If you dwell in the south of the UK, you’ll have noticed the sheet of white that descended from the skies a couple of days ago. This is called snow and we almost never get to see it. It’s absolutely beautiful but it comes with a downside – cycling becomes a real pain in the behind, if it’s possible at all. Most people stay home (especially during COVID), but for the hardcore; those desperate to get out on two wheels, here’s a few tips on how to stay safe (and on your bike) while you’re out there.
- Beware of Black Ice
Snow is easy to see. Black ice is not. If you miss it, you could be taking a tumble before you know it. While usually you want to stick to quieter roads, consider taking a slightly busier route. Vehicle fumes melt snow and can deal with black ice so that you don’t have to when you’re out riding. If you’re on quieter roads, avoid potholes (which, of course, you would anyway) and puddles in general, as that’s where black ice tends to build up.
- Stick to the Middle of the Road
Piggybacking on the first point, when you’re riding, stay in the middle of the road. Car tracks will compress snow into ice toward the edges of the road and that’s also where puddles, and then black ice, tend to form. Gutters at the side of the road are also hazardous for cyclists, and they can be obscured, or hidden entirely, by snowfall.
- Stay Loose!
It can be quite daunting riding in snowy conditions. The roads are slippery, and it can be easy to tense up. Try and stay cool (no pun intended)! If you’re tense, it makes you a lot more rigid, which can unbalance you and make you more likely to fall, or it can negatively affect your reactions to slippery roads.
- Adjust Your Suspension
Leading on from keeping your body loose, it’s important to do the same with your bike! Lowering your suspension and alleviating some of that rigidity will allow you greater control in the snow and keep your tyres closer to the road if you hit bumps or pot-holes, giving you greater control as you ride.
- Tyre Selection
As I said previously, we don’t get a lot of snow in the UK, so snow tyres might feel like a bit of a waste of money, considering the small amount of time you actually spend using them. If you are willing to spend the money, however, snow tyres can make a world of difference when riding through icy conditions, giving your bike better grip and you peace of mind.
- Wrap Up Warm
It might sound like an obvious one, but just a little thought in dressing appropriately for the conditions can take you a long way. Consider your appendages most of all – fingers and feet can become numb in particularly cold conditions on the bike, so winter gloves and socks are a must. Elsewhere, a good jacket and leggings will keep the cold at bay. Waterproofs will keep you dry and warm also!
Enjoy the snow while it lasts. These tips should help you to make the most of it!