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  1. #1
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Does anybody have any tips on how to handle bikes on icy roads?

    I'll start the thread out and give two bits of advice:

    1) In winter mornings and evenings, be aware of daytime puddles that have formed into ice. This is particularly true on aprons that lead up from streets onto driveways and parking lots. During the day, the sun warms up the asphalt and melts snow/ice. The melt runs down the apron and freezes at dusk. This makes for an almost sure tumble if you hit the apron at any angle or while pedaling.

    2) If possible, the best thing to do when you hit a patch of ice is "nothing at all". Don't brake, don't pedal, and donft steer. Just try to coast over it, stay cool, and pray for clean pavement soon.

    Mike
    Mike

  2. #2
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Cadence on ice

    Here is something I had forgotten about until my first snow ride this season (just started last week).

    I find that on slippery/icy surfaces, it is better to pedal in a higher gear and have a faster cadence rpm than to be in a lower gear and muscling more.

    When you are in a lower gear, you tend to spin-out and fish-tail less. I suppose it is because the power transmission is smoother and more consistant in high gear than in low gear.

    Of course, the higher cadence is really tiring.

    Mike
    Mike

  3. #3
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    GETTIN A LIL' SLIPPERY!!!!

    i say try to go as straight as possible and when u have to turn so it slowly and try not to lean into the turn, let the handle bars do the turning, this way the bike won't slide out from under u.....if ne thing else, glue small jagged rocks around ur slicks and that'll do the trick........LOL
    nickBMXr

  4. #4
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Fanny - use of...

    Here is another tip for ice-biking.

    When you are going over lumps such as the snow piles made by the snow plows, gear down, stand up on your pedals, pull up on your handle-bars and keep those wheels spinning. You can usually "boosh" over and through most piles even if they are mixed with ice.

    -O.K., maybe nothing new on that advice, but here is an important one:

    When you find your rear tire spinning out and fish-tailing, sit on your seat. The weighting goes to your rear tire giving better traction and stability.
    Mike

  5. #5
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Turning on ice

    OK, OK, here is a hint on turning on ice:

    Obvioulsy, you can't lean into turns when you are on a slippery surface because your tires will go out from underneath you. Still, you have to do some kind of leaning in order to turn at any speed.

    On ice or slippery surfaces, lean your BODY into the turn, but keep your bike upright. That means you will be leaning over your bike. It takes some getting used to, but it works pretty well.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    ice tips

    be gentle

    try to hit birms at an acute angle, like you would a railroad track

    don't be too quick or hard

    feel when to follow the bike

    divide your turns into segments, for instance instead of one 90' turn, try four 15' degree turns. In summer this is a very good way to get through a turn faster!

    getting snow under you for more traction is often a plus

    get some studded tires and you won't have to worry about the other (above) stuff so much

    I prefer a narrower cyclocross tire vs a wide mtn tire as slick is slick no matter the diameter and the narrow tire slices through the snow much easier. I do have to admit once in a great while wide is good if flotation on top of the snow is desired

    [Edited by pat5319 on Jan 3rd at 11:18 AM]
    Pat5319


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    THINK ABOUT IT

    I'm a biker to tha bone but if u ain't got enough time to NOT BAIL ON UR *** cause u got to get somewhere in a hurry then JUST TAKE THE DAMN BUS if u ain't gotta car.....
    nickBMXr

  8. #8
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Nick, Some of us like the challenge of riding to work in all conditions, some of us love the snow, I love to go out and spend a few hours in the snow on my bike even if im not going to work, its great exercise, and insanely peaceful to be the only one within miles in a winter wonderland.

    Sure, we may take the bus if the weather is really really bad (I own a truck, however). But this thread is for tips on bike handling in the snow, if you cant contribute to the topic, please don't contribute at all.

