We have seen bike snow tire hacks before, but none have incorporated blue jeans. We did feature a the cool use of seat belts to try and to puncture proof tires. Reader Mike, a new rider, contacted us with his own cool spin on creating snow tires. The incorporation of blue jeans makes me wonder if anyone out there has tried jeans to fend off flats (contact us if you have, or do).
Anyway, Mike blogs at Mike's Adventures so check him out there and take in his cool hack, which leaves ice fisherman bewildered =)
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I've only been biking since October and it's my first winter. I live in Bemidji, MN. I studded some 700 x 35c tires with sheet metal screws, Gorilla Tape, Shoe Goo, and old blue jeans. I have some good tips for making it easier. Now I take shortcuts across frozen Lake Bemidji!
So basically I got tired of slipping, sliding, and spinning my hybrid bike tires on the ice and snow here in Bemidji, MN. Most people put their bikes away for the winter but I just started biking in October and I guess I haven't learned that lesson yet. Maybe I'm just a noob at bikes, but I was unable to justify buying the $160 set of studded tires from the bike shop (though trust me I tried!)
Basically I bought a cheap pair of cyclocross tires (whatever that means) and put some sheet metal screws in them for studs. Here's how I did it:
Start by drilling pilot holes (I'd recommend 1/8") in the center of the treads from the outside-in. I did every center tread on for my tires, but every-other would be fine as well. I'm sure you can do the outer treads if you'd prefer. This makes it easier but may not be completely necessary.
By hand with a magnetic screwdriver, I "started" the screws into the holes from the inside-out. I used 3/8" sheet metal screws with rounded heads to avoid the sharp edges, but 1/4" would have been fine for these tires.
After I knew the screws would protrude just how I wanted, I used an electric drill to finish them.
I covered the tops of the screw heads with two layers of Gorilla Tape, put the tubes in and was nearly invincible. Literally, I rode figure-8's as fast as I could on sheer ice you couldn't walk across. Not quite done yet though for these 700 x 35c killing machines.
After a couple hours of abusing... I mean, testing them, I got a flat and did the "walk of shame" home. One of the screws somehow poked through and got my tube. So I liberally used some Shoe Goo I had lying around on top of the Gorilla Tape, THEN glued in some strips of an old pair of blue jeans. After they dried, my inner tubes were quite comfortable (not to mention stylish and casual) . . . that was ~120 miles ago.
The tires are at the lowest air pressure (fifty pounds), and the screws have become much less sharp by now but are still highly effective. I used to avoid snow, now I avoid pavement! Now I take a shortcut across frozen Lake Bemidji from my favorite coffee place to campus while ice-fisherman stare at me, bewildered.