View Full Version : OK, with the possible snow this weekend...

M Cook
12-12-2008, 10:04 AM
tell me what I should watch for? When should I not ride? Are DIY chains worth the trouble?

12-12-2008, 10:53 AM
tell me what I should watch for? When should I not ride? Are DIY chains worth the trouble?

Watch for? Ice, snow is like riding through leaves or grass. IMHO ice is a nightmare!

If you use disk brakes, you can get away with using zipties for that studded tire effect, but I'm not sure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

If you do find yourself out there riding, remember not to go any faster than your protecting angels can fly.


Things to look out for:
Glossy ice
Soft spots
Seeps (places where you regularly see moisture when conditions are dry)


Rubberside Down!

12-12-2008, 04:17 PM
So, you just wrap zip ties around the tire and rim? Brilliant!

steve knight
12-12-2008, 08:07 PM
I would not worry too much seldom have weather alerts come true. I think they make weather reports up just to get people to watch.
I have watched schools close with a weather report that never happened.
snow and Ice are all I don't ride in the roads are seldom in good enough shape. and way to many idiots out.

12-12-2008, 08:40 PM
Watch for? Ice, snow is like riding through leaves or grass. IMHO ice is a nightmare!

If you use disk brakes, you can get away with using zipties for that studded tire effect, but I'm not sure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

If you do find yourself out there riding, remember not to go any faster than your protecting angels can fly.

Rubberside Down!

That is a great idea. Now if I had disk breaks.

I agree with the actual snow on road and riding. Bad idea. People in Portland don't know how to drive, yet alone drive in the snow. But I would not hold my breath that snow will hit the vally floor till I actually see it.

steve knight
12-12-2008, 08:45 PM
I got the disc brakes but on my recumbent. not the best bike for slippery roads.
last time we had that super heavy snow they never even plowed 82nd. the traffic was gone and we walked down the street because the snow was more packed there.

12-14-2008, 08:40 AM
As anyone can see this morning, for once they got it right. I don't have disc brakes, so the zip tie trick is out. I've always had a dicey time riding in snow. Anyone have tips for the average road and/or hybrid bike rider?

12-14-2008, 11:21 AM
Go slow, pedal easy. You don't want to be jerking yourself around by pedaling.

I unclip for most turns, with at least 1 foot near the ground, it should make for a more graceful dismount. Try not to lean... and both feet near the ground going downhill. Your rims may ice a bit, so the Flintstone stop may be in order.

12-14-2008, 03:45 PM
Last January, I slid out on an icy turn and broke my leg. So my advice is: don't ride in the ice and snow if you can avoid it.

If you have to ride, go slow, ride in a straight line as much as possible -- no sharp turns -- keep your weight on the back wheel, and use the rear brake rather than the front (you can usually recover from a rear wheel slip, but if the front wheel slips, you'll slam down with no warning). Also, I agree with Psyfalcon about unclipping for turns.

M Cook
12-15-2008, 06:00 AM
I gave it a shot this morning. I equipped my wife's fixed gear with off road tires and attached some zip-tie chains. The problem was all of the slush that refroze over night. Hit some black ice early and went down hard. Just ended up with bruises, but there was no way I could have made it in this morning on the bike.

12-15-2008, 09:57 AM
I thought I should give it a shot, but I slipped on ice on the road right in front my house. The snow yesterday was ok to ride in, but the ice this morning was more than I could handle with my road bike.

12-15-2008, 10:06 AM
I've been having this problem with the rear brake... I'll use the brakes while I'm riding, and then it locks up, and the cable keeps poping out of the housing... I'm wondering if the ice has somehow frozen up the return spring (I can't see any build up on my visual inspections)...

I'll stop and manually work it a couple of times, then it'll work again for a little while.

Planning on limping it into the shop tonight and see if they can figgure it out.

Be Careful Out There!

steve knight
12-15-2008, 01:06 PM
could be water in the housing that has frozen. but if things are not perfect the cost will only make it worse.

12-15-2008, 11:57 PM
Last year on a very cold morning, I once had my rear disc brake seize up. I locked it up and walked from there. I came back once it was above freezing, and the brake worked fine. I too figured that it must have been water in the housing or elsewhere.

12-16-2008, 07:32 AM
Has anybody ever tried machine screws for DIY studs instead of sheet metal screws? They would probably be more difficult to install, but they wouldn't be as sharp/dangerous to get near. I haven't tried riding in this ice, partly because I value my limbs and partly because my wife would kill me if the streets didn't... but the DIY studded tires sound like a fun project to try.

