Cycling in snow and ice: how to stay safe and have fun
It's SNOWING❄️ in 📍London today!
We're braving the snow and opening our shops for anyone else brave enough to come see us today.
Remember, you can also stay snuggled at home, order on our website and we deliver it to your door for free*!
Although the excitement of snow is high ⛄ we cannot forget the dangers of cycling in the snow.
We've linked this very useful article (source: cyclingweekly.com ) on our blog to help you keep safe and highlight some very key safety tips while using your bike in icy weathers.
Happy Monday and Stay Safe! 🤍
Top tips to have fun in the snow (and stay upright)
1. Beware of black ice
Snow is easy to spot – black ice is less so
Snow isn’t so much your problem. Black ice is your nemesis. It’s hard to detect in advance, and once you’re on it it’s even harder to stay upright.
Avoid areas where water is likely to have built up and frozen – gutters, at the edge of puddles where there may be a thin sheet of frozen water, under bridges and around drains.
Though we’d not usually advise it, opt for busier roads where – frankly – plumes of exhaust fumes are likely to have melted ice. Don’t ride too close to the kerb, taking the primary position (that’s the middle of the lane, and entirely legal – even encouraged – where it’s unsafe for drivers to overtake) where necessary and giving yourself plenty of space to move around obstacles.
2. Go loosey goosey
Don’t deathgrip the bars
You’re cold, uncomfortable, and frankly a little bit nervous that the road surface beneath you may be about to turn into the performance arena for ‘dancing on ice,’ so it’s quite natural to tense up.
Being tense on the bike makes you much more rigid – and this influences the way you control your body weight. Try to relax your shoulders, and sit as naturally as you can, concentrating on keeping your weight over the rear wheel. Pedal smoothly, limiting unnecessary movement; getting out the saddle is well worth avoiding.
If you feel like you’re death gripping the bars, wiggle your fingers – this will release the tension and help you take a more natural control of the front end.
In this instance, the front brake is not your friend – pulling the lever hard could cause you to lose traction. When you need to slow down, use the rear brake to scrub off speed then gently use equal pressure across both levers to come to a stop – or consider putting a foot on the ground (only when you’re really crawling).
3. Adjust your tyre choice
Wider tyres will provide greater grip
When it’s wet, we’d advise that you reduce tyre pressure in order to increase your contact patch with the tarmac beneath you. The same applies when ice is a risk.
Wider tyres in general provide a greater contact patch and therefore more grip, so if you’ve got the option choose rubber with a greater girth. Fixing a puncture when you can hardly feel your fingers is best avoided so those with better protection are ideal.
There are brands that offer studded tyres, such as Schwalbe’s Marathon Winter tyres. However this is quite an investment for weather we experience a couple of times a year.
4. Dress for the conditions
Light up to improve visibility
It goes without saying that you’re going to want to layer up. Your hands and feet suffer particularly when it’s cold. Quality winter gloves and overshoes will help to keep you more comfortable and ultimately safer due to increased ability to concentrate (and feel then handlebars).
Visibility in snow flurries is important both for you and other road users. Clear glasses will prevent your eyelashes from working on overdrive, whilst a set of bike lights will help mark you out on the road.
5. Treat your bike afterwards
Grit will act as an exfoliator for your bike. Image: Ben Wightman
Whilst we Brits aren’t typically great at dealing with snow and ice, councils are fairly good at gritting the roads (in some areas). Grit prevents the ice from forming and snow from settling – but it’s basically an exfoliator for your bike components.