Thursday, December 8, 2011

Commuter, winter style

Long Haul Trucker with 26x 2.1
Richey Speedmax Pros

There were some complaints about the snow and ice in the bike lanes over the last few days. Seems to me that one cannot ask for perfection after a storm. On the other hand, one can equip one's bike to deal with some imperfections. I had a set of Richey Speedmax Pro tires in 26 x 2.1 inch size sitting in boxes, since the bike I bought them for has been out on indefinite loan for some time now. They look nice with their blue sidewalls on the blue Long Haul Trucker, and boy, do they look like they will eat up snow. I've always liked Richey cross tires and these, too. They ride smooth and fast. One can get truly gonzo with 1 kg each studded snows but somehow that seems to defeat the purpose of a light, fast bike. Of course, a heavier bike might stay upright...

Lets leave the fast summer tires for better weather, OK? If cycling is about saving energy, including the energy it would take to scoop up every bit of snow, it also means riding on a bike that can handle a certain amount of bad winter road. That doesn't let the County off the hook entirely, but is a reasonable accommodation to reality. Plus, there is no way to scoop up black ice. Lets be careful out there and ride for conditions.

In response to Steve Avery, here is the Adventure Cycling review of the Surly Long Haul Trucker.


Chris said...

Great advice. I've been out and about on my mountain bike recently - which is actually a folding bike. I've been thinking about studded tired, but haven't made the leap yet.

Steve A said...

26" wheels on a touring bike? I'm clearly in need of some "bike friendly" education. In the words of PL, "Help me Obi Wan..."

JerryM said...

Your LHT looks like an extremely useful machine with all the different types of 26 in. tires out there.

I put some Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires (26 x 1.75) on my Mountain bike for commuting on those few slippery days we get here in town. These tires are really heavy duty, difficult to mount, and are REALLY slow rolling with very stiff sidewalls. Guess I shouldn't be in a hurry if its icy.

Khal said...

Steve, the Long Haul Trucker comes in 26" wheels for the smaller frame sizes and 700c can be had for 56 cm and above.

On the LHT, I take a 50-52 cm frame. So I can only get the 26". My initial thoughts were to build a 700c bike but I heard enough good things about the LHT that I decided to try it. Besides, I had a nice set of 26" wheels in the garage looking for a home. Its really an experiment--I wanted to build and ride it before deciding on a long term touring bike. So far all I've done is commute on it and its great for that. The wide range in tires that can be put on it, and I have room for even wider than 2.1", makes it amazingly versatile.

I suspect touring would be good too. Adventure Cycling reviewed this bike favorably.