Saturday, January 16, 2010

A foghorn would have made it perfect

After many weeks of non-biking, the drought has been broken.

Since the mercury climbed above freezing, and the QBF with Nokians was just itching to be ridden, I donned the gear and headed out into the fog. Pretty darn thick, too.

I lit up the QBF and attempted to make myself as visible as possible. I layered up and hit the road! How did they fare? Positives: they stick like glue in hard snowpack and even on ice. I rode around town up and down a few snowpacked streets and had no problems maintaining control. I even forced a couple of skid stops (at slow speed, of course) on some ice and even though the wheel skidded it was quite controllable. Very happy with winter performance.
Negatives? Well, I decided to ride out to my folks, about 10 miles. The county road out to their house is paved until the last mile or so, and was completely clear. Riding studded Nokians on pavement is like, well, riding in snow. The studs seem to stick to the pavement as well as snow and ice, to the detriment of rolling resistance. Riding up paved hills with fixed gear and heavy studded tires? Let's just say 20 miles today felt like a half-century in good weather.

I was sure happy to have them once I hit the gravel, though. The roads out in the country aren't well plowed, so I rode intermittently through snowpack, ice, gravel, and mud. The Nokians were in their element there. Turning into and riding up my folks snowpacked driveway should have been drama filled and nerve racking...instead it was no sweat at all.

My overall impression? Excellent winter tires...they weren't inexpensive but definitely worth not falling on my arse in the snow. I sure don't want to ride them any long distance on pavement, though...what a workout! Maybe I just need to get into better shape. The humming noise as I rode reminded me of driving with studded snow tires, for those of you who remember studded auto tires (they're illegal in Iowa).

The fog...the fog was giving me fits. I decided to wear my glasses today, a mistake. They immediately fogged up and stayed fogged during the entire ride, totally covered with moisture. I ended up riding with them on my nose, looking over the tops. Yes, that gray blur in front of me must have been the road :>) Just keep it between the ditches. Every time I heard a car behind me, I pulled off the road and waited for it to pass. Most cars on that road were driving without lights on and I didn't want to risk getting rear ended. I did have my reflective vest on and a taillight. Unfortunately, the battery in my taillight was draining and it was getting pretty dim, so I was afraid vehicles would have a hard time seeing it especially in the fog. I should have taken my Planet Bike strobe taillight with me..that thing is impossibly bright for a battery powered light and I'm sure it would have been visible.

With all that, I still made it home in one piece which made it a GREAT ride anyway. Nothing more invigorating than a nice, chilly winter ride!


1 comment:

Travel Gravel said...

Yay! Big D bustin' some drifts! I went fixed Tuesday, and with slick tires, and had no problems. Provided the weather isn't too bad, I'm riding to Ames this Tuesday to pick up a new set of wheels.