Saturday, December 3

Intro to the Slipnot Traction System

What follows is not a proper review. I have only ridden with my new bike chains one time. But I wanted to give you a quick overview and my initial impressions.

The meteorological fascists forecasted snow for Thursday. On Wednesday I wrassled with the decision: use the chains, or not use the chains. Based on the amount forecasted I finally decided not to install the chains on Wednesday night. I woke Thursday morning and was reaffirmed in my decision. There was only a couple of inches of snow on the ground in my neighborhood. My only moment of doubt was when I had the fleeting the thought that Golden, six hundred feet higher, might have significantly more snow.

But moving on, I pedaled my way in to work, plowing through some small drifts, only crashing once as I drifted off the paved path and then rolled back up against the edge of the concrete.

It took me an hour and forty five minutes to make my commute. Oddly, I was still the first of my co-workers to arrive.

I wasn't regretful that I opted not to use my new chains. It seemed to me that the chains would have only slowed me down even more, and since I made it mostly upright it didn't seem as if chains would have benefited me much.

Friday I stayed home. Admittedly, the single digit temps played a part, but I'd been having some back trouble the night before, and because of the discomfort ended up sleeping very little.

This morning we woke up to quite a bit more snow. I decided today would be the day to give the Slipnot Traction System it's baptism by snow.

I dragged my feet for much of the day. The kids and I had a furious snowball fight. I extracted the skis and gear from the packed shed. Finally I screwed up the gumption to put the chains on.

I'd put one on before and discovered that to get them on the tires on The One I must deflate the tires, put the chains on and then reinflate the tires. I bought the small set which fit tires sized 26X1.9 to 26X2.5. The tires on the bike are 26X2.1 so I didn't think I would have any trouble getting them installed. It just takes a little time. And its not something you'd want to do on the side of the road in the snow.

It probably took ten minutes to install both chains. Then I got dressed and rolled the bike outside: clack, clack, clack as the chains rolled softly across the hardwood floor.

With little ceremony I threw a leg over the top tube and pushed off. As I started cranking in the thin snow where I'd shoveled this morning I felt the bike move forward solidly. Then I rolled into the street with its unconsolidated ice and snow and ribbons of untrammeled deep powder. But as I pedaled forcefully the bike moved on. I experimentally jammed on the brakes and the bike stopped cold. And I tried it again on some ice. The chains seemed to give me better control.

I went around the block and cut into the railroad right-of-way and plowed through snow higher than my pedals. The bike rolled strong back to our yard. As I turned into our driveway again I discovered that my brakes had frozen. I'd only been out a few minutes.

We're supposed to get more snow tomorrow. And the air temperature is supposed to stay cold into the week. I'm leaving the chains on until the snow melts significantly. Winter has truly arrived!


  1. Oh dude! If I put my bike in the bathtub to thaw, I'd be sleeping in the shed!

    Nice write-up of the chains. We don't get enough snow days here in Missouri to bother with them. I just drive those days.....

  2. I'll give them a good shakedown this week. The snow's not going away any time soon. We're not going to get above freezing for a few days.