‘You might want to come out and see this before I destroy it,’ the other half said as he went out this morning to clear the ice off the car windscreen. I hadn’t realised but it had rained last night, and then froze hard, so that the car had been decorated all over with lovely delicate frost ferns.
Lovely but a tad dangerous, especially when you’ve a bike to fetch from the bike shop. I had big plans today that I would walk down to the village and catch the lunchtime bus (the other half being off with the car), pick up my mended bike and ride it home. It was a gloriously sunny sparkly sort of a day and the temperature had even crept up above freezing and I set off at first quite enjoying the wintry weather. This lasted about a hundred yards until I reached the first shaded stretch of hill and realised that even if I could walk up it, there was no way I could walk down the other side. And if I couldn’t walk it there was no way I was going to be able to ride. Back I waddled, penguin style, to idly google studded bike tyres and muse the practicalities of winter cycling when you live on a road that they don’t even pretend to grit any more now the school bus has been withdrawn. We love our empty quiet roads, but it’s a bit much to expect anyone to bother clearing them of ice. Especially as they’re more or less passable to those on four wheels as long as you weren’t planning on stopping in a hurry, or turning, or going fast. Just lethal to anyone on two feet or two wheels.
So now my bike is stuck in Bigtown, and I’m stuck in the house contemplating my options. I’m not sure that the economics of studded winter tyres really stacks up for me, although having said that it will probably now freeze solid until half way through March. I’m not sure I’d even trust them, faced with a stretch of black ice: it just seems improbable that they would work. Hmmm. Maybe Santa might oblige? I have been good…
Do you use studded tyres? Do they work? And are they worth it, or should I just face facts and accept that there’s going to be a week or two each year when it’s more sensible to take the car?