Biking is up, even, and especially, in the cold

  • Article by: JOSEPHINE MARCOTTY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 20, 2013 - 11:26 PM
  • 72
  • Comments

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nkozelDec. 15, 1110:12 PM

I wonder if studded tires are worth it. I've ridden wide knobbies (non-studded) for the last 10 years and I slipped down on ice just once. Granted, shiny ice means no harsh turning or braking, but one fall in a decade of winter riding seems to indicate that studs don't add that much. But I'm curious what others think. Regardless, winter riding is fantastic so I hope more people join in the fun.

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cjansaDec. 15, 1110:46 PM

Let's no forget pedestrians in all this - as the roads get snowy and traffic gets heavy these bikers are consistently coming onto the sidewalks and disrupting walkers!

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jtriceDec. 15, 1110:53 PM

Making this city biker friendly should not mean "car unfriendly" but that is the direction new roadway infrastructure is taking.

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partsunknownDec. 15, 1110:58 PM

I was riding until this melt, as my bike wasn't properly fit to handle the watery mess, on slicks. I found that as long as I could see the terrain, I was comfortable and able to control my bike. I would still like a different tire set, and maybe one studded tire, just for the case of being on a packed snow street or icy, rutted trail.

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whatupwitdatDec. 16, 1112:04 AM

This reminds me a little bit of the South Park episode that focused on people driving Prius... too much of anything is not good and balance is needed. Do I like that more people are biking, of course, but I also think that when it comes to biking on city streets in poor weather, i.e. heavy snowfall, more bikers should opt for public transportation.

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jgarboDec. 16, 1112:09 AM

@nkozel...what it comes down to is skill, and it sounds like you can ride confidently either way. Studded tires give me a sense of security in sketchy conditions, so they are worth the price for me. I recommend the carbide version, they last longer in my experience.

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karlgerstenbergerDec. 16, 11 4:58 AM

I'm in my fourth year of winter biking. A new ice cyclist has a lot to learn. Studded tires will not save you from all hazards, just like a helmet will only benefit you in certain types of impacts. I am an off peak commuter and consider the roads challenging enough with light traffic loads. I also have a route that is conducive to avoiding car traffic. On days when my commute is delayed to "primetime" I am shocked at how much more aggressive and difficult the conditions become. Riding on an arterial street in the snow is potentially aggravating and dangerous for everyone involved. Side street are far easier and I believe safer to travel. Dedicated paths are a dream come true! Be safe out there.

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winsettzDec. 16, 11 6:23 AM

Last winter there was ice so smooth that even my studded tires could not get any purchase on it! That said, studded tires are less necessary as skill level increases, but it certainly doesn't hurt to ride with them. Even moreso if you are one of those "sidewalk cyclists", as the sidewalks seem to ice over faster than the roads. As for any cyclist, one of the primary reasons to switch from road to sidewalk is because the traffic sucks or the car drivers are jerks or road conditions are just dangerous. Should we pin that on the cyclist as if they had an anti-pedestrian agenda? That said, the bike lane almost always gets the snowblower junk from sidewalks and the dozer blades clearing the street always push it into the bike lane...do you expect a cyclist to just stay in the lane and suffer for the amusement of car drivers?

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songczarDec. 16, 11 7:52 AM

@jgarbo @nkoze - I agree on both counts. I have been a year around biker for 20 years and only ride with regular mountain bike tires in the winter, but there has been an occasion or two I wouldn't have minded the spikes.

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william16Dec. 16, 11 8:28 AM

Very cool news from a local economic benefit standpoint. Besides the direct economic boost to businesses that get support and/or benefit from more bicyclists and pedestrians (bike shops, restaurants, etc.), this also adds to "quality of life" experience that many new businesses and employees seek in a community--esp. well-educated, well-compensated white-collar employees. Yet bicycling/walking can also be beneficial for lower-income people--it takes a much, much lower percent of income to bike (or walk) than to own/operate a car year-round.

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