Danger, Will Robinson!
Without a doubt, not having the right equipment for winter outdoor exercising is a significant risk. Consider for example a Seattle coworker of mine who tried to ride his bike to work daily year-round – a goal that came to a crashing halt, literally, when he tried to keep it up without special gear in spite of snow and freezing rain, resulting in a wipe-out and a broken wrist!
Biking in snow and ice? No sweat!
Introducing snow bikes, also known as “fat” bikes, which look similar to ordinary mountain bikes, except that they have very wide forks to make room for very wide tires – four-to-five inch-wide super-fat snow tires. The combination of the extra width of the tires, their serious tire treads, and lower inflation standards – 6 to 16 psi tire pressure – means you can giddyup and go on two wheels in up to four or five inches of snow. Don't take my word for it – see video examples of such snow bikes on snowy trails here, or even watch the thrill of downhill bicycle races on snowy glaciers here.
Of course, you'll be investing a chunk of change, and a good portion of your garage space, to have a set of snow bikes for every member of your family. Fortunately, there are cheaper solutions for the do-it-yourselfer.
Here is video of one do-it-yourself solution to winter bike tire traction; installing your own studs onto a regular mountain bike tire, making it possible to navigate snow and even ice with a regular mountain bike. The video shows you exactly how to create and install bike tire studs made from screws, and see a demonstration of the screw studded bike tires in action.
Traction gear for walking, hiking, and running on ice and snow
- Strap-on shoe traction solutions
- Traction-providing shoes/boot modification products
- Modern-day snowshoes
Solution #1 – Upgrade your existing footwear for snow and ice tractionGoat Head Sole Spikes and Icespike are but two companies using a screw-on approach, allowing you to transform the ordinary soles of your shoes or boots into serious ice grippers. Both products are made of extra hardened steel and with a screw head uniquely designed for traction. In either case, you are attaching a specialized short screw directly into the sole of your shoe.
Solution #2 – Strap extra traction onto your shoes
|The author's shoes ready |
for winter with YakTrax
Popular products in this category include Kahtoola Micro Spikes, YakTrax (shown here), and Stabilicers. Each provide different levels of traction, and all of them provide the convenience of being able to put them on when you need to traction and then take them off when you are done.
Solution #3 – Float above all that white stuffNeither of the above solutions solve for deep snow situations. For that, it's time to look at the new version of an age-old solution – snowshoes.
Mind you, these are not your great-grandfather's snowshoes. Modern snowshoes are extremely lightweight, often very easy to get on or off, and are available for different types of outdoor activities.
For example, there are nearly a dozen different snowshoe models on the market designed specifically for running. A few of the more popular models include the Kahtoola RNR 22 Snowshoe, the Crescent Moon Gold Series 12, or the Atlas Race Speed Snowshoe. Running snowshoes have become increasingly popular as the winter sport of snowshoe racing grows in popularity.
Available safety solutions worth considering include:
|Runner Scott Colantonio keeping|
safe with reflective/light gear
- Wearable headlamps, designed to provide bright light in whatever direction you are looking
- Flashing lights, designed to clip on or strap on to the back of your clothing, making you more visible to traffic, cyclists, and other pedestrians
- Reflective gear, designed to bounce the light from auto headlamps right back at approaching cars, making it much easier for drivers to see you in inclement weather or after dark
More tips for winter exercising outdoors