    Now, back on topic. One of the easyest thing to do when riding on snow / ice, is to lower the pressure in your tire, i usualy drop to about 10 psi in my tires, and this easly doubles the contact surface of the tire to the ground, however this also will wear your tires down faster, and increase your roling resistance, but its worth it.

    This year, i have decided to take a set of my older tires, and stud them myself, I read how to do it at the icebike.org website (a must visit!) I'll let you all know how long it took and the results as soon as im done and have some decent ice and snow to ride on

  9. #9
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Big wheels are best

    One thing I found was that big wheels a lot better in snow than small tires. My son and I were going for a spin - he on his 20" 'Tricks" bike and me on a 26" mountain bike. We didn't get very far before he asked to return home to get a 26" middleweight from the garage.

    I noticed that 27" work even better unless there is snow-pack or ice underneath. If the surface is icy, the skinny tires are, of course, terrible.

    Although I have never seen them, I suspect that knobby 27" tires on an old ten speed might make for a good winter bike (Hmmm....).

    In fact, maybe experimenting by making snow tires with an old pair of 27" tires and a fist full of sheet metal screws might be a good holiday project. Hmmm... The risk would be the tire blowing up on you when you put 70 to 90 psi into the tires after perforating them with the screws. I've been around over-inflated tire explosions - scary!

    Has anybody tried this?
    Mike

  10. #10
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Mike, i believe that the larger tire is better beacouse of surface area, as stated in my post above, the more surface area the better.

    If your really looking to get some good surface area contact, check out snowcat rims out of alaska, these rims are close to 3" wide, giving you something like 25 square inches of surface contact, I'll try to find a link for you later today.

    As for running 70 - 90 psi with screws, thats just crazy

  11. #11
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    My personal philosophy - I can handle a weather-related bike crash (although the older I get, the harder the ground gets!) ... but I CANNOT handle crashing, and then having an out-of-control car roll over me!

    If it's slippery enough to be treacherous, and I can't physically isolate myself from HEAVY traffic (by riding on sidewalks, dedicated paths, etc.), I'll find another mode of transportation for that day. The stakes are just too high.

    Far as ice riding... no sudden moves. Straight over the ice rink, anticipate the bumps and go over them GENTLY. Be prepared at all times to dismount or take other measures. Happy to say I haven't crashed due to icy conditions in almost 2 years / 10,000 miles.

  12. #12
    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    Originally posted by nickBMXr
    I'm a biker to tha bone but if u ain't got enough time to NOT BAIL ON UR *** cause u got to get somewhere in a hurry then JUST TAKE THE DAMN BUS if u ain't gotta car.....
    Bus? It would take me an hour and half (including the half hour waiting under the snow or walking to the stop) to go to some places I have to go to.

  13. #13
    Chicago Cyclist ViciousCycle's Avatar
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    If the streets you're riding on have salt on them, the first thing you should do when you get home is head for the shower. And bring your bike with you. For it's the bike, not you, that needs the shower.

    In Chicagoland, there are some hard-core winter cyclists, and there are those who swear by washing their bike daily whenever there's salt on the ground.

    If your chain is getting old, try to wait until the spring to replace it, because the chain is the most difficult part to get salt-free.
    The Easter Island people were clever, but their civilization collapsed after they chopped down the last tree on their island. You can't be 'resourceful' if you've used up all of your resources.

  14. #14
    Junior Member seer's Avatar
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    I ride the nearby lake on occasion, but I stick to straight across and straight back.
    Anything other and I find myself sliding...and sliding. Sometime's it's just too slippery.

    Anyone use tire chains?

  15. #15
    vlad
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    I live in East Texas. It rarely freezes and never for very long. If I lived where it freezes I would stud my airfree bicycle tires with drywall screws.

    When I lived in Montana I regrettably did not know about these tires. One day in the hardware I asked if they sell studded bicycle tires. They were still smiling when I left the store.

    I have not decided whether to run the screw through the rim as well as the tire; or just through the tire.

