Winter riding: Wet Leaves on Trails?

timacn

Active Member
I want to burn off some Holiday calories and I have a question. As an older rider, I worry about riding on bike trails that go through forests as wet leaves are pretty slippery. I used to do this all the time when I was in my twenties and thirties, and took several nasty spills, but as I approach seventy, I don't want to go down hard (or go down at all) on wet leaves or black ice. Two of my favorite trails, The Susquehanna River Trail (Columbia, PA to Bainbridge, PA) and the C&D Canal route (between Chesapeake City, Maryland and Delaware City, Delaware) both run through forests for part of the way. (especially The Susquehanna River Trail) Does anybody know if the crews that maintain these fine trails remove the leaves from trail surfaces? If not, do any of you have any tips for negotiating leave covered surfaces (possibly frozen leaves) in winter time?
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
With extreme caution. I ride a flat foot frame and can use my legs as outriggers while still seated. But it's nerve racking.I'm and older fella somewhat unable so I avoid those situations. I tried studded tires but it was still a challenge on ice and wet leaves. I found better trails and paths for winter rides.
 
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rich c

Well-Known Member
Frozen leaves are not nearly as bad as wet leaves. Wet leaves can be like grease and the very worst is wet leaves on wooden bridge decks. They don't keep me from riding though. What's an older rider? I'm 69.
 

Latitude

Well-Known Member
Went down on wet snowy leaves yesterday in the woods… not sure if they were at fault, but my foot hit a stump and I was thrown into a downed branch. My nose got the worst of it. Good thing I had a first aid kit on board, and some snow.
My tires are Schwalbe Marathon 365, and they are generally pretty good in fresh snow, not ruts or ice.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Does anyone know whether studded winter tyres (ones with spikes) prevent slipping on frozen leaves? Because such tyres are ideal for ice (including black ice), and I have tested it out thoroughly.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Does anyone know whether studded winter tyres (ones with spikes) prevent slipping on frozen leaves? Because such tyres are ideal for ice (including black ice), and I have tested it out thoroughly.
The studs would need to penetrate to solid ice reliably to get a grip, or something else that's solid/unable to move (bricks?) Point being, it would not be something I'd trust 100%. Deep leaves, or leaves over/under slush or something would still be pretty scary...

Used to run studded snowmobile tracks. On ice they were pretty incredible. On snow deep enough where the studs couldn't engage the rock hard ice well enough, they were just about useless.
 

mclewis1

Active Member
Region
Canada
City
Fredericton, NB
My studded tires go on when the leaves drop for just the reasons mentioned above - layers of wet leaves on smooth pavement are treacherous and my studded snow tires make a huge difference. Yes, they don't perform as well or feel as nice as my summer tires but I'm not riding the same distances so the reduced efficiency isn't an issue (and getting a bit more of a work out is helpful in the cold), besides it's more important that they keep me upright.

My snow tires are the 45nrth Kahvas in 27.5x2.1" and I tend to run them between 20-40psi. They also have a reasonably aggressive tread which helps in situations like deeper snow or deeper leaves (anywhere the studs don't make contact with a solid surface). These aren't fat tires or even serious MTB tires (so I don't ride in deep fresh snow or on rugged off road trails) but they do perform well during late fall and all winter on my mix of streets and paved/gravel MUPs around my city.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Northeast Pennsylvania
I rode the paved & leaf covered Rail 66 trail in western PA last month. It was like ice in spots

IMG_1134b.jpg


In addition to being slick, it was hard to see the edge of the pavement. There is a considerable lip which can cause a spill if you drop off. I passed a woman who did just that. Luckily, she wasn't hurt and there was no serious bike damage. I talked with her a bit until she calmed down and was able to continue.

At one point, I passed an ATV towing a small trailer with a gas powered blower mounted on it. He told me he cleans the leaves off the 30 mile long trail several times each fall.

Maintenance crews do the same thing on the paved Western Maryland Rail Trail. They have a blower mounted on the back of a large tractor to do the job.

I have never seen any leaf removal done on the C&O Canal Trail though and it can be treacherous in places.
 

Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
Bring your speed down to reflect the road conditions present...... Straight line runs are not much the problem, it's when you lean into a turn or turn the handlebars off center where the potential problems begin. Save the downhill bomb runs and heroics for the warmer weather. And use the widest possible tire you can that your rim will accept to give you the largest possible tire footprint.

I like the fallen leaves season on the trails. It keeps the dirt and muck collected on the bike to a minimum!
 

Latitude

Well-Known Member
I just decided this weekend to up my game with winter tires… my Marathon 365’s have been good in all terrain and snow but I have had a couple of falls. Not so good at 67 years old. So I settled on a pair of Marathon Winter Plus 50-622 studded tires, the widest my bike can take. I had a very frustrating experience trying to order them online from Schwalbe over two days… couldn’t get it done even though I have ordered from them before. Called their phone number in Canada out of frustration, got a wonderful Kiwi on the line right away (based in Canada), and my tires are on the way, at a discount. Didn’t expect that. Kudos to Schwalbe!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Marathon Winter Plus 50-622 studded tires
Same as ones I put on my Vado for the last and this Winter!
I had a very frustrating experience trying to order them online from Schwalbe over two days…
We cannot order from Schwalbe here in Poland but there are many online outlets in Poland or Germany selling them. Ordering two Marathon Winter Plus 35-622 was very difficult. I could order a single tyre at each of two different stores, making the full set. It look the region is empty on some tyre models and sizes!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Norway has a great studded tire maker.
Ya but you pay a hefty tax for using "piggdekk" for cars in Norway (specifically in Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim) :) The reason is the studded tyres damage asphalt and create a lot of dust. The studded tyre tax is one of "ecological" taxes of Norway.
 

mclewis1

Active Member
Region
Canada
City
Fredericton, NB
Ya but you pay a hefty tax for using "piggdekk" for cars in Norway (specifically in Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim) :) The reason is the studded tyres damage asphalt and create a lot of dust. The studded tyre tax is one of "ecological" taxes of Norway.
Stefan, Yes but for cars only. My Norsk isn't that good but AFAIK there is no additional tax on studded tires for any two wheeled vehicles used in those 3 cities.

Norway has a great studded tire maker.
Tom, Who's the Norwegian tire company? In Scandinavia I only know of Nokian and Suomi who are both Finnish.

The others that I know about who make studded bicycle tires are Schwalbe (German but made in Indonesia by Swallow Tires). 45nrth (US), Continental (International, parent Germany), Kenda (Asia), ARISUN (fat tire only, Asia), Terrene, and Bontrager (fat tire only, Trek).

Anybody know of any other studded bicycle tire manufacturers/vendors?

I wish there was more of this - https://mountainculturegroup.com/canmore-studded-bike-tire-rebate-program/
 
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