Black ice.

One evening a couple of days ago  I went out from my workshop just to find out that everything around is covered in a slippery glaze of ice. Black ice (or clear ice) is a pretty rare natural phenomenon here. I have been living in Kyiv for more than twenty years and for the first time I had trouble returning home due to unnatural slipperiness of pavement. But this first time paid in full for all the years of black ice absence. It was 100% of slipperiness. However, I became so used for my everyday “hiking” that I  had no slightest wish to give it up to the weather conditions. Good I know the way (four kilometres through the residential areas ) as the back of my hand, so I managed to return without falling. I even had a thought that it could be my new boots that caused such a trouble, so the next day I went late to workshop in my ole good Bustagrips… just to find out two things:

  • wearing old boots made no difference.
  • city services were not in the hurry to solve the issue with ice on sidewalks and footpaths.

I managed to reach my workshop without issues,  but sure, it’d be pretty stupid to tempt the fate third time in the row and go unprepared once more.  So by nightfall, when I was about to finish my work I had to invent the way to make my way home safely and cosy. I gave myself 15 minutes to design and made devices that will help me to move on ice. First five minutes I spent on design and components collecting: the strip of stainless steel from the box with metal scraps,  two O-rings for Yamaha oil filter covers (they come with oil filters and never fit properly, so I just pile them in another box), and short blind rivets.

Then I just made two such sets of makeshift pads for my boots studded with four blind rivets each:

It’s not an optical illusion, I made it trapezoidal on purpose.

As they are to be put on the boots’ soles just where they began to taper. In this way the pads couldn’t slip forward.

O-ring in their turn holds the pad in place and doesn’t let them slide backward.

Surely, much better pads could be obtained in many shops. But the thing is: sometimes to reach the shop and buy studded boots…  you already have to have studded boots.


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  1. Jim

    An entertaining post and an ingenious idea!

    1. gazzz (Post author)

      Thank you!


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