Today marked my first solid snow ride on Robbyn the Surly Ice Cream Truck. She's seen snow before this, but not for so many miles, or at the tire pressures only fat bikes can run: today I rode with my tires at 6psi, a whole psi over their minimum 5. The feel was completely different from even running them at 8psi. Those numbers continue to 🤯 my mind.
This view presaged one of the problems I ran into: in places where the MUP ran near the street, the MUP was plowed, but not after the streets were. The street plows tended to straight destroy any nearby MUP. Here, it wasn't so bad. In other places, the chunks were thicker and harder frozen, making for challenging progress. At one point, I simply ducked into a neighborhood to ride convoluted but smooth-frozen streets rather than risk eating sh!t and falling onto a busy 4-lane road paralleled by what is usually a really nice MUP.
I think I'm proud rather than embarrassed to say that I ride this tunnel frequently enough to be able to judge the depth of the puddle which appears following rain or melt events by its width. In this case, riding it would have meant getting my feet wet. That actually wasn't the deal breaker as I was wearing waterproof boots and hiking gaiters. The deal breaker was the ice, which didn't photograph well.
It was thick enough that I wouldn't have broken through until I was fully out on it, at which point my estimation of depth gets important. More importantly, I couldn't predict how hard it would be to break through the rest of the ice by riding through it. I turned back in favor of an alternate route. Had the ice merely been a skin over the water, I like to think I'd have tried it. I have crossed here when the water was over hub and BB deep. Not in freezing temps, however.
Note the snow still remaining on the tree branches. The storm was more properly of the spring rather than winter variety: heavy, wet, sticky snow. Lots of unhappy trees.
What a great day to be out on the trail.
Note the depth of the snow to the right where the plow hasn't been. It's reduced a few inches from yesterday. That's one of the great things about the Denver area: we do get snow, but it melts quickly.
Once I got used to the feeling that I was riding on flat tires due to my chosen crazy-low (for me) 6psi, Robbyn showed me why such low pressures are valuable through this kind of section. Can I ride it with narrower tires? [email protected]
straight, and in far worse conditions than these (given narrower, studded tires). Can I do it as easily, with minimal thought and effort past pushing those huge, fat tires? Nope. At 6psi, the rolling resistance was significant on bare pavement. Well, significant over and above the huge tires and aggressive tread. The moment the bare pavement ended, I understood why it was that the added rolling resistance there was totally worth it.
This section was fun: everything outside the pair of tire tracks was loose and deep. The tire tracks were easy, but keeping to one or the other was less so.
There is a subtle break to the right on this hill. I never knew it until my front tire kept trying to dive that way throughout the ascent.
What a great ride.