BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘marathon’

#365daysofbiking You picked a fine time to leave me

January 20th – One of the few hard frosts of the season so far greeted me as I left on my bike for work.

I was very, very glad on the cycleways of Telford particularly for the studded winter tyres: Surefooted and grippy as ever. There was a lot of black ice, and I never once felt unstable.

Sadly what did cause me problems was my back brake losing all bite: For some reason my pads chose this morning to wear completely out to the point at which they were just about useless. The crossover point between ‘These are OK’ and ‘Where’s my stopping power gone?’ was one braking action on a downhill.

The one set of conditions when you really need to leave the front brake alone and only use the back… Oh dear.

Luckily, there were no spills.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/30Pl41r
via IFTTT

#365daysofbiking Metal guru


November 19th – One of the reasons I was comfortable with the ice and frost was that I now have the winter tyres on the bike.

There’s nothing more painful than coming off on ice on a cold day – everything seems to hurt far more. To keep upright as far as possible I fit Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus tyres. They’ve an aggressive outer tread loaded with 240 tungsten carbide studs which grip the road through the ice to give purchase even when cornering. There’s a more continuous, subtle central tread which rolls well when at maximum pressure.

Riding these is noisy and harder than normal tyres – but there are no worries about stability – these grip beautifully, like the ice isn’t there at all. They’re also very effective on leaf mulch which I find a lot of this time of year.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/2qNT3JR
via IFTTT

December 4th – Although it suddenly got warmer over the weekend, I’ve taken the plunge (late this year) and fitted ice tyres to a couple of my bikes as I do every winter.

Slightly fatter than my normal road tyre of choice at 35mm, these have a pronounced tread more akin to a cross tyre, with 4 radial bands of carbide-tipped spikes that bite into ice and packed snow.

Last week was cold, but mercifully, due to the dry spell, not too icy, but a close shave with a frozen puddle concentrated my mind. Although noisy and draggy, these tyres won’t slip easily on ice and wash down slime and will make me feel more secure on those dark, icy commutes.

If you’re out on the roads in a cold spell, here are my tips for safe cycling, even if you don’t have winter tyres…

  • Stick to main routes where possible. Avoid backlanes and canal towpaths.
  • Ride on the road, out of the gutter where standing water freezes.
  • Take it steady, and ease off on the speed – particularly downhill.
  • Use your momentum and judge it – avoid braking where possible.
  • Turn gently without braking.
  • Use your back brake rather than your front, and pulse it don’t clamp it on. Just light touches.
  • Move with the bike. Go with it if it slides, don’t fight it.
  • If you lose the back, you can pull out of it with care. Lose the front and you’re gone. Bear that in mind in a slide.
  • Give other roadusers more space, and consider the consequences if they slide.
  • Let a little air out of your tyres to increase contact area.

Take it easy, folks.

December 28th – The winter boots are on. These Schwalbe Marathon Plus Winter are on their third season now. A 38mm 700c tyre with grippy central rubber tread, flanked by twin rows of proud, carbide studs, they grip well on black ice and make short work of snow. They’re not infallible but give me confidence when cornering and feel sure-footed and secure when the chips are down.

They are, however, noisy in use and not terribly fast; but they’re home for the next few weeks at least.

If you’re out on the roads over the cold spell, here are my tips for safe cycling, even if you don’t have winter tyres…

  • Stick to main routes where possible. Avoid backlanes and canal towpaths.
  • Ride on the road, out of the gutter where standing water freezes.
  • Take it steady, and ease off on the speed – particularly downhill.
  • Use your momentum and judge it – avoid braking where possible.
  • Turn gently without braking.
  • Use your back brake rather than your front, and pulse it don’t clamp it on. Just light touches.
  • Move with the bike. Go with it if it slides, don’t fight it.
  • If you lose the back, you can pull out of it with care. Lose the front and you’re gone. Bear that in mind in a slide.
  • Give other roadusers more space, and consider the consequences if they slide. 
  • Let a little air out of your tyres to increase contact area.

Take it easy, folks.

March 3rd – This is what happens when you ignore your gut feelings. This clumsy photo is my gloved had, turning a bike tyre inside out to show a hawthorn spine pushed right through it. Miraculously, it hadn’t yet caused a flat. I was very lucky.

I’ve been fettling the bike a lot lately, and fitted new tyres I bought last year. I thought them to be my favourite tyre – Schwalbe Marathon Plus. They are tough as old boots, and very resistant to thorns and other nasties. When I unwrapped the tyres, they were just normal Marathons – a lighter weight tyre without the tough protection. Not wanting to waste the purchase, I fitted the skinnier tyres. I rode them for a week, thinking they were OK.

Yesterday, I had two rear-wheel punctures on the canal towpath near Hopwas, both caused by Hawthorn, the curse of towpath cycling. As I came home, I developed a third slow puncture, and resolved to change back to a pair of Marathon Plus tyres when I could next day. 

As I came to do the swap tonight, I found the front tyre – which had been OK – had a 7mm thorn through, waiting to pop the inner tube. 

Schwalbe Marathon Plus are excellent. Marathons are a good tyre, but they’re just not up to towpath use, as I knew when I fitted them. Sometimes it’s best to listen to your instincts.

December 6th – It’s time for the winter boots again. A couple of times this week I’ve felt that queasy adrenaline rush as either the front or real wheel slipped a little bit while cornering. Such incidents are rare, but a wakeup call I always heed. Nature is telling me that it’s time to swap out the 28mm Marathon Plus tyres and throw on the 38mm Marathon Winter. These are a fatter, lower pressure road tyre exhibiting a chunky tread made from a soft compound with small tungsten carbide studs inlaid that bite into ice, mud and road debris. They’re noisy, don’t roll too well, but grip, even on black ice, like demons. They’re not cheap, but for any commuter who keeps going through rough conditions, I highly recommend them.

December 6th – The seasonal frosts came with a vengeance today, the roads and pavements covered in a layer of frozen rainfall. As soon as that happens, on go my winter tyres. The ones I use are Schwalbe Marathon Winter, in 700cx35, which have a pronounced, rubbery anti-slip deep tread and carry four rows of tungsten carbide studs, which bite into ice and stop you sliding away. Very effective in snow, this is the second winter for this pair, and they’re still like new. They’re noisy to ride, and don’t roll all that smoothly, but I’d rather that than land on my arse. They work surprisingly well, and cut spills to an absolute minimum. Highly recommended.