I can’t tell whether I find myself in a real riding conundrum or whether I’m just maybe a little too lazy. I’ll let you decide.
Currently, I have three bikes that are suitable for winter riding, two mountain bikes and a gravel bike. I own studded tires for two of them. Those tires hang from the rack in the garage that I devised purely for the purpose of storing all the various tires I have amassed over the seasons. I went through a period when I was frequently buying new rubber, just to try out various combinations to see what I liked best.
So I have tires.
The thing is, all those bikes I just mentioned are set up tubeless, and they’re stable, by which I mean they’re done well, not leaking air, not oozing sealant. They’re solid. I feel loathe to mess with them. When is the last time you swapped tires on a tubeless rig? With a tubed setup, I can change two in about 5 minutes. With a tubeless set, it probably takes me 10 minutes to pry the first stupid tire off the first stupid rim.
And yet, my Wednesday ride buddies persist in planning and executing cyclo-capers in all weather. I have missed the last few sessions, because I’m just not set up for ice and/or snow. And you know, just sucking it up, and trying to tag along without studded tires leads to a level of frustration (and possible injury) I just can’t manage.
Here’s where I confess that I also have an extra set of gravel wheels I could set up with studded tires and tubes. I just need an extra cassette, or (gasp) commit to swapping the cassette from one wheelset to the other. It’s not a major operation, but I haven’t even sifted through my tools to find the cassette lockring thing-a-majig or the chain whip with the hex slot, or whatever it is I need.
So tell me, this week’s TCI Friday wants to know if it’s the problem is me or the tires. Are you tubeless? Are you studded? Are you riding this winter? How do you manage it? Extra wheelsets? Not being lazy? I’m all ears.