If you are anything like me, you probably put on a few pounds over Christmas. Damn you mince pies, why do you have to taste so good! I for sure have worked through my winter stash and its definitely time to break the bad habits and gluttony that becomes oddly acceptable in December.
It’s time and get back out on the road. The commute is an ideal way to clock up some serious miles over the winter. When mixing it with the traffic, it’s only right to feel a bit nervous when slush is falling from the sky and freezing on impact with the tarmac. The glistening of the road may well be the greatest nemesis to cyclists everywhere. Ice on the road can spell the end of your winter cycling career, even if you want to get out there, you are going nowhere if you are not well prepared.
Don’t surrender to the winter months, get yourself some proper winter tyres. If properly prepared, then the foul weather needn’t be such a big concern. You’ll be buying the confidence you need to commit to winter cycling on all but the worst conditions on the roads.
Here are some tyres suitable for those who ride mostly on the roads, they offer puncture resistance and will lure you into a false sense of security, so much so that after 10 miles of slip free riding, you’ll dismount and immediately go skating down the footpath in your cleated shoes.
A good pair of studded tyres will allow you to corner and brake safely in the depths of winter, even on ice. Just remember to leave plenty of time for stopping! If you are lucky enough to have spare wheels, you can keep these aside for days when the temperature risks dipping below 3 degrees Celsius and quickly swap them out if the weather catches you off guard. If you don’t use them every day they should last you many many years. I’ve heard of people running studded tyres for 10,000 miles. If you use these 10 weeks of the year, you’re going to have these for a fair while, so consider them an investment. Just a word of advice, break them in on the roads before it snows, this ensures the studs are bedded in firmly and will not be lost in the slush.
Schwalbe Ice Spiker 26 x 2.1 with Kevlar guards are ideal for bikes running wider tyres. They might be heavier than you are used to but they will get you to work safely. Remember, a tougher work out isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all those mince pies. I recommend this particular set as you will notice the studs are plenty and are well spread around the tyres. On some cheaper sets, you will notice fewer studs, and particularly no studs closer to the tyre walls. By choosing these tyres, you don’t sacrifice safety while leaning into turns, so unless you cycle to work in a perfectly straight line, opt for these!