The Secret to Winter Bike Riding

Jerry'sBikeTires 001.jpgIn a recent exchange, Jerry Bilek, owner of Monkey See, Monkey Read, accused me of being a wimp. As a guy who generally doesn’t lightly pass on a challenge, I had to follow up.

I had admitted that although I try to commute to work by bicycle at least four days a week during the Spring, Summer, and Autumn, I take the car during the winter. Unless it’s ten below or colder, I run outside all Winter, so it’s not the “eager and nipping” winds that keep me off my bike, it’s the slippery surfaces. Jerry commutes by bike year round. He told me that the secret to success is in the tires.

Here is a photo of Jerry arriving at work this morning, as well as a close-up photo of the tires, the Nokia Snow and Ice 160s…or something like that… They are made in Finland, where they’ve got even more snow and ice than Minnesota.

Jerry'sBikeTires 002.jpgI appreciate the fact that Jerry is so determined to keep riding his bicycle, even during the winter months. It’s really great that he’s leaving one more downtown parking space available for a shopper or a diner. However, even if I had the special tires on my bicycle, I’ll admit I’d still be a little hesitant about riding on ice and snow.

Hey, Spring is just around the corner…


5 thoughts on “The Secret to Winter Bike Riding

  1. Thanks Ross,

    the tires are Nokia Mount and Ground w160s. 160 being the number of carbide studs in the tire. I have not had an accident since mounting these tires on my old bike. Mike at Mike’s Bikes has helped keep this old bike running smoothly. In the spring, I’ll switch back to some slicks.

  2. Ross, thanks for publicizing the fact that people DO bike in winter!

    Jerry, you are one of the local winter biking heroes! Others include Dan Kust and Eric Johnson. Even on very cold days, I often see someone biking in town.

    I’ve biked the last three winters but probably not as much as Jerry. I ride if it’s above 20 degrees and not too icy. The cold is hard on my hands and feet, at least until I can afford a velomobile! I also added ski goggles and a balaclava to my equipment, and they help as well.

  3. I was off my bike for two-plus months because of a broken ankle (freak cross country skiing accident), but am now back on the road. There’s no need to fear winter biking: Jerry’s studded tires are definitely a good idea (and have been used by Eric Johnson for many years as well), although I’ve ridden carefully with regular knobby mountain bike tires for years, with no accidents. I should probably invest in the studded jobs for added winter safety.

    Proper clothing is the key to enjoying any outdoor activity in bitterly cold weather. With the right layering and minimal exposed flesh (balaclava!), just about any weather can be relatively comfortable.

    No need to wait for spring, Ross. Get that bike out now!

  4. Lol I bike year-round on a 40 year old shwinn, through Canadian winters (middle of the country too [harshest winters]), on commuter tires (very little treads), wearing a balaclava, snowmobiling mitts, sweat pants (over jeans), and a Vietnam era peacoat with a zip-up sweater underneath it.

    I’ve literally biked from one end of my city to the other during a blizzard at -55C.

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