Ride In 1/3: A little snow

DC doesn't get snow much and much of the time we get it, it isn't much snow. Nonetheless, my employer granted us a late start this morning and I hit the road around 10 minutes after 10. The roads were for the most part clear, though the bike lanes and cycletracks were not. I didn't bother riding in the bike lane on East Capitol (thanks for that really close pass, MD driver!), though I did ride in the Pennsylvania Avenue cycletrack for 12 blocks and it was a mix of icy mess, bike tire tracks through the icy messy, slushy mess and icy slushy mess with a side order of frozen slush, mostly unfrozen ice, but no sign of frozen yogurt or slushie, which would require DDOT to cover the roads in a sugar solution and red dye no.5 instead of salt. My bike remained upright and I remained not injured, though I can't say I'm excited about riding this route home later. [I just remembered that I will be taking a different way home because I need to stop to buy dog food. Perhaps I will seed the street in front of me with kibble to provide traction, though the pups would vociferously object were they to find out about this plan. Good thing they don't read the blog. They only read good bike blogs.]

 A dusting

I rode Pennsylvania Avenue on the other side of the White House as well. It's a main road and I always try to stick to main roads on snowy days. They tend to be treated better and there was no snow anywhere on the street from 17th to M and then no snow on the street from M to Wisconsin and no snow on the street from Wisconsin to Massachusetts and very little snow on the street from Massachusetts to Ward Circle.

You ever notice how the drivers who don't brush the snow off their cars are the same ones who tend to pass cyclists too closely? I believe the taxonomic classification of this cohort is "assholes."

Today I wore a wool hat with earflaps, two coats, a fleece, a long sleeve shirt, wool tights, bike shorts (which have a hole in them and I need to replace), wool socks and boots. I looked something (ok, exactly) like this. I rode the Surly, which now is equipped with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, about which this the manufacturer has to say:
Punctures become obsolete with the MARATHON PLUS! The SmartGuard layer made from a flexible, special rubber offers particular resistance to shards of glass and flints. Even a thumbtack cannot penetrate this protective layer. The SmartGuard belt does not increase rolling resistance.
The MARATHON PLUS rolls as easily as a tire without protection.
I have yet to try to ride through a field of thumbtacks, but I could imagine a scenario whereby my bicycle and I need to flee an office supply store and this feature comes in handy. The movie about this would be called "Sharrows and the Staples of Doom." The sequel would be "2 Sharrows, 2 Many Unboxed Thumbtacks" and the trilogy would remain incomplete because while two movies about a bike commuter riding around and through dangerously sharp office supplies seem totally feasible, what would be left for a third one to say? 

Regarding the last statement in their blurb, it is a complete lie. These tires do not roll as easily as a tire without protection. But given the number of flats I historically earn, it's a compromise I'm willing to make. The tires handled the snow and ice fine. Probably because the roll as slow as all get out. They're heavy too. It'll take some getting used to, but I'm overall happy with them. Here's to no flats in '14.

1 comment:

  1. Here's to good tires (even if heavy). You don't know rolling resistance til you flat when you've got no spare tubes and you're nowhere near anything useful, and your significant other / available friends are not answering the phone, and you're in a rush. That's rolling resistance a slightly-heavier tyre only dreams of...