Snowpocalypse has descended on cities all across America. Canada's a goner. Most cyclists will be deterred by snowy roads and treacherous ice slicks. However, if you're one of the few brave (i.e. stubborn) souls who bikes come rain, shine or blizzard, then it's important to properly winterize your two-wheeled steed.
If you're unwilling to shell out the big bucks for studded snow tires, then this may you best alternative bet: zip ties.
Yep, these super cheap plastic ties can help give your bike wheels the traction they need to traverse fallen snow and other inclement weather. Will they look ridiculous? According to Fritz Rice of Dutch Bike Co, yes they most certainly will.
But it's better to be safe than cool (if you can't manage both!). Fritz recommends installing the zip ties so that the connectors are on the outside edge of the tires, giving you even more floor grip when you're chancing an icy turn…
Important note: this hack does not work on regular rim brakes! The zip ties can get in the way of your brake pads, which means you'll be even less winter-ready. This hack should only be applied to bikes with disc brakes or a coaster brake — or if you're riding a brakeless fixie.
Detailed instructions, courtesy of BikePortland:
- Zip tie every other rim section between spokes (range: 1 per 3 spokes or 1 per 1; depending on ice) on only rear wheel
- Place and center and tighten zip ties so that tie clasp is facing towards hub (not too tight, just tight enough to keep from moving and not pinching tire) and between spokes
- Test with 1 tie and spin wheel to check for tolerances with fenders and frame
- Trim off extra cable on all ties
- Push clasp to center it on rim facing hub
- Spin wheel to recheck
- Work around tire as needed (add more later if needed)
- 20+ zip ties (6+ inches in length) ~$3
- Large nail clippers
- Bike with hub or disk brakes on rear wheel
- Pedal in low gear smoothly and take shallow turns use only rear brake when possible.
See the zip tie hack in action!