Saturday was a foggy damp day here in Pennsylvania. Unseasonably warm for January. 45 degree start and was above 50 by the time we finished. The sun even poked it’s head through the clouds for a few minutes, warming us even more. The evening before we had a few hours of rain showers and this left the roads damp almost tacky. Perfect conditions for the Holiday/Snowfalls treated tarmac to wreak havoc on our group ride.
There were 19 of us on the group road ride. There were 8 flats (9 if you count the broken valve stem during a flat fix) today. It was clear we pedaled through an agressive patch of gravel. It was when we realized the group was getting flats 3&4, at the same time too, that I asked everyone to check their tires and pick out what they could. It was a feeble attempt but worth the try.
As I watched the flat changes, my friends running their gloved hands over their spinning wheels I observed something. Almost everyone had their summer tires on. (I was able to make this observation because I was not worried with my tire/wheel set up. More on this below.)
Hence this blog post. Over the years I was taught AND learned a few things that really improved winter road riding. I’ll share them with you.
WINTER CYCLING TIRE SELECTION/SETUP RECOMMENDATIONS
1. If you can’t afford a whole new set of tires, I have had great succes with Mr. Tuffy tire liners. Easy to install and they really do work. These were essential for winter riding in State College, PA. I was dirt poor back then too. A good friend Chuck Bednarczyk turned me onto these things. I used them back in my BMX days (1980′s) as well!
2. If you can afford yourself some tires then get yourself a more durable pair! Lightweight “racing” tires are to thin to ward off the type of shredded slag, glass, stone gravel that is used so commonly here in the mid-atlantic.
Two tires that have stood the test of (winter) time:
*one more will be listed below
3. Go tubeless! A fine setup is obtaining yourself a Stan’s NoTubes converstion kit. If you have Mavic Ksyriums you won’t need the kit. All you’ll need will be a pair of valve stems, some sealant and tubeless ready tires.
If you have Shimano tubeless ready wheelsets you’ll need the Shimano valves, some sealant and tubeless ready tires.
4. Ultimate setup: Stan’s NoTubes Alpha wheelset with Hutchinson tubeless ready tires! This is my current set up and I’ve been very pleased. Not only am I able to experience the beautiful ride that tubeless provides but (jinx) I have not flatted (jinx) in over two years! I’ll take this as proof! Note: I run the Hutchinson Intensives (I highly recommend these tires) almost all season. For road events the Hutchinson Fusion 3 is brilliantly good.
So do yourself and the rest of the group a favor. Put on the appropriate rubber for the winter, then ride with confidence!
For my local community:
Have more questions about Stan’s NoTubes and their products or neat first hand help with setups? Let me know and I’ll help you out.
If you would like to demo a set of Stan’s Alpha road wheels w/ Hutchinson tires you can message me via Facebook, Email or Twitter. You must provide your own SRAM or Shimano cassette.
BONUS WINTER RIDING TIP: Get yourself some WRAP AROUND STYLE fenders!! ESSENTIAL for those wet rides. Keeps your bum and toes drier. Also reduces road spray through the group and keeps your water bottles free of gritty road grime. Stay dry to stay warm!
ps – if you have another tip, tire recommendation or fender recommendation; post it up as a comment! #community.