“Have you changed your tires yet?” It’s the question on everybody’s lips. Its that time of the year. Transition. From the cool of summer to the frigidity of winter. From light to darkness. From wet roads to icy roads.
So we must change the tires. There are two types of winter tires. One is the hobnail variety – normal tires with hundreds of little steel studs which bite into the ice and snow to prevent sliding. The other is a completely rubber friction tire, which is as effective in some conditions as the studded ones, but without the steel to break up the asphalt.
We have used the studded variety – dubb-däck – as they are called in Swedish. But two of ours need replacing. An icy day in early March this year saw us stuck at the bottom of a slippery slope up north in Orsa. As we spun the front (drive) wheels repeatedly on the frictionless surface the studs must have been torn out. We eventually got up the slope, but the tires were fairly destroyed by the time we got there.
So we still have summer tires on and are a little reluctant to drive at night when the temperature drops below zero. But the days have been sunny and warm (up to seven today) so there is no danger once the sun comes up.
Thankfully the local council has not yet started salting the roads. Salt lowers the freezing point of water and keeps the roads safer for a while at least. Once it gets too cold for salt to make a difference there is still gravel. But that is used mostly on cycle paths. Helps a bit. But better to get winter tires for the bike too.
Winter tires. Another sign of the cold months ahead.