M Cook
12-16-2008, 07:51 AM
I'm going to give the DIY studs a try tonight on a front wheel on a fixed gear cruiser. I was going to do it last night, but the hardware store was closed. The only problem I have with the bike is the seat is so low that I would love to stand up on the hills, which is a bad idea.

Chain of Fool
12-16-2008, 09:26 PM
Inspired by K'Tesh's cable tie snow tires, I laced up each wheel with 20 ft of poly twine and a rubber band to pull up the slack. Two miles round trip to the Post Office over ice and snow and and it did well going about 8 mph. I was proud of my clever invention as I approached home, and decided to test the limit. Would it hold in a panic stop? Answer: NO ! I'd just ridden two miles on the edge of disaster. Thus proving once again that it's better to be lucky than smart.


12-16-2008, 11:11 PM
you can buy studded bike tires. i've seen them in various shops.

M Cook
12-17-2008, 05:52 AM
Yeah, but trying to buy studded tires at this late date isn't probably going to happen. besides:
1) It's an excuse to DIY
2) I don't like spending money on things I don't have to.

Anyway, I did my own last night and it worked like a charm. I tried it out on the ice and had no trouble. The only scary moment I had this morning was going down Oak Bottom. I let off the fixed gear for a moment and let gravity get the better of me. Still, I Flintstoned and recovered. I only did the front tire but it seemed to do the trick. Just a few slips trying to climb some hills. I might have to walk it up Oak Bottom tonight, but other than that I should be fine.

12-17-2008, 08:00 AM
One of my co-workers just told me about one of his former co-worker's (different employer) solution to riding on ice... Carpet tacks and duct tape...

This guy took off his good tires, then pushed carpet tacks through a pair of old tires. He protected the tubes by using several layers of duct tape. Apparently worked like a charm.

Nailed it...

12-17-2008, 08:04 AM
Inspired by K'Tesh's cable tie snow tires, I laced up each wheel with 20 ft of poly twine and a rubber band to pull up the slack.

( I could attach a jpg, but I guess I don't have access to that feature )

I don't see why you can't attach an image... If you can post, you should be able to add attachments... Here's links to the image threads:

Policy on Image attachments... (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2364)
Posting Images (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1592#2)
More on Posting Images (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2226)

Please try again... (I'd love to see it!)


M Cook
12-17-2008, 08:04 AM
That's pretty much what I did. I used 1/2 #8 sheet metal screws and dust tape to cover the heads. I was amazed at how well it worked.

12-22-2008, 03:46 AM
Brian from BIKEmpowered here –

I love to ride in most snow - and did for years in Michigan. The crusty stuff that we now have in pdx (as of Sunday pm) is a hard fight. The crust forces the front wheel to the side to much to keep enough forward speed - wants to turn too much. Finding slopes of soft snow to slalom down was a hoot. BUT – in terms of equipment and handling these are my tips:

Handling –
1. Snow over 32 degrees gets very slippery very quickly. Ice w little or no snow over it will be more slippery too. See below for testing slip.
2. 26x1 3/8 or equivalent metric (35mm) are a good width.
3. Keep enough weight over the front so front wheel holds the line you want (at least more or less – a bit of snow wobble makes the ride exciting). Most weight will be in the back to keep up your speed. Avoid going too slow that you have to stop, start, stop, start. Get a good tempo going and try hard to keep it up.
4. The deeper the snow – the lower the gears.
5. Try to follow (depending on snow depth) car tracks. It’s easier - just like xc skiing.
6. Lower your seat so it’s easier to touch the ground
7. Test the snow’s ‘slipperiness’ very early in the ride and when you’re going fairly slow and straight. Do this by gently and quickly waggling front wheel left to right a little bit to see whether front wheel wants to turn left tor right, just wants to dump you, or some in between reaction. Increase the amount of side to side waggle until you find that point where “x” amount of a turn will make the front wheel start to slide.
8. Avoid braking w the front unless really needed - and based on your slip test.
9. When taking a left turn (for example – reverse instructions for right hand turn), lean your upper body over to the left, so when you turn your bar. The bike is as fully upright as possible. This makes the bike press down vs. to the side/to the right of your line, which makes a huge difference whether you fall or not.
10. Keep your feet ready to fly down to the ground
11. Let your front wheel ‘find’ its way a bit, a soft touch on the handle bar in most snow will help. keep lots of power (not so much as to cause slipping though) coming from the rear wheel, and gently guide the front where you want to go

Tire traction
For caliper-braked bikes: get an older tire and drill 3/4 inches from the tire's center line holes 2” apart to put in ½" screws (ointy is good, but more dangerous for nearby mammals) w very broad and flat heads (to cut the odds of a puncture). Place a strip of duct tape all around on the inside to put a smooth barrier between the screw head and the top of your tube. No need to over inflate. Slightly squishy is good.

