There they are. Hanging on the basement wall. They’ve been there since mid-April. The Schwalbe Marathon Winter Studded tires. My favorite studded tire.
I have the task of mounting them on my commuter bike once every year. With my current commuter set-up I dread it. I’m running Velocity Blunt rims. A rim notoriously known for being very difficult to mount tires onto. Factor in the Schwalbe tires that tend to be difficult on regular rims, let alone these “tubeless” rims. Getting these tires on this rim is an exercise in finger strength and lots of grunting. I have a history of tendinitis in my elbows. By the time I get these tires mounted my fingers are raw and my hand strength is gone. I can’t even pick up a glass for the first four hours.
Why today? Two reasons. I always wait to the last possible day to mount the studded tires. Winter can arrive anywhere from the last week of October until…well… like this year, the last week of December. I wait because the tires will stay on until mid-April. They come off once there is no longer a chance of winter storms, of the April variety. And no longer ice in the morning. The other reason for today is the Annual New Year’s Day ride with a local club I belong to. It happens tomorrow at noon. I’ve made it every year for the last 12 years. Well, except that one year I was recovering from the broken humerus bone in my right arm. The bone I blasted into 13 pieces. A story for another time. Anyway, I want the security of studs while riding in a group. Lots of icy patches around right now.
I’m happy to report this went okay this year. It was still incredibly tight. I’d like to think an added year of experience helped. But, it might have been the large quantity of soapy water applied to the bead of the tires that got the tires over the edge of those rims this time!!
Happy New Year