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Ice on Surrey Hills

Kevin LangfordKevin Langford Posts: 4
edited November 2015 in Road general
Now winter is arriving properly I thought it worth setting up a thread so we can keep updated on where there is ice on the roads in the Surrey Hills this winter. (Fell off last January hitting ice near Bar Hatch)

Only worth updating when the temperature is around zero but worth telling people either where there are dangerous icy patches, or where is clear
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  • Nice idea, but in reality, at the advanced age of 53, the prospect of broken bones really, really doesn't appeal.

    I won't be going out when there's a risk of ice. If it's looking like a really bad winter, I may finally be getting a turbo. Or rollers, but the idea was to avoid injury....
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    Nice idea, but in reality, at the advanced age of 53, the prospect of broken bones really, really doesn't appeal.

    I won't be going out when there's a risk of ice. If it's looking like a really bad winter, I may finally be getting a turbo. Or rollers, but the idea was to avoid injury....

    +1

    Often see on forums riders boasting of how hard they are for riding when ice is predicted. Pointless. Ride smart, take a day off and call it a maintenance day.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    It's so localised that it's impossible to know. I've ridden past fishing lakes that were completely clear of frost - and it was a few degrees above zero only to come off on black ice round the corner.

    I've ridden twenty miles with no sign of first only to found a corner and hit sheet ice. You'd never have known until your wheels went from under you.

    That said - wirral tomorrow. Who is riding ?
  • It's so localised that it's impossible to know. I've ridden past fishing lakes that were completely clear of frost - and it was a few degrees above zero only to come off on black ice round the corner.
    This is the thing. I'm genuinely grateful to the guys here that have 'fessed up to coming off on unforeseen black ice.

    Seriously guys, I salute you. You've saved me from myself - I love the cold, crisp weather, at least now I have my winter boots and overshoes. But ice is such an unknown, it's just not worth the risk to me.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • fish156fish156 Posts: 496
    I find it useful to see what the temperature has been over night, not just what the temperature is now.
    • 2 degrees now and that's the lowest it's been all night & I'll probably head out.
    • 2 degrees now but it's been -3 all night: no way, too risky for me.

    I tend to use metoffice website for recent historic data:
      e.g.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/observation/gcpet7b8b
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    I find it useful to see what the temperature has been over night, not just what the temperature is now.
    • 2 degrees now and that's the lowest it's been all night & I'll probably head out.
    • 2 degrees now but it's been -3 all night: no way, too risky for me.

    I tend to use metoffice website for recent historic data:
      e.g.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/observation/gcpet7b8b

    Good advice i do the same and also go by how dry the roads are. I never take any risks with ice or high winds.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    Get the MTB out - its actually quite pleasant on frozen ground - less mucky.
  • Agreed this is experimental and everyone has to take their own choice on risk. And of course irrelevant to people not living near here

    But it might be useful - it can at least give a sense of what roads are like - and folk can then make their own minds up as to how risk averse they are

    Ride 8-11 Sunday 22nd, overnight temperature was down to zero, and only got up to about 4 while we were out

    Where there were puddles at the side of the road there was ice, but in general the roads were very dry - though we deliberately didn't venture far out into Surrey

    The three specifc climbs/descents we did - did all of them both up and down
    - Headley Road out of Epsom to Box HIll - generally safe and dry - a few frozen puddles in the gutter, and a small piece of ice at the junction with Headley Common Road and Box Hill Road
    - Box Hill - completely clear apart from some very visible and easiliy avoidable ice at the entrance to the car park at the bottom
    - Ranmore Common Road (the little one that brings you down through Westhumble) - nice and dry and clear about from one spot to watch at the sharp right hander near the top
  • I've had 6 months of rest days over the last four weeks. I really need to get out!
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    When its cold I generally ride out west, Windsor and that whole area, bigger roads, not many shady hills, allows you to get out without the worry of binning it.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,210
    I find it useful to see what the temperature has been over night, not just what the temperature is now.
    • 2 degrees now and that's the lowest it's been all night & I'll probably head out.
    • 2 degrees now but it's been -3 all night: no way, too risky for me.

    I tend to use metoffice website for recent historic data:
      e.g.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/observation/gcpet7b8b

    I live in the Essex countryside and came off on black ice last year. I like your suggested modus operandi. :D
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    A few winters ago I was coming down off Leith Hill, it was sheet ice, I had a foot out and was simply sliding. A group coming the other way chose to ignore my advice and all fell off, some hurt themselves quite badly.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Freezing (or has been overnight) and below = turbo. I used to be out in all conditions and laughed in the face of sub-zero rides wondering why no one else had showed up. Lightweights I thought, bunch of softies. I got away with it for quite a few winters too then had 2 black ice spills close together which taught me that it doesn't matter how good your bike handling is or how careful you are there's nothing you can do and it hurts. Assuming you've not slid under a lorry or whatever there's the cost of replacing broken parts, clothing, helmet etc. It's really not worth it. Turbo, gym, off-road mtb or go for a run - there plenty of other options which are much safer.
  • hit ice, on road you'll hit the ground, with luck at low speed comedy fall, but even a low speeds fall can be serious.

    take that CX/gravel/MTB bike out off road ice is not a problem, certainly Surrey Hills and like.
  • I find it useful to see what the temperature has been over night, not just what the temperature is now.
    • 2 degrees now and that's the lowest it's been all night & I'll probably head out.
    • 2 degrees now but it's been -3 all night: no way, too risky for me.