Disc braked bikes: let out most of the air, put on lots of big zip ties with the zip tie 'knot' near the contact patch, nylon rope (wrapping in a spiral all around and tying off tightly), metal chains could hurt your rims – I don’t advise them. Inflate your tires and check for a snug fit. Or use the screws approach from above.

Final note – if you’d like me to coach you and yours in these techniques – send me a note and let’s get a class together. Brian @ brian@bikempowered.com

12-24-2008, 12:30 PM
Was poking around looking for some kind of recumbent snow trike when this caught my eye...

Scrapes after sliding my bicycle on the ice

http://static.flickr.com/35/103870877_23ad1a0f48.jpg (http://twwilliams.com/blog/2006/02/24/scrapes-after-sliding-my-bicycle-on-the-ice/)

It's a couple of years old, but still, look out for slick spots.

Rubberside Down!

12-24-2008, 12:36 PM
The Story of the Bike Plow


and the pushable version...

http://www-bdnew.fnal.gov/pbar/organizationalchart/peterson/snowplow_files/2004_01_11/89M.JPG (http://www-bdnew.fnal.gov/pbar/organizationalchart/peterson/snowplow_files/Bike_Plow.html)

Now that looks COOL! :cool:

12-25-2008, 01:23 PM
The Story of the Bike Plow (http://www-bdnew.fnal.gov/pbar/organizationalchart/peterson/snowplow_files/Bike_Plow.html)

The plow is a cool idea, but looks as if it would ride above the snow and ice, and not below and through the ice. Plus, you'd want it on the front, so you could get enough traction to push through the snow.

12-26-2008, 06:24 AM
you'd want it on the front, so you could get enough traction to push through the snow.

I've always found that I have a better time of moving in difficult situations with a trailer, rather than trying to push. Prime example, grocery carts in slush. Think about this, how did pioneers plow their fields? They used horses to pull the plow. Pushing when using muscle is not a very effective means of clearing a path.

I don't think that the plow is designed to leave bare pavement, but to create a clear(er) path through the snow, and prevent the buildup of ice from people stepping in the same spot repetedly. I don't know about you but I'd rather step in someone's foot print than create my own, when I'm worried about walking in slush/snow/ice. That causes the footprint to form an icy lump whereas the softer, untread snow melts or blows away. In reading the article that I linked to, the creator talks about how it aids in sublimation (snow evaporating, rather than melting), and melting.

Was thinking that if I won the Lottery, I'd actually think about buying a snowmobile (gasp! ME buying a petrol powered vehicle!) and making a plow like that to clear paths for cyclists and peds at a much faster rate than nature or our own public services can or will. I can see myself clearing the Fanno Creek and Springwater Trails.

I'm hoping that other readers with the skills needed, might create their own plows to help the rest of us. Any takers?

Rubberside Down!

12-26-2008, 09:29 AM
Well, what do you know, I found a bike powered "pusher" type snow plow...

http://www.elektrischkite.com/Bicycle/Gallery/Assets/snowPlowBike.jpg (http://www.elektrischkite.com/Bicycle/Gallery/pages/westBank.htm)

I've seen an image of perhaps that bike in opperation, but the site blocked image borrowing...

and here's another pedal-powered (quad) "pusher" type plow.

http://www.treehugger.com/kev-on-plow_v2.jpg (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/02/bicycle-powered-snowplow.php)

There's even a video of it in action (http://www.c3ktogo.com/news-video/?mgid=14769).

I still stand behind my previous post though...

http://www-bdnew.fnal.gov/pbar/organizationalchart/peterson/snowplow_files/daveplow1.JPG (http://www-bdnew.fnal.gov/pbar/organizationalchart/peterson/snowplow_files/Bike_Plow.html)

Rubberside Down!