No matter how much we swear we've learned our lessons, Seattle always seems to get caught by surprise by the snow. There we were, minding our own business with our feet all toasty in our sandals and socks, when the temperature plummeted and it turned into Juneau in January. While this year the City did a much better job than last year at preventing widespread carnage and destruction, we at Dutch Bike Seattle still didn't bring in studded tires because it never snows in Seattle. Even if we had stocked them, I'm not sure they'd sell because it never snows in Seattle, right?
We found something else, though. Something else entirely.
You're not going to believe it at first.
It's quick, it's cheap, and yes, it looks completely ludicrous.
BUT. It works. It works beautifully.
I can accelerate, brake, and corner with aplomb, even on the vile snowpack/sheet ice mix the plows leave in the bike lanes. The zip ties dig nicely into the hardest packed surfaces, but they're thin enough not to bounce the bike around at low speed or on short pavement sections.
I've cunningly positioned the tie heads to dig in as soon as the bike goes into a corner while staying up and off the ground in a straight line. This is the place that the ties are most likely to interfere with the fenders, so if you're installing these yourself be careful to make sure you have or can create the clearance.
It is at this point that I must admit that I didn't dream up this amazing technique. It pains me to admit this not because my ego suffers, but because the zip-tie-DIY-bicycle-snow-chains idea appears to have originated with my favorite bicycle industry whipping boy: fixed gear hipster culture. Several years ago, I'm sure, some bright child with extremely tight pants and an asymmetrical haircut had a genius-caliber idea, and I hate that it wasn't me. So here it is: Fixed gear street bike hipster guys, I'm sorry for the things I've said over the years. It's not true that the only drink you like is 4Loko. It's also not true that you're not allowed to wear shoes that don't match your bikes. You can wear whatever you want. And finally, you have come up with a good idea besides brightly colored deep-section rims.