Friday, January 20, 2012

It's not too late to turn around and take the bus

The above picture is yesterday Thursday around 4:30pm downtown Spokane. I had made it to work fairly easily as most of he main streets I rode on in the morning - Driscoll to Alberta to Belt to Broadway to Monroe - had miraculously been plowed. The side streets were another story. As I found out riding home Wednesday, the Schwalbe Marathon Winter 700 X 35 tires I have on the Scratch and Dent bike are great on hard packed snow and ice and also deep powder, but not so great in the loose packed snow and tire ruts. A lot of slipping and sliding and being pulled this way and that.

I didn't count on it snowing all day Thursday, so it was with a little apprehension as I set out for home. Sure, I could take the bus, but that stubborn streak from my Scottish-German heritage took over. I was going to ride my bike no matter what, and save the buck-fifty bus fare!

Usually a 25 minute ride at the most, it took over an hour of riding through Riverfront park, on the streets, on the sidewalks, walking and pushing/pulling the bike through the snow to get home.  But I made it.

Today my wife had an appointment downtown, so I gladly accepted a lift from her. It was a little disappointing when I filled out my commute calendar, though, to have one day filled out as carpool and the rest in January as biked to work. I did see a few bikes downtown today.

I'm thinking maybe I should've gone with the Schwalbe 40 or 42 wide Winter tires, but I'm not sure they would've worked any better.  Probably need the fat tire solution for these conditions. I've also been eyeing the tires on my mountain bike - I think I'll take it out for a test spin. I might also replace the front studded tire with a 29er tire and give that a try this weekend.  


  1. I don't think the 40 mm tires would have worked any better. Hell, in the conditions you were riding in, I'm not sure 4" tires would have helped - deep ruts in dense chunky snow is just flat out tough riding.

    I do think you have the best all-around studded tire out there. The thing about winter riding that I've noticed is that there are so many variables in road conditions that no two rides are ever the same. Sure, some tires will work better than others for certain things, but I've tried lots of different Nokians and Kendas, and what I really appreciate about the Schwalbes is the low rolling resistance on hard-pack and bare pavement. Some of the others make you feel like you are slogging through molasses. That ends up being a pretty big deal after awhile.

    All just my 2 cents, of course.

  2. Thanks that's good to know, I'll probably stick with the 35's. I was really surprised how well the tires roll. The first day I rode them on bare pavement I took it slow, but after a couple days I realized I could go just about as fast as I normally ride on regular tires.