NYC got hit with its first major snow storm of winter yesterday. Snow is pretty in NYC for a few hours and then unfortunately is starts to turn into brown, garbage riddled slush. Some people do not want let a little thing like snow keep them from riding their bike.
Over the years Bike Hacks has been online we have seen a few different solutions to riding in the snow and I thought I would pack them all into one entry for easy reference. If you have any ideas, suggestions, or links that are not posted feel free to comment or send them to us.
Solution # 1 - Zip Ties
Several readers recently sent us a link to a recent post on DutchBikeCo.com entitled "Snowpocalypse." The entry shows a simple (but I am not sure very durable solution) involving zip ties. The post states:
It's quick, it's cheap, and yes, it looks completely ludicrous. BUT. It works. It works beautifully.
For a full account visit the DutchBikeCo.com entry.
Solution # 2 - DIY Studded Tires - Screw In
Over on the mountain biking forums, ZeCanon posted an awesome tutorial on building your own studded bike tires. He says that it cost him about $5 per tire and took him about two hours to do both tires. Not a bad investment of money or time for what look to be some bombproof DIY studded bike tires for riding in the snow.
The basic approach is to get some old (or new) knobbies and screw in some hex-head screws on the tread blocks. Depending on the thickness of your tread blocks and the length of your screws, you may have a little point sticking out toward the tube. Grind that thing down with a Dremel tool. You'll also want to protect your tube with tube protector strips or duct tape, as well as use some puncture-resistant tubes. Great tutorial!
Solution # 3 - DIY Studded Tires - Screw Out
Same concept here via wikiHow. A much sharper and deadlier version of Solution #2.
A comment from a reader on a post from a long time ago reads as follows:
Screwing from the inside out not only keeps those sharp points away from my precious precious tubes, it also makes it a lot less likely to come out after riding over dry asphalt once the snow goes way, etc.
One trick to screwing them from the inside out is to predrill. THIS you want to do from the outside in, since it'll be hard to predict exactly where the knobs are. use a 1/16 inch drill bit, and hit the center of the knobs. once you go all the way through the tire, you'll have a hole on the inside in which to start the screw.
I also found this fantastic video.
Solution # 4 -Pop Rivet Ice Tires
Yet another variation on a theme comes from Instructables. In the intro the author states -
"There are other methods for DIY ice tires (like sheet metal screws in mountain bike tires), but these ones made with pop rivets are elegant and suited to narrower tires used on hybrid/cross/touring bikes."
Solution # 5 - Skibike!
Mountain Bike Omaha has a post about a nice looking homemade ski mount for a mountain bike. I wish there were some instructions for the build, but you kinda get the idea. One would most definitely need a capable studded tire on the back to make this idea work.
A company that took the idea of a ski bike to another level is Ktrak. They have developed a system that integrates with your current bike - and it looks extremely cool to boot. The FAQ portion of their web site answers questions such as -
Is it hard to install?
Will it fit on my bike?
Will the Ktrak work on a hard tail or a full-suspension bike?
In their promotional video they seem to pimp the add ons as a means of recreation on downhill slopes. Being an avid snowboarder I personally think it looks pretty lame. I might rent an equipped bike to try it out for the heck of it, but after I likely broke my collar bone falling off the bike I would heal up and go back to concussing myself on my snowboard.
Nonetheless, give the company credit for a pretty dope product. Be sure to check out the digger a dude takes at the 1:04 mark . . . ouch!! Seeing people ride bikes rather than carve that fresh powder on a snowboard makes me want to weep.
Solution # 7 - DIY Bike Chains
The following photos come from the Flickr Photostream, Squirrels Cycling Lyfestyle. With $24.95, and a flame producing device capable causing great harm to anything it comes into contact with, he was able to make his own bike tire chains.
The final product is beautiful. I am curious as to how long they actually last. Back in the day I seem to remember breaking a few of my own car tire chains and seeing the roads littered with them during major snow storms.
This picture is just awesome. All that heat must make a cold beer taste very refreshing.
The final product is fine looking.
After viewing all of this one might mutter, "This is all well and good, but what if I want to order tires that I can just put on my current bike from the comfort of my computer while sipping a beer or coffee?"
If this applies to you, simply visit Peter White Cycles for an excellent summary of out of the box options you can order up with your credit card.
If readers have their own ideas, success or failure stories, or other links feel free to comment or send us your own hack for posting.