Interesting Ice Toys
I found this tired scooter and quickly fitted it with blades. Add cleats and you have
one of the best toys to use on the lake while waiting for wind. As iceboaters know, lots
of time is spent waiting for wind. It is nice to have a few toys that don't require it.
This ice bike was inspired from others on the web, plus a fine year of ice on our nearby
Canandaigua lake. We usually get a layer of snow so skis are a better solution than
an ice blade. In the end a long ice blade (16 inches) will ride better, even on crusty
snow, or penetrate deep enough to find a usable ice layer and produce a smooth ride
with less friction. Subsequently this rig was modified to a skate blade up front. The
rear wheel was switched to a ring of wood with hardened drywall screws installed every
inch of the circumference for studs. The drywall screws were then trimmed to about 1/3 inch
long with a bolt cutter. A blade up front with a wooden tire in the back produced such
wonderful results that perhaps this year my recumbent bike will be converted too.
This device is normally sold to kids with rollerblades who presumably have access to an
abandoned airport. You need lots of smooth surface without curbs. Since it is equivalent
to the other 'dirt surfing' related sports, major body armor is required. Pad any surface
on you that you don't want to smooth off on pavement. On snow covered ice less protection
is required. Shorty skis (90 cm) seem a perfect compromise between floatation and edge.
My GPS box regularly clocks speeds of 35 MPH with this rig. Setup is fast and storage is
easy. It breaks down into tubing and rolled up sail.
Best used sideways (standing or sitting) with your back to the wind. Commonly called a
butt board. You go back and forth
on it as one would sail a proa sailboat. A seatbelt can be applied across your lap to
keep the board on your fanny. This is a safety feature to make certain the blades are
always pointing away from you. If standing, power is the SkateWing or a kite. When seated a
traction kite works best. Sitting improves safety, you always remain very close to the ice
so falling is not a problem. Comfortable boots with cleats make this a fun toy
even when there is no wind. A company named Zema Iceboards manufactured blades at
one time, but they are having difficulty. Perhaps eventually their website
will appear again and blades will become available.
Nice, but expensive. Sometimes available used on Ebay. Make your own with skis and
angle irons ground and bolted to the bottoms. Don't make them too long or turning
is difficult. Commercially available blades cost about $100 a pair. I used a 48" piece
of 1/8" x 1.5 inch steel cut in half to make each blade 24" long. The steel was purchased at a local
hardware store. They were mounted with PL Premium adhesive, using oak and plywood. Ski
bindings were added. The blades were shaped with a hack saw, grinder, and finally sharpened
on a belt sander. An hour of wetstone work put the final shine on the blades. These are
total enjoyment when nothing else wants to slide on warm sticky snow covered ice. Excellent
immunity from 8 inch diameter ice fishing holes. Ski bindings are easier to find in the
garbage now that our VOA will no longer accept donations of ski equipment:-)
SHORTY (SKATE) SKIS-
I've always had a tremendous respect for the speeds that can be achieved with only a small
amount of thrust on a frictionless surface. Leaf blowers bring to mind leaf blower soccer
where the participants must move the ball about the field with blasts from 'stock' leaf
Thrust from a leaf blower has always intrigued me. Most are rated at over 200
MPH exhaust speeds! Finally the ice froze black and smooth. I got out the leaf blower.
These devices are very difficult to start on a zero degree day. Take your best skates.
On a zero degree day the ice was too cold to be fast so speeds of only about 1-2 MPH
were possible. Can't wait for a warmer day with wet ice. Next time a second leaf blower
for more thrust. Some have suggested removing the restrictor nozzle, as it increases the
speed of the motor and moves more air. One more toy in arsenal for those days without
wind... makes you feel like the coyote chasing the road runner:-)
ICE KITE BUGGY-
This was a project last year. Made quickly from stuff found in my garage. Please do NOT use
a seat belt. It was a bad idea. Better if you get pulled off the buggy to leave it behind.
It steers easily with your feet while you fly the kite with your hands. A pin allows it to
fold 90 degrees for transport, 45 degrees to make a brake (keeps it from blowing down the lake),
or remove the pin for use. The little
gas pedal is really a place to rubber band on a Garmin GPS. The tell-tale is very useful for
wind direction. The rear flag is anti-persuit protection from the faster iceboats. A very
handy device that really takes little space in my garage once it is folded. It will also
fit inside my little car. As much fun as the butt board!