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  1. #1
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Serious question about towing on ice

    This question may sound really dumb to southerner's and probably many more, but I'm serious! I am considering putting studded tires on an old mountain bike for use in towing my ice fishing shanty and gear. I ride my road bike about 3500 miles a year but have difficulty walking even short distances due to a sport injury to my ankle suffered 30 years ago while in college. I use a quad to pull my stuff on Lake Erie but most every inland lake prohibits motorized viechles. The folding shanty is made of plastic and canvas and when folded works as a sled. The shanty, auger, tackle and electonic equipment weigh about 65 lbs. (ice fishing is much like biking, as there is always more stuff you need, like underwater camera, GPS, higher power fishfinders, as well as the latest clothing and 'must have tackle') Can a bike with studded tires be used for towing? How fast do I need to pull the load for the wheels to have enough centrifical force to keep me upright. It can get fairly windy out there, well, really windy! I'm think I will need to use platform pedals as I don't think I can get feltpack boots into toeclips and can't figure out how to attach SPD's to the boots.LOL

  2. #2
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I worked with a team in the 1980's trying to build an ice bike to set a speed record. They never considered anything but a trike. Just get a set of training wheels. Do not worry, your biking buddies will never see you out on the lake. You might want to have someone handy to give the shed a shove to start with. Just to break the runners free from the ice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken cummings View Post
    I worked with a team in the 1980's trying to build an ice bike to set a speed record. They never considered anything but a trike. Just get a set of training wheels. Do not worry, your biking buddies will never see you out on the lake. You might want to have someone handy to give the shed a shove to start with. Just to break the runners free from the ice.

    I'm heading to bed so I wont google it for you but there are companies that make waterproof, insulated mountain bike shoes (spd compatible) that sound like what you need.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    This question may sound really dumb to southerner's and probably many more, but I'm serious! I am considering putting studded tires on an old mountain bike for use in towing my ice fishing shanty and gear. I ride my road bike about 3500 miles a year but have difficulty walking even short distances due to a sport injury to my ankle suffered 30 years ago while in college. I use a quad to pull my stuff on Lake Erie but most every inland lake prohibits motorized viechles. The folding shanty is made of plastic and canvas and when folded works as a sled. The shanty, auger, tackle and electonic equipment weigh about 65 lbs. (ice fishing is much like biking, as there is always more stuff you need, like underwater camera, GPS, higher power fishfinders, as well as the latest clothing and 'must have tackle') Can a bike with studded tires be used for towing? How fast do I need to pull the load for the wheels to have enough centrifical force to keep me upright. It can get fairly windy out there, well, really windy! I'm think I will need to use platform pedals as I don't think I can get feltpack boots into toeclips and can't figure out how to attach SPD's to the boots.LOL
    I was going to suggest a trike as well.

    If it's windy, use it to your advantage. Get a sailboard type rig for your fishing shanty and sail it to where you need to go ;-) You can really fly on ice with a setup like that.

    I grew up on a lake and I'd say that about 60 to 70% of the time a trike might work OK there. The rest of the time you'd run into serious troubles with ruts and/or deep snow.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    The tike seems to have promise but transporting it to the lakes could become an issue. Although I have seen big wire baskets on tikes as well as multiple gears, hmmmm..... this could get interesting. As far as drag from starting to pull the shanty, once it's broke free from any frozen surface it glides with little friction. All that is needed to move the shanty is to yank the rope or kick it to break it free then I'm good to go. Most days on the frozen lakes there is little or no snow. The wind blows the snow off the lakes, it evaporates and/or melts and refreezes. The worst conditions for travel would be when there is "clear black ice" which would be be like a skating rink. As for SPD's on boots, I've thought about putting a plate inside the boot under the felt pack to support the cleat. That would work but then I would risk having a leaky boot and that's not a good thing.

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    I have a lot of experience towing loads on ice. if you have studded tires you do not need to be going fast at all...the only thing you will have an issue with is starting. We have a huge frozen beaver pond (1x1.5 miles) and ice bike all the time. I have hauled 5 steel chairs, a fatso wood stove, and 2 people in a sled on a bike at once. you can go 3 mph the bike will stay upright. it is not a problem.

    now, if you try to turn, the load will want to come around, so you need to do some pre-planning and whatnot, and you need really smooth ice...but once moving along it is a piece of cake (you will need to huff though)
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  7. #7
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    I agree with edzo, definitely go with a normal bike and studded tyres. Less hassle. You will stay upright just like you would in summer (edit: well, almost), the amount of traction you get from quality studded tyres such as Nokians is unbelieveable.

    You will most probably want to come up with a yoke of sorts, to prevent the sled from hitting your rear tyre when you slow down. You don't need anything fancy, just a rigid beam between bike and the sled will do. Either that, or make the rope a little bit longer than absolutely needed and always turn a little when you stop.

    Use platform pedals. That's what I do in winter, and I'm not the one wearing boots made for ice fishing! Seriously, you will not want to be strapped on your bike on ice, and no SPD shoes will be warm and waterproof enough for your use. The cleat alone is a great heat sink.

    Enjoy the fishing!

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  8. #8
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    It's a fine idea. Yes, a bicycle with studs can tow on ice no problem. I think a BOB would be fine for what you need, assuming you can pack the shed down. I've been using one myself. If not you'll need to rig a two wheel flatbed. It sounds odd, but the fact is you'll come to love smooth ice as a riding surface as long as you don't push things too far or too fast. Snow is far more annoying.

    You absolutely do NOT need a trike if you have good nokians you can go over ice like it's concrete. Indeed a trike is a serious PINA if you get bogged down in drift snow or chunder. Unless you're riding a circuit race course with tight turns falling is not really going to be a problem. Moving forward through drifts often is, though.

    For feet on a frozen lake ice fishing, I'd personally want good winter boots with traction either from the surface area (bunny boots) or from screwed in studs. Use big BMX pedals and forget the toe clips.
    Last edited by Cosmoline; 11-06-07 at 01:15 PM.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    All three of my shanty's (Clam 3000, Fish Trap and a homemade unit) fold down flat and I bungee cord the auger, 5 gallon buckets with tackle and electronics on top the shanty when transporting. Under some conditions you can't leave the shanty up without being in it, or making it secure to the ice, or it will blow away in the wind. In that event the bike would help in retrival!

  10. #10
    I'll ride for free MudSplattered's Avatar
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    Or you can make your own studded tires with longer studs than the Nokian, such as sheet rock screws or something like that. I think there are posts here about homemade studded tires.

    I have Nokians and I can say they are amazing on ice, just like riding pavement. I have never lost traction, but I don't pull loads either. And platforms are probably better and cheaper in the long run than trying to stay clipless.

    We have lots of ice/snow riders here. It's really pretty cool. But you may want to get some YAKTRAKs or something for your feet because the studded tires work soo good, it's easy to forget that your boots don't have studs and down you go when you put your foot down. Or you can be like my 16 yr old son, who likes to wear his tennis shoes, gets going at a good clip on his bike on the ice, jumps off while it's moving, slides on his shoes while holding the bike, then jumps back on the bike, all at speed. Crazy child. He would majorly wipe out if not for the studded tires. Ice fishing is great!

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