    I tend to use metoffice website for recent historic data:
      e.g.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/observation/gcpet7b8b
    That observations part of the Met Office is one I hadn't found, thanks.

    The last time I came off on ice was one when I hadn't checked the overnight temperatures - it had been OK at bedtime, and was around freezing when I set off, but Devon main roads have a well-publicised gritting map, so I thought I'd be OK on that. But I hadn't accounted for a drop to -8C at about 3am, lasting a couple of hours, then a slow rise to freezing. And going round a corner, the entire road was covered in thick sheet ice, where water had been flowing across. No chance for me. No serious damage done to me or bike, and a lesson learnt.
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Every year I see on facebook people calling other people wimps for not going out in minus temps and 6 weeks later they've totalled their bike and broken a bone.

    Ice = Turbo.
  • alex222alex222 Posts: 598
    edited November 2015
    Came off on black ice last winter close to the Surrey Hills. Fortunately i got away with just a cracked helmet and stitches above the eye. To rub salt into the wound a car then drove into me on the way home (but no damage done that time, although the blood flowing down my face gave the driver a shock).

    My policy now is if there is any sign of ice on the car windscreen I won't head out on the road bike.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Every year I see on facebook people calling other people wimps for not going out in minus temps and 6 weeks later they've totalled their bike and broken a bone.

    Ice = Turbo.

    I also think you get a better quality workout on the turbo - or you can if you want to anyway. OK so you won't stop for cakes and get fresh air - but it's good training.
  • diamonddogdiamonddog Posts: 3,420
    Ice = Turbo.
    ^^This
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    I didn't realise that ice on the Surrey hills was such an issue compared to all the other places in the country where ice might form! :lol:
    Faster than a tent.......
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 806
    hit ice, on road you'll hit the ground, with luck at low speed comedy fall, but even a low speeds fall can be serious.

    take that CX/gravel/MTB bike out off road ice is not a problem, certainly Surrey Hills and like.

    I had two crashes on ice last year, the first I was doing about 15 mph, and although my helmet banged into the ground, most of it was a long slide along the Tarmac. Second time I was doing about 2 mph turning across a road into a gated park. Went straight down on both wrists, broke one, bashed my shoulder, bruised my knee and banged my helmet again. (As an aside, a plus for wearing a helmet that doesn't get mentioned in the debate too often :twisted: ). No other cars or vehicles involved either time, could have been horrendous if there had been anything else around. Five weeks off, joined a gym in the mean time.

    Friends had nasty offs on ice before, and I thought they were doing something wrong, that I somehow had superior technique and ability. It's just luck, if you ride a normal road bike when it is 3 degrees or under, sooner or later you will come off, and if you get away with it once or twice, you'll end up having a big one.

    I'll be in the gym and out on the mountain bike a lot more this winter. I can't face a turbo - my garage is a hole and the mrs won't let me have a bike in the house.
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    Best bets from my experience is stay away from the top of Leith, it’s a moisture trap and has a pretty average road surface, and Barhatch area as well. The lotus garage climb can be absolutely hellish.

    Combe up, and Staple are fine, Box is never a problem, normally, neither is the critten lane climb, Crocknorth is hit and miss and Whitedown can be very treacherous both up and down. The main Ranmore climb is never normally a problem, but the descent can be awful. The ranmore common road is an interesting descent at the best of times…

    I usually do more rides out west, the roads for the most part are clearer, and safer, and whilst nowhere in the immediate vicinity of Kingston or Sunbury has anything decent in terms of hills, though there are a few which are good for testing out your 1-2-3 minute power near Windsor.

    Or just go out to the chilterns…
  • mfinmfin Posts: 6,724
    I didn't realise that ice on the Surrey hills was such an issue compared to all the other places in the country where ice might form! :lol:

    90% of the people on here only ride in the Surrey Hills though and 95% of them only up Box Slope.
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    Very true. Look at the likes of strava and you'll see there are some pretty generic trails taking in just box and often the Headley road afterwards.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,316
    hit ic
    Friends had nasty offs on ice before, and I thought they were doing something wrong, that I somehow had superior technique and ability. It's just luck, if you ride a normal road bike when it is 3 degrees or under, sooner or later you will come off, and if you get away with it once or twice, you'll end up having a big one.
    .

    Depends on the moisture on the ground and the routes you choose. I'm not one for taking risks bit I'd go out in the evening on dry roads on our usual chaingang route or do 50 miles up to Bakewell and back on the A6 on a morning even if it was sub zero. It takes a fairly unusual set of circumstances for a road like that to be icy and if it is then my own road is invariably worse so I know as soon as I'm outside my front door.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,428 Lives Here
    Very true. Look at the likes of strava and you'll see there are some pretty generic trails taking in just box and often the Headley road afterwards.


    Round trip to box via effy for me is 90km.

    Alternative is ride in central London.

    Can go via staple & crock first for 100km but box is a useful and fun way to head back via the Epsom roundabouts which is good fun in a small group.
  • Consensus seems to be that this is the safest route when the temperature is nudging down towards zero