Snow can make cycling quite perilous, so you may want to choose to walk your journey instead. But if you’re determined to cycle, here are some tips for safe cycling in snow.
1. Check the weather forecast
Check the weather forecast before heading out the door to help you decide on the right clothing and to find out if ice is a threat. Ice is most likely to form overnight, so be extra careful if you’re heading off to work early.
2. Think about your feet
Wear appropriate, non-slip footwear. Not only will your feet stay dry and warm but you’re less likely to slip on your pedals or the ground when stopping. Overshoes, thermal socks and winter boots are all a good idea. Cold feet can make you feel miserable!
3. Use a different bike or tyres
Consider using wider or knobbly tyres, or if conditions are really icy you could even try studded tyres. If you don’t have the option of different tyres, try running your usual ones at a slightly lower pressure.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to more than one bike, try switching to one more suitable to the weather conditions, for example a mountain or cyclo-cross bike.
4. Lower your saddle
Drop your saddle a bit to lower your centre of gravity, which will allow you better control and it’ll be quicker to get your foot down flat on the ground if you do have a slide or wobble.
5. Consider a different route
Main roads are more likely to be cleared by cars and treated with salt, so if snow and ice are widespread consider sticking to these rather than your usual route to work or school.
Take particular care when you turn off a main road, which may be clear of ice, on to a quiet street that might not have been treated.
6. Stay out of the gutter
Puddles, which will freeze, are more likely to form in the gutter, and you’re better off staying in the centre of the lane, where cars have driven and cleared the snow.
7. Brake gently
If braking, gently apply the back brake only. Or better still, if you find yourself on ice, completely avoid braking altogether, stay relaxed and try to pedal smoothly. Give yourself longer to slow down and stop, and remember it's going to take other people longer to slow down too.
8. Keep checking
Snow and ice can quickly build up on your bike so occasionally, throughout your journey, check that the brakes are clear and still functioning properly.