Cycling on Ice/Frost

alarustic
alarustic Posts: 24
edited November 2013 in Road general
If I look outside, the roads are all white as can be seen in the pic below. I can't believe I have to stay off the bike until this weather improves (probably in April?!), so should ride on this stuff? My main concern is clipless pedals affecting my chance to put a foot down if I start to slip.

ice.jpg
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Comments

  • main roads are not like that. If my street is iced up i walk too the main road and start.
  • or if the clearance on your bike will allow then fitting a set of spike tyres (like Schwalbe Marathon Winters) will allow you to continuing cycling when it's icy ... bit overkill for just frost though, as they main roads will usually be okay in those instances. But when it gets really cold and icy spike tyres are awesome - I've cycled in -10c with black ice everywhere without an issue on the spikes :-)
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    last winter I only stopped riding when we had a dump of snow overnight that the authorities hadn't cleared off the main road in the morning - to ride in (perfectly possible) would've meant following in the tyre tracks making life hard for traffic trying to pass me - so I drove.

    Other than that I mostly rode in - wider tyres (cx) made it possible, even on bits of ice - these weren't all glassy smooth so there were ways around them. You just have to take it steady. I did lower the saddle after a dump of snow on my way home. I also rode unclipped for some sections.

    I've got some studded tyres for when it gets bad this year ...

    What you've got on the road in that picture is just frost - it's not sheet ice - although there may be some ice patches..

    No, it's not perfectly safe - but it's not 100% dangerous either - your decision to ride or not depends on your kit, your ability and your perception of risk - personally I'd ride it, but then I like a bit of risk! ;)
  • MartinGT
    MartinGT Posts: 475
    Let a wee bit of air out your tyres helps a tad too
  • when you slip on ice, being clipped in or not won't make a difference, you can go down so fast you wouldn't be able to save yourself on flat pedals.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,426
    I've never had a problem when it's just frost, it tends to melt under your wheels. Much like walking on frost. Black ice, frozen wet leaves and compacted snow are a different story though.
  • gimpl
    gimpl Posts: 269
    edited November 2013
    when you slip on ice, being clipped in or not won't make a difference, you can go down so fast you wouldn't be able to save yourself on flat pedals.

    This ^^^

    Fractured my elbow last December after coming off on the ice. Happened so fast couldn't believe it. Didn't even get my hand down let alone think about unclipping !! Was going really slowly too as could clearly see it was icy, not making any sudden movements, one blink upright - next blink on the ground going 'ow!'.

    Had a few frosty mornings and just thought it was not worth the risk - turbo for me, boring but safe !
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    I got caught out on frost last winter.

    Went out for a ride with my brother on a sunny, dry & cold morning. We noticed a bit of frost on the roads so took is carefully, but on the first corner both of us went down like a sack of sh*t. The road looked frost free (until we checked it out from the floor), it happened so quickly that neither of us even had time to think about unclipping, let alone actually getting a foot down.

    Generally, as soon as the sun gets onto the roads, the frost will disappear, just be careful in shaded areas !
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • Well bloody hell.
    Did a short 20mile stint this lunch time, most of the roads were wet and my route goes via country lanes. There were bits of ice etc but the only slight moment I had was actually on a main road!. Just because they are gritted doesn't mean there are frozen patches on the outer edges. :shock:

    Trouble is these sunny days in winter = frost and ice on the roads. They also ice over pretty quick after 2pm.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I tend not to worry about frost, if the weather has been dry. However, if the roads were wet the night before and awoken to sub-zero temperatures means there's a high probability of black ice - you'll simpy go over like a sack of spuds and it's probably time to head offroad.
    If there is a chance of black ice, I steer clear of roads that are shaded / under trees - I've even encountered situations where one side of the road is clear, the other ice due to camber of the road leaving it in shadow.
    I only use studded/ice tyres when there's snow on the ground - they're too heavy and sluggish to want to ride them for general use.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • itboffin
    itboffin Posts: 20,052
    I hate getting 5-10 miles in only to drop down into the valley and find the temp is well into minus digits and the whole road coated in a sheet of thick ice, similarly getting to the top of long climb and finding the descent the other side sheet ice :evil:

