Monday 8 November 2010

Preparing for snow

I know it's actually only Autumn at the moment, and we've barely had any frost yet, let alone a single flake of snow, but preparations for the snow and ice in winter have begun.

The video shows what has been happening in Emmen. They've been trying all the equipment out to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises when winter arrives.

As a reminder of what winter is like, and how well these preparations work, take a look at the posts from last winter.

Emmen is the largest city in Drenthe. It's got a larger population than Assen, the capital of the province, where we live.

Oh, and we've got studded tyres if you want them...


Jon Bendtsen said...

When are you going to put on your studded tires?

Sirius7dk said...

Personally, I cannot see the need for studded tyres in winter and I newer knew that such tyres existed before I started reading cycling blogs.

I have been cycling in Denmark for years without using anything but normal cycle tyres (though rarely on ice) and I do not have any problems cycling through 5 centimeters of snow (because the snow plough has not yet covered the cycle path I am riding on)

However, I do imagine that studded tires would make a difference on cycle paths that has not been given any winter attention by authorities.

Rasmus Jensen

David Hembrow said...

Jon, Rasmus: For me, winter tyres are the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. My main fear in winter isn't of slipping and falling, but of getting freezing cold fingers trying to repair a puncture in the dark in ice and snow.

In fresh loose snow, you need tread on your tyres more than you need studs. Studs are for compacted snow and ice.

How useful studded tyres are depends on a number of factors, including where you live, where you ride (even in the same city, some people may stick to routes which are cleared, some may use routes which are not), how you ride and how cautious you are. It's possible with any tyres to ride for a long time in icy conditions without falling over, but a small patch of black ice on a corner will make most cyclists fall (or with three wheels, slip).

I've ridden quite a long distance on fresh loose fresh snow on a bike with 23 mm slicks without falling off. But on the other hand, two winters running in Cambridge I had a nasty fall in the same corner just a few hundred metres from my home due to completely invisible ice. Studded tyres would probably have prevented those falls.

I'm not currently planning to use studded tyres myself this winter, but I would probably have fitted them could I have found them when I lived in the UK.

Micheal Blue said...

It is good that you mentioned winter riding. I'm still curious how I will tackle winter. Dave, I'd like to ask you: do your cops ride bikes, too? If so, what kind of bikes and do they patrol the separate bike paths?

Micheal Blue said...

Dave, one more question. I very recently got Marathon Plus tires, but had such a hard time getting them on the rim (almost broke the plastic levers) that I had a bike shop do that. That go I thinking how I would replace a tube if I got a flat, even though it's not very likely with Marathon Plus tires.

David Hembrow said...

Hi Michael,

Yes, the police do ride bikes here. I've not covered it yet because I keep missing them doing stuff. They were training a little while ago in one of the parks when I went by (it looked a bit like this). Most police forces use Santos bikes (which are very nice indeed).

My friend Harry made a nice film showing how to fit and remove tyres without tyre levers. The Marathon Plus can be quite difficult, but actually I find the 406-47 size easier to fit and also centre correctly on the rim than the Perfect Moiree which he uses in the video. Still, if there's any chance of having to do it in the cold with numb feeling fingers, I think carrying a good set of tyre levers is still worthwhile.

Micheal Blue said...

Dave, thanks a bunch. The video makes it looks so easy I had to laugh.

Mark W. said...

nice video. I think this is the way every father in the Netherlands teaches his children how to do it. It is about the only thing we do to our bikes ourselves: repairing a puncture. So this is what you need to know.

Mark W. said...

About the police on bicycles.
By chance I managed to get six police officers in one of my latest videos.
(see it here)

* two on foot (2:44-2:50)
* two on a bicycle (3:39-3:54)
* two more on bike (4:48-4:54)

These four police officers all ride standard Dutch (up-right) bicycles. There is also police riding on mountain bikes, but -like David- I wasn't able to catch any of them on video yet either.