This winter has been a roller coaster of temperature fluctuations. With unpredictable regularity, we celebrate thaws of plus 6 degrees C followed by short periods of minus 20. The highways and byways of this fair city have been caked in rutted ice or water depending on the day of the week and the hour of the day.
This is the time when studs on bikes really come into their own. Studs feel in control, secure and at one with the road. The studded tyres really assist with this self delusion. Whether encountering sheets of newly frozen puddles or cruising over vast lengths of rutted ice terrain, the stupid cyclist has no fear when equipped with studs. Studded tyres are heavier than regular rubber by 2 or 3 times. They are noisy and generate excessive friction when travelling across bare pavement. I am constantly assessing the road conditions, each day I wondering when it might be best to remove my most excellent NOKIAN ice tyres. What is the optimal percentage of dry road to ice-covered frozen hell of the north that will allow me to go back to regular rubber?
Some say that studs are an insurance policy against hitting the floor. I know I feel a tiny thrill when my front or back wheel slips - and then everything starts coming up roses when a stud grabs the ice. I know all is right in my choice of equipment at that moment. But as I agonize about whether to change my tyres, I realize how trivial it all is. I really should be worrying about how I look, my koolness factor if you will, rather than my safety.
All you doubters eat my ice chips.