    It does not hurt your shoe heel that a nail is driven through it. It should not hurt my tires of dense polyurethane and nylon foam --that have no air tube -- to run drywall screws through them.

    talk about serious traction!!


    see airfree tires thread in General Discussion

  16. #16
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Originally posted by vlad
    One day in the hardware I asked if they sell studded bicycle tires. They were still smiling when I left the store.
    Glad to hear they were thick AND happy. Better than just being thick.

    http://www.nokiantyres.com/bike/winter/index.html

    Everything mentioned by previous posters becomes easier with a good pair of studded winter tyres. Hard-packed snow is actually quite convenient and safe, loose snow is ok but hard work and clear ice is scary stuff, even with studded tyres.

    If I had to share lanes with cars during winter, I'd plan my routes very carefully. We have good mixed bike / pedestrian path network which makes winter riding reasonably safe where I live.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  17. #17
    Peddlin' Around Detroit Motorad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViciousCycle View Post
    If the streets you're riding on have salt on them, the first thing you should do when you get home is head for the shower. And bring your bike with you. For it's the bike, not you, that needs the shower.

    In Chicagoland, there are some hard-core winter cyclists, and there are those who swear by washing their bike daily whenever there's salt on the ground.

    If your chain is getting old, try to wait until the spring to replace it, because the chain is the most difficult part to get salt-free.
    Michigan uses bodacious amounts of salt, so I have to ask. And I may have to get responses notarized ... to show the notarized statements to my wife ... but do others rinse their bikes in the shower? I'm assuming if you do, that you're just using low pressure warm water?

    Any tips associated with shower-rinsing the bike, such as putting a plastic bag over the seat?

  18. #18
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    Does anybody have any tips on how to handle bikes on icy roads?
    Following are some things that work for me:

    1. Buy studded tires.

    2. Do all braking, and especially hard braking in a straight line. Brake first. Then turn.

    3. Watch for deep puddles that are frozen on top and water underneath. Once I broke through a puddle, the front wheel dropped some 4-6 inches, the bike came to a quick halt, and I went over the bar. Not fun. I developed new respect for frozen puddles.

    4. Buy studded tires.

  19. #19
    Banned.
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    Cool. A 7 yr. old thread.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    Does anybody have any tips on how to handle bikes on icy roads?
    Winter cycling here means temps. in the high single digits to high teens in the morning during the coldest weeks. Everything gets frozen and there are one or two or three snow storms during the season. The two biggest things I do when that happens are:
    switch over to my mountain bike with the gnarly tread on the tires
    wear skateboarder type elbow and, especially, wrist guards (they fit snugly under the Pearl Izumi Inferno gloves I use)
    Crashes happen; the guards absorb most of the damage.

  21. #21
    Videre non videri
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis View Post
    Cool. A 7 yr. old thread.
    And now resurrected TWICE!

  22. #22
    Senior Member Cody Broken's Avatar
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    Yeah, a good thread. I'm with rideon7 about the armor. I plan to bike commute (sporadically) this winter, and I don't want to get hurt out there. I already have elbow pads and I'm going to look into the wrist guards, possibly even knees too. Maybe even a full-face helmet. I'll go full road warrior if I have to.

    I remember everything hurts worse in the cold.

    Even though diligent concentration and excellent technique might do the trick, I want back-up.
    I like the Winter Cycling forum. Very little annoying attitude and much good info shared.
    Trying to be nice

  23. #23
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    i'll chime in on a 7 year old thread.

    learn the skid turn.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  24. #24
    pj7
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    Can't let you guys have all the Necroposting fun!

    Ice handing tips:
    Close your eyes and just hold on tight.
    I am a sig Virus. Please put me in your sig so that I can continue to replicate.

  25. #25
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    With good studs, ice is as good as concrete or better. It worried me a great deal until I actually started riding. By the end of winter I was riding on any ice I could find, it was so much more stable and better than the snow and chunder.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

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