreme Curve. The summer is the better Season of the year.
Two of the disadvantages of studded tires should not be concealed: they are significantly slower than a normal tyre. This is only partly offset by the fact that you can also drive through tricky passages fearlessly. And they are noisy, especially on Asphalt. You have to be prepared for the fact that the people after a turn when you drive past them. You can reduce the noise when you inflate the tire. But then they are less grippy.
In other words: Spikes are super, if it is smooth. You nervous, if the road condition is normal. Unfortunately, it can change from day to day. But no normal human being then changes each Time the tyre.
Extra bike for the Winter
There is only one completely satisfactory solution: You need for the Winter wheels.
This is less absurd than it sounds. Many people have an old bike in the basement or the Garage that you ride. For a couple of weeks in the Winter is usually sufficient. The main thing, the brakes are working. On a power circuit you can do without at a pinch, and pig launchers and rear light you can clip on.
It can be worthwhile to buy a cheap use Trad. More than 50 Euro, you don’t need to spend. A Winter, moreover, has the advantage that you can conserve will be a good bike. The salt on the roads broken eats up the chain or even the frame.
Because my old winter tyres are 26 inch big, but I only have 28-inch wheels, I’m going to do to me the old wheel of my son’s fit, the rust home. Then Spikes come, and I’m going, if the weather cooperates, a spin on the lake. Cycling in Winter can be really fun.