When I was up at Arrowhead 135 last week I got the chance to meet Bill. He’s a biker and we got to talking about winter riding. I mentioned that I’d like to give some winter riding a try, but I really couldn’t sink two grand into a fat bike right now. I said that I was thinking of starting out by getting some studded tires for my cross-bike and see if I would use a fat bike enough. That’s when Bill, being an amazing guy said, “Hey, I’ve got some used studded tires that don’t fit my wife’s bike. Would you like to buy them?” So earlier this week I met Bill at a local taproom and made the deal for some nice 45NRTH Gravdals
Tonight I got them put on to my bike, almost without incident. On the second tire I was starting to pump it up, when suddenly it burst. I have no idea what I did wrong, but I suspect I pinched something in the tube when I was mounting the tire and just wasn’t paying attention. After my ears stopped ringing from the explosion I grabbed a new tube and put everything back together. I’m reminded how much I hate mounting my rear tire, but I’m getting better and better at it.
Of course, after I got it mounted I had to take it out for a test run. I just went around the block but immediately noticed the difference. The streets around my house are a mix of packed snow, which was nice and smooth, and about an inch of choppy, messy, snow. What I seemed to feel with the studded tires, was that if I just let them do their job, everything was fine. I felt my tires slip a little from side to side at times, but the studs gripped and got me back on track.
I’m excited to try a bit more riding this winter. The next step is to figure out more wind-proof clothing, as even on my short ride I felt a lot more wind than I wanted to. I can also see a lot of benefit to pogies for my hands. I just wish they weren’t so expensive. A friend of mine suggested a ride to a brewery this weekend, and I might take him up on that. That will be a good test of what I can do in the winter, and how much longer I can extend my biking season.