October 31, 2007

    I'm looking to ride a bit this winter (Detroit area). I have a standard '80s road bike with 27" tires. Can't find a studded tire in this size, and less luck finding a bicycle tire snowchain.
    Do you have any experience with Tyre-Grip? Would it make a difference at all for a generic Panaracer road tread on snow/ice?

Mike R.

    Turns out that a couple years ago, the persistent folks at Triangle Associates (the manufacturer) sent me a can of Tyre-Grip to test. I waited for a blizzard, then went out with some pals for a snow ride. I used a bike with tires that have almost no traction on new, wet, thick snow. (Great for laughs.) I sprayed each tire liberally with Grip, waited the requisite "3 minutes before carefully driving off," and went to play in the snow for hours.
    The Grip had no discernible effect. I now use it when hunting wasps as a flamethrower, for which it excels.
    I made no other test, so I can't give you a very scientific evaluation of Grip. (I left it on my winter accessories page to stimulate more empirical data.) But I'll make a wild guess: To actually grip, Grip's active ingredient (wood resin) needs something on top of it having substantial weight—like a car, for which use the manufacturer made it.
    On to other tactics. As you've learned, you won't find studded 27" tires. But you can make your own by following the directions at the bottom of Icebike's tire page. And some folks use tire chains, but the chains listed on my winter accessories page won't fit on your tires.
    But the foregoing obscures a basic fact: Lots of people (including me) bicycle all thru winter and do nothing special with their tires. Why? (1) You don't always encounter snow or ice; and (2) you can learn to ride on snow just by doing it. Give it a shot. If you need winter bike-handling tips, find 'em in my book, Urban Bikers' Tricks & Tips.

Mr Bike

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