    I HATE ICE
    Rule #5 // Harden The Feck Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • nick1c
    nick1c Posts: 48
    Go mountain biking. A frosty dawnie is one of the few things that get me up in the dark. Fast trails, nobody around, clean bike, not too sweaty, normally a good sunrise………..& frosty ground off road is surprisingly grippy.
    Icy roads + bike = a quick way to A&E IMHO
  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    I don't mind frost like in the pic, you find that on country roads well in to the day in shaded areas. It's black ice that's the ba5tard, I got caught out on that about 6 years back and ended up with a cracked wrist and fractured elbow, it was an uncomfortable ten mile ride home.
    Last year I found a real issue where water had run off the fields on to the road and frozen, this usually occured halfway down a hill and I shat myself a few times during the winter when I hit the run off, it's a shut your eyes and pray job.
  • if it gets into the minus' and the roads are are wet I just go on the trainer out in the shed,way to much of a risk IMO....saying that if the roads are bone dry not a problem just wrap up well and off I go...(doesn't happen that much about here tho,always raining etc as we seem to get everything dumped on us first coming in off the atlantic)
    Lapierre Aircode 300
    Merida
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    Gimpl wrote:
    when you slip on ice, being clipped in or not won't make a difference, you can go down so fast you wouldn't be able to save yourself on flat pedals.

    This ^^^

    Fractured my elbow last December after coming off on the ice. Happened so fast couldn't believe it. Didn't even get my hand down let alone think about unclipping !! Was going really slowly too as could clearly see it was icy, not making any sudden movements, one blink upright - next blink on the ground going 'ow!'.

    Had a few frosty mornings and just thought it was not worth the risk - turbo for me, boring but safe !

    If you hit ice even on a mountain bike you just go straight down on roads. I landed on both knees once which was really painful and another time went spinning across the road. Just not worth the risk. Main roads tend to be OK but side roads and even worse country lanes will be very dangerous when it is icy.
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    nick1c wrote:
    Go mountain biking. A frosty dawnie is one of the few things that get me up in the dark. Fast trails, nobody around, clean bike, not too sweaty, normally a good sunrise………..& frosty ground off road is surprisingly grippy.
    Icy roads + bike = a quick way to A&E IMHO

    Mountain biking in the icy weather on the right off road trails is really good and there is plenty of grip.
  • cycleclinic
    cycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Frost is a non issue. Ice though brings out the MTB with ice tyres. Which reminds me I must order some more for stock, thanks for reminding me.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Initialised
    Initialised Posts: 3,047
    alarustic wrote:
    My main concern is clipless pedals affecting my chance to put a foot down if I start to slip.

    You could change to MTB shoes, just don't walk in the snow too much as you tend to get a big lump of ice on the cleat.

    If you want grip on sheet ice/compacted snow when putting a foot down use these (or similar): http://www.icespike.com/store/index.html

    If you have an old pair of MTB shoes you could get Schwalbe replacement studs and add them to your shoes with a little bit of thought: http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/a85424 ... tAod_1EApA
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • mfin
    mfin Posts: 6,729
    alarustic wrote:
    My main concern is clipless pedals affecting my chance to put a foot down if I start to slip.

    You could change to MTB shoes, just don't walk in the snow too much as you tend to get a big lump of ice on the cleat.

    If you want grip on sheet ice/compacted snow when putting a foot down use these (or similar): http://www.icespike.com/store/index.html

    If you have an old pair of MTB shoes you could get Schwalbe replacement studs and add them to your shoes with a little bit of thought: http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/a85424 ... tAod_1EApA

    Yep, and then he'd have a completely different system of pedals that he still wouldn't have any time to clip out of before he hit the deck.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    You can ride on ice, but you have to be careful, wider tyres help. I rode all last winter in the ice and snow - didn't go down once.... However, I have invested in studded tyres for this winter as although its possible it is dodgy...
  • gimpl
    gimpl Posts: 269
    Slowbike wrote:
    You can ride on ice, but you have to be careful, wider tyres help. I rode all last winter in the ice and snow - didn't go down once.... However, I have invested in studded tyres for this winter as although its possible it is dodgy...

