Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Snow Chains vs. Snow Wheels

Well, I rode to work with the snow chains, today. I was quite glad to have them on the way in. The roads were mostly snowpacked. with some icy stretches, and my speed was quite a bit slower than normal. But, I don't really get in a hurry when riding in the snow, anyway.

Good thing, too. About two and a half miles from work, I noticed that the rear tire was going soft.

"Great", I thought, "just what I wanted."

Any flat on a commute is annoying (and I speak from experience, of course). But, the snow chains make a flat a nightmarish experience. Each chain requires about 10 minutes of wrestling/tugging/cursing to install when you are in a well-lit shop area with all of your tools. The thought of trying to remove and replace a tube on the side of the road, in the dark, at 18 degrees F was not appealing.

So, I broke out the frame pump and aired the tire up, hoping that it would get me to work. It not only did that, but the tire stayed aired up and I rode home on the same tube, tonight.

I figure the liquid sealer in the tube got too cold and thick to work, and I either reopened a previously plugged hole (likely) or picked up a thorn in the snow (not bloody likely), and the thickened sealant just couldn't plug the leak. Once the bike was in the building, at work, and warmed up, it probably allowed the sealant to work.

Either way, I didn't have to actually replace the tube. For that, I am thankful.

Of course, on the way home after a sunny day, a good bit of my route was snow-free. Riding with the snow chains on dry pavement is sort of like riding on the rumblestrips along the side of the highway. After a while, I began to look forward to the snowy stretches. This made me think of snow tires, both the studded variety and the extra-wide/low-pressure variety. Either would make flat repairs more reasonable.

Coincidentally, when I got home these were in a box on my back porch:

They are SnowCat 41mm wide rims laced to LX hubs. I got them off of eBay for about the same amount as the last listed price for a pair of the rims, alone. Add in the fact that the rims are no longer available, and it becomes an even better deal. The wide rims give a mountain bike tire a wide footprint, and allow you to run air pressure as low as 8 to 10 psi on the snow.

I plan on using these on the Pink Bike to build up a snow bike (these rims were used on a lot of Iditabike race bikes). Depending on how well it works, I might just use that as my snowy-day bike, and forego the teeth-rattling chains on the tires.

Stay tuned.


Labels: ,


At 9:08 PM , Blogger katina said...

and I just keep having this vision of you riding a bike with square wheels.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home