Winter De-Icing Compound

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by HD Steve, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. HD Steve

    HD Steve Nonposer in Training

    Jan 16, 2011
    Desert Washington
    Trying to get in the last of my 80 mile commutes to work before winter sets in the great Northwest. It was a balmy 41 F when I left the house this morning. Right before I get on the highway, I see those interesting and nasty stripes in the road...liquid deicer!!...Given my extraordinary bike handling skills (ok, dumb luck) I manage to whoa up a bit before I get to it.

    Now this is a downhill, concrete bridge to asphalt to tar snake and spit followed by those big plastic arrows, off-camber, reducing radiusleft hand turn...I manage to make it through gingerly, even though the road crew made sure to spread it all the way around the corner. No worries after that.

    I called the road crew, and given that it's a small town, they called back. I had a good conversation with Jeff "I ride too" of the road crew who was told to expect 32 and freezing fog this morning so he was only looking out for everybody.

    Now here's the good part, and I want your input. Jeff said that the Magnesium Chloride that they put down (only half the normal volume today) is no more slippery than water. So I looked it up today on the ol internet. Found this article (written by Canadians so up to you if you believe it) that supports Jeff's view that it's about like water. Only reduces the coefficent of friction (the stuff that keeps your butt off the tarmac) by about 20%. Even though it feels greasy to the touch, the liquid solution is fairly benign.

    What say you? Anybody have any experiences? Being a very VISUAL rider, I hate the sight of it, even when I can see it all dry from three days ago.... for ESD Site/MgCl2slippery test.pdf
  2. ozmoses

    ozmoses ...

    Jul 3, 2009
    I don't know about the friction coefficient but I know that stuff etched the exposed aluminum of my motor last year.

    That greasy feel is what keeps the chloride (salt) on the road, or wherever it splashes like my motor, longer than rock salt alone thereby using less material.

    I've never found it slippery but I plan to no longer ride once it's in use.

    ** Actually, let me amend this. Just recalled the Mrs & I hit a fresh patch of calcium chloride on a newly reconstructed local dirt road this past Spring; traction went from 100% to 0% instantly.
    I could barely stand to lift the bike.
  3. luftkoph

    luftkoph Been here awhile

    Jan 17, 2008
    U.P. mich
    I know that mag-chloride freaks me,-20 driving on a wet road,and after the 1st winter it put little pin prick rust spots on the stainless steel air filters on my brand new pete.
  4. windmill

    windmill Long timer

    Feb 18, 2008
    Kent, Washington State
    20+ years of being a full time 4 season rider here on the "wet" side, I'm so used to wet roads that I don't even notice the deicer.
  5. randyo

    randyo Long timer

    Nov 17, 2007
    Northern NewEngland
    locally, I see several different deicing compounds, mostly sodium cloride, some mag chloride and some calcium chloride (personally I use CC on my own driveway, is safest for environment and concrete and works in colder temps than the others) and the gravel roads get a mixture of sand with enuf sodium clorde to keep in granular in freezing temps

    as far as coefficient of friction, all of em are better than nothing at all and riding on packed snow or ice

    protect your wiring
  6. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

    Jan 3, 2005
    The Badlands (of NJ)
    Where I was growing up, cities had water spray trucks for washing down street pavement. In the winter, their tanks were filled with salt solution and the trucks patrolled iced-up roads.


    The problem was, with a clear morning ice layer, it may have not been apparent that the road was sprayed.

    Those days, I rode all season: to school, doing errands (hey, it was in high school and college - at the time it made perfect sense to me, as it was much more convenient and faster than city bus or street car). Hardpacked dry snow never was a problem, but I managed to navigate some ice, too - adrenaline is good for you, anyway.

    Then, I learned a valuable lesson, spinning on my back after attempting to slow for a traffic light in full rush hour:
    a.) melting ice is the slickest substance out there!
    b.) watching cars trying to avoid running me over is scary as hell.
    c.) doing that in full view of a packed bus stop is totally embarrassing.
    That experience drastically cut down my winter riding career.

    Nowadays, I may be a bit smarter - and certainly am much more fragile. I ride when it is cold and dry, but stay away from snow & ice. Actually, I also stay away from salt-covered roads: the damage this does to the bikes is not worth it.
  7. Buzz363

    Buzz363 Been here awhile

    Jul 5, 2008
    So I looked it up today on the ol internet. Found this article (written by Canadians so up to you if you believe it) that supports Jeff's view that it's about like water.

    Don't fall vicitim to the vast Canadian conspiracy that de-icing roads makes them safer. Ride on roads covered with American ice the way God intended.