    I don't care how careful you are, if you haven't come off yet and your riding around on icy roads (black ice) it's just a matter of time.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Gimpl wrote:
    Slowbike wrote:
    You can ride on ice, but you have to be careful, wider tyres help. I rode all last winter in the ice and snow - didn't go down once.... However, I have invested in studded tyres for this winter as although its possible it is dodgy...

    I don't care how careful you are, if you haven't come off yet and your riding around on icy roads (black ice) it's just a matter of time.

    I care how careful I am ... riding a round on ice isn't sensible - straight lines are better ... and it does take time - one time my normal 35min commute took over an hour - but that did involve riding on snow covered ice, down an ice strewn hill and then up a snow covered hill that cars couldn't get up - then it was clear road ... all in the dark.

    You can have excellent traction on ice - or it can be impossibly slippery - it just depends how smooth it is.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Nope not for me.. Having managed a significant off in high summer. Boring old turbo trainer here...
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    when you slip on ice, being clipped in or not won't make a difference, you can go down so fast you wouldn't be able to save yourself on flat pedals.
    That is oh so true. I ride on flats and when I hit a patch of well disguised frosty/ice last February it was instant - bang.

    On the other hand, I was clear of the bike - no twisted knees from being caught in the pedals
  • kwi
    kwi Posts: 181
    Ice really sucks, only had one off due to ice and was lucky it wasn't worse. Lost the bike while coming up to a junction, crossed a single carriageway 'A' road, at peak morning time, on my left hip, it was that slippery I didn't suffer any grazes, even my tights survived intact. And bike was fine too.
    Helmet took a battering though as I didn't even get my arms down to break my fall.
  • CHRISNOIR
    CHRISNOIR Posts: 1,400
    I'm just not going to bother this winter. Roughly this time last year I came off on frost after 400 yards of what was supposed to be my 'start-getting-the-winter-miles-in' ride. Everyone's right about clipless pedals vs flat; it happens so fast even at low speed. The first I knew about it was when I was lying in the road. Elbow was broken and I couldn't even think about riding for two months. Stuck to the turbo after that until the end of February when it warmed up a tad and think I'll do the same this year.
  • With the right tools (ie studded tyres like Marathon Winter), ice/frost is no problem.

    I wouldn't contemplate riding on ice any other way. Lower pressures on normal tyres make no difference as they have zero grip on ice whatever their pressure.

    I often ride my commute on ice tyres on days where I might come across just a few metres of icy patches, but it was less than that that put me in hospital a while back. As the other guys said, when you go down, it's so quick you just hit the deck, no time to even think about putting a foot down.

    They ride fine on tarmac anyway, just a bit noisy.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Perhaps I was really lucky - I did take it really carefully - but these are taken using a vid cam mounted on my CX bike with standard semi-slick cx tyres on - the semi bit is because they have knobbly edges - they're not good CX tyres though - as UGO can vouch for! Knobblies are no good on sheet ice - but if there's any break in the surface they'll probably grip.
    Can't remember what pressure I used. Probably around 60-70 on 32mm tyres.

    How did I survive? Slow, steady riding, no dramatic steering, aiming for the crunchy stuff, avoiding sheet ice and a good deal of luck.

    I'm not suggesting that everyone should get out there and ride on ice - that's ridiculous - but neither do you need to be scared of it - it needs respect and you do run the risk of falling off and doing some serious damage - but you run that risk on the road anyway. I'm just showing that it can be done relatively safely...


    iceconditions1.jpg

    snownice.jpg
  • fossyant
    fossyant Posts: 2,549
    Ice then I'm out with my MTB with studded tyres. Just not worth the risk. Dry and frosty is OK, just be careful on side roads. But wet and potentially icy, don't risk it. as said earlier, if it's been wet the night before, then froze, that's lethal.
  • tom3
    tom3 Posts: 287
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    when you slip on ice, being clipped in or not won't make a difference, you can go down so fast you wouldn't be able to save yourself on flat pedals.
    That is oh so true. I ride on flats and when I hit a patch of well disguised frosty/ice last February it was instant - bang.

    On the other hand, I was clear of the bike - no twisted knees from being caught in the pedals


    exactly the same as me. the flat road had a slight camber towards the kerb. Hit black ice and the next thing my head was sliding along the road for what seemed ages. Came away from bike straight away and luckily the pedal took most the impact on the bike. broke my wrist and deep bruising to hip.