What Annoys Me … #20 Grit and Salt on My Cyclist’s Paths

Today, I really have reason for being grumpy!

After all, I quite enthusiastically and in the best of moods started riding my bike from my home office at Riemerling to my real office at Unterhaching. Even the weather was absolutely fantastic. Full of inner contentment, I navigated my way through the streets, even though they were quite dirty from all the New Year’s Eve fireworks. But I looked forward to the view of the Alps from the cyclist’s path between Ottobrunn and Unterhaching.

After 1.5 kilometres, however, the joy was over! Another puncture! This time it was the front tyre – last time, when we rode home from the Eisbach (nice coffee bar in Munich, just behind the opera house), it had been the rear tyre. And again, the reason was grit.

These days, grit contains such small particles – and they seem to be as sharp as glass. Well, I must admit that I go by bike quite often. Even in “winter”. Consequently, the probability for me having a puncture is higher. Besides, I rode my “inexpensive” winter bike at the time.

Because I wanted to protect the expensive Utopia bikes against all those tons of constantly more aggressive salt. The “inexpensive” bike is a Corratec 29. It cost 1,200 €. I admit that experts advised me against it at the time. Now I know why. It just has too many sub-standard or unsuitable components.

Among other things, it must be said that the tyres are from Vredestein. Since it is a number 29 (another one of those sham packages by Corratec – the bike is, of course, a number 28), they are look-alikes of the Schwalbe Big Apple. To be sure, the Vredestein tyres are less expensive than the “Schwalbe Big Apple” (which is why they are part of my bike), but they are rather unwieldy. If, for instance, you have a puncture and have to change tyres, you will not enjoy it. And, of course, they are also heavier by ten dekagrams. But three punctures caused by grit in such a short time are definitely a little (too) much. I wonder if it has something to do with the name Vredestein?

In order not to look unfair, I must admit that I also had a puncture caused by grit with my Big Apple. Basically, I am just annoyed with myself for having bought an inexpensive bike. And I am only very slightly angry about the inexpensive Vredestein tyres not being resistant against grit at all.

What makes me a lot more angry is all the salt and grit being distributed all over the cyclist’s paths. They seem to make distributing salt and grit a major pastime. Even if what we have now hardly deserves being called winter at all. After all, this generosity is not only bad for me. It is also bad for nature, the vegetation and the ground water. And since I know a few salt merchants, I also know that it is, first and foremost, just business.

To make up for it, however, the roads are never cleared of snow. In my opinion, the first thing should be to thoroughly (!) clear the roads. After that – if it is really necessary – they might think about distributing grit and salt at some really critical spots, like approach inclines or crossroads.

For us bikers, this would be more than sufficient. After all, we can use spikes for our bikes. You take them if winter will actually arrive. Consequently, we need neither grit nor salt!

So what do I do?

I have no idea. This is again one of those cases where the authorities are overly caring. They try to help, but they actually do more harm than good. And I try to use those roads where there is the least grit and salt.

🙂 But google maps does not offer a parameter for this.

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