Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In Anchorage, we don't mess around.

When it comes to riding on ice or protecting our loved ones. It's been quite icy lately, the same wide flat platform that does okay in snow really pays off on slick shiny ice. Much like a shotgun works so well at close range by placing several projectiles in a small spread out area so do the tires by placing several tungsten carbide tipped studs on a small area. Some of the ice we had was quite impressive I wish I'd gotten a picture or two, to a winter rider it would look scary, almost as scary as having a gun pointed at you. I no longer fear ice or much of anything . A slight addition eight hours later, I was reminded that ice demands a certain amount of respect. I'm going to be in a lot of pain. At least I'm not him.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I like mountain bikes

After thanksgiving we got some snow and road maintenance reminded me of the days when oil prices were low and the folks in charge of such things even more inept. There was a case of the post holiday slows.Followed by a brief mild cold snap. I can't complain. I had fun. Getting around was like going mountain biking only with cars. How do I know when were having a mild winter? When I start whining about not having done any trail riding the summer before. A regular to difficult winter I don't miss it. Earlier in one of my half-drunken can't sleep posts I referred to the weather changing sometime late in my early years. When I started it would get cold in October with some snow and it would stay cold until January or February then there would be a brief warm spell. The snow and ice would start melting, becoming wet, soft and slippery, then the temperatures would drop, everything froze back up until spring. Now it won't get quite as cold and the warm spells are more frequent. Snow, maybe get cold for a bit, melt, refreeze and like shampoo, repeat. That's the thing about Anchorage, sometimes the road becomes more like the off-road. If you asked me what sort of bike you need to work here? I'd say you need two. I'd skip over the whole fixed gear versus single-speed versus gears debate. There are good reasons to go with any of them and an equal number of good reasons not to go with any of them. It's all about what works for you, just try to keep things as simple as you can, the less time spent on maintaining your bike the more time you have for other funner things. I'd tell you to get one bike more on the road cyclo-cross side of things with room for a studded tire. Say, at least 700x35c with 700x40c being better. The other for big fat studded tires (well 2.3 is the fattest factory studs for now) on wide rims. You might be thinking about this, that and the other thing. If you have the dough they would come in handy but you might want to get a second set of wheels for it with slightly narrower rims and some Nokian's, maybe "29'ers" . They don't make tungsten carbide tipped studs in super wide yet and you'll need those more often for the nasty brown stuff over thick ice, you'll only really find super wide tires useful for about five days a winter when there's enough snow to cover most of the ice.