Sunday, November 22, 2015

Another winter

So another winter is starting is Oslo, in Lommedalen its a moonscape of tracks frozen into ice, sprinkled with gravel.  Really rough stuff.  On the roads, conditions range from bare pavement to black ice to thick rough ice.  The Nihola remains a good tool for hauling kids to and from birthdays, school and daycare.  I haven't put on any winter tires yet, but the tires are a bit soft and do the job well.

Oslo seems to have a growing cargo bike movement. But Norwegians as a rule are very serious about being hardcore, transforming stretchpants into every day attire, and when it comes to cargo bikes, they prefer two wheels. I assume to be sporty. I did see one of those turn-tilting trikes (Butchers & Bicycles) around. I don't understand it myself, but I presume because corning fast is very important. Nice bikes I'm sure, I'd buy a Bullitt myself except before that I'd get some other bikes. Priorities...

I think all the cargo cycles I've seen are electrified, sensible on hills of course, and important if you are to achieve high cornering speeds up hill.  However all the electric two-wheelers are vulnerable when traction fails, even for a short distance.  Trikes, including those with electric motors, suffer a much smaller penalty when they come into a situation where the drive wheel spins.  Its also pretty harmless to corner at a speed where the steering tires slide.  Icy ridges are amusing, not scary.  I think people in Oslo under-valuing this.  (Edit in spring: cargo bikes were invisible all winter.)

So I can screw around on icy ridges and steep hills with no winter tires.  I can use 100% of the available traction, no need for a safety margin (except for braking distance).  The winter tire (the back tire) can wait for winter to really arrive, and I can still get all the way to the center of Oslo safely.  Those two 20" winter front tires probably will go unused for the 3rd Oslo winter.  Long live the trikes.

(There is still the trouble that Niholas have poor front brakes, so I can't really say they are a obvious choice in Oslo.)