Snow Traction for Cyclists and Walkers

  1. GPS1504
    In much of the country, it is freezing cold (literally!) and the ground is frozen. While this is not the most fun thing with which we must deal, it is a part of life. For several months of the year, snow and ice are simply another set of obstacles we have to face. This year has been particularly hard on many of us, with heavy snowfall and even snow and ice plaguing parts of the country where it is usually not a factor, but even so, the show must go on and the world cannot stop spinning over a few snow flurries.

    Lots of us commute in cars and as a result may have snow chains on our vehicles. Snow chains are great for getting traction and come highly recommended in parts of the country with heavy snowfall to enable people to go about the business of life with less risk of danger while driving. While snow chains are great for cars, what if do you not drive? What if you bike to work, or even walk?

    In large cities, it is often impractical to own or travel by car. With parking being costly or possibly even non-existent, having a car becomes more of a burden than a luxury. Add to that the possibility of walking or bicycling faster than you can drive due to traffic jams or being unable to find parking and the concept of owning or using a car gets tossed out the window.

    How are you going to bicycle on ice, be it to get to work or because your city is under duress and you need to escape to survive? Bike tires may have decent traction if the tires are meant for harsh terrain, but that traction may not be present on city bikes which are seldom equipped with rugged tires. If you are in a pinch and need your bike to get the heck out of dodge when the ground is a slick sheet of ice, you are going to need to beef up that traction quickly and effectively. The way to do this is with zip ties.

    Take a bunch of zip ties and wrap them around your tire and frame, cinching them down tight. You want them to be snug enough against your tire that they will not move but not too tight that they make an indention in your tire. Place a zip tie about every inch or behind every spoke or every other spoke, depending on the space between your spokes. You can even alternate the direction from which you apply them so the closures are on alternate sides of the tire to add even more grip. Cut off the excess and your bike will be ready to go with improved traction.

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    If you are on foot and need to make your way around your city, there is a device you can affix to your shoes that will help you move about with less chance of slipping, falling, and thus becoming vulnerable. Yaktrax are cheap, effective, and will attach to different pairs of shoes interchangeably. If you're on the city streets and need to make a run for it in your loafers, you could be up a creek, but by adding some traction to those loafers, you will stand a better chance when it comes time to escape and evade, or when you have to get to work on time.

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    Snow and ice do not have to be the end of the world, even though some cities and towns have recently been brought to their knees by it. The need for survival preparations does not lessen when it snows and the world around you goes to pot-it is then that you need to amp up your preparedness more than ever. Regardless of how you move, be it by car, bike, or on foot, be ready to move when the time comes because you might not get a second chance.

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