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Gear Prudence: My friend asked me if I swapped out my bike tires for winter. I said no because I don’t have other tires, and he said that I should buy some with treads for additional traction. He said I would “definitely crash” without them. While I don’t want that, I also don’t have the money or inclination to buy a second set of bike tires. Do treaded tires really make that much difference or can I keep the ones I have on there and be fine? —Good Riding In Perilous Precipitation, Yes?
Dear GRIPPY: Keep your same tires. Assuming that they’re not worn thin or have any other substantial deficiencies, there’s no real reason to swap out your tires to face winter weather. Keep in mind that GP would offer a totally different answer if you were inclined to purchase new tires because the desire to buy more bike gear should always be indulged. The advantages of grippier tires are numerous in adverse conditions (and this is why mountain bikes and those taken on tough terrain have knobby tires), but if you’re sticking to the same roads that you normally ride, your current tires should be sufficient even in the winter wet and muck. Rather than get new tires, ride with slightly lower air pressure than normal. This will allow a little more of the tire to touch the road surface, increasing stability and grip. —GP
Gear Prudence: Get this, someone stole my bike seat. It’s not even a nice or expensive one, and I doubt it’s worth anything. What the hell? —Plenty Annoyed. I Never Imagined Needing To Have Extra And Superfluous Saddle
Dear PAININTHEASS: What the hell indeed? GP surmises that the primary motivation of your question is to express outrage (and rightfully so!), but the secondary is an inquiry into why someone would steal your inexpensive seat. Theories abound, but perhaps it’s best to be grateful that the thief didn’t pilfer your bike and leave the seat behind. Maybe the crook just liked the look of it, or perhaps he grew tired of riding his own seatless bicycle (that would certainly drive someone into a life of crime). Or he could’ve been motivated by mischief alone. Regardless, it’s time to accept it and move on. New seats can be had cheaply (even cheaper if you’re willing to buy used), and you can even invest in a locking seat collar to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Or you could start taking the seat post with you whenever you leave your bike. Wield it like a scepter or use it as a conversation starter. Conversely, you could skip countermeasures entirely and just hope that it doesn’t happen again. Doing nothing is always easiest. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about cycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.