Last evening after the shop closed at 6pm, I rode my Ice Cream Truck, which is no lightweight, to weekly family dinner at my in-laws' palatial estate in New Brighton. I've done this ride many times (on at least 4 or 5 different bikes) by now, following one of the Google Maps bike routes through South Minneapolis, the U of M, Nordeast, and into New Brighton, for a grand total of 13 miles. Typically, with stoplights and other interruptions, this takes me around 75 minutes, even on a "summer bike". Along the way, I rode some bike lanes adjacent to high traffic streets. The bike lanes on these streets tend to accumulate a chaotic mixture of snow, rutted road slop, and ice chunks, in addition to the ever-present cracks and potholes. It was dark and cold (single digits Fahrenheit), and there was a persistently stiff headwind. These unpleasantries combined with traffic whizzing by a few feet from my left elbow had me ready to throw in the towel and head for home. But I tend to embrace a challenge, so I kept pedaling. My Dillinger 5 studded tires earned their high price tag time and time again, allowing me to pay attention to the traffic situation while they got a firm bite into the unpredictable road surface. After I got through the craziest part of the trip, in the area around the U of M, I checked the time. Because of the wind and the fact that I was riding my heavy wheels with studded tires, I was expecting to be later than usual, but I was making surprisingly good time. I pressed on. When I rolled into my in-laws' driveway, I checked the time. Total travel time: 67 minutes, which I believe to be a personal best. I wasn't trying to break my record. I just wanted to be on time for dinner.
What does it mean that I achieved one of my best times on a familiar route, while wearing heavy winter clothes, rolling studded tires, and fighting a freezing headwind, without actually trying to be fast? I think it means that the high rolling resistance of fat tires is a myth. Fat tires are definitely heavier and slower up hills, but on flat ground, there is nothing to lose. I'd actually make the case that the fatties are faster simply because I could ride through the shit without being careful to pick a line through the winter road hazards.