Breaking In The Studs

It had been nearly two weeks since I’ve ridden a bike outdoors.

Then I rode for an hour Thursday.

It wasn’t exactly the best day for a ride, but the Finns made me do it.

As I reported in my last post, I bought studded tires for my mountain bike.

The tires were made in Finland, and according to instructions in multiple languages on the tire labels, which I discovered while mounting them on my bike, I have to ride them for 30 miles on clear, paved roads.

It took me a while, but I managed to mount the studded tires on my mountain bike.

Normally, 30 miles would be a pleasant weekend afternoon ride for me. But holiday activities and weather have kept me indoors.

I had an hour or two Thursday morning and decided I’d better start breaking in those tires even if the wind chill was 0 and it was snowing lightly.

I drove a mile or so from home to about a block from U.S. Highway 12 because the streets in my neighborhood are pretty icy – one of the reasons I bought those studded tires.

But the shoulders on the highway are wide and almost always free of snow and ice. That made it seem like the best road to use to break in the tires.

It runs east and west, which meant I was pedaling into the wind as I left town.

It was so cold …

How cold was it?

I was so cold my bike computer – a digital odometer, speedometer and clock – slowed down. Its liquid crystal took much longer than usual to switch from one readout to the next. And parts of numbers and letters appeared at different rates.


I’d put toe warmers in my biking boots. They’re supposed to heat up for five or six hours thanks to a chemical reaction. The pair I used were duds.

The wind wasn’t so strong that I was fighting it, but it seemed I was going slower than I

The cold was almost too much for the display on my bike computer.

should. I was working hard to achieve speeds of nine to 11 mph.

I decided riding 10 miles – a third of the required break-in distance – was good enough for that day.

As I approached Kandiyohi, I began to worry that the cold was not only affecting my computer’s display, it might be impairing its computing.

I was on the outskirts of the town and the display indicated I’d traveled about four and a half miles. From my house to Kandiyohi is a distance of well over six miles.

Griping to myself about how bike gear ought to tolerate more extreme weather than the computer obviously could handle, I realized I’d driven about a mile to Highway 12.

Curses, I had had another senior moment.

On the way back I had a tail wind that made averaging 13 mph a breeze.

Just 20 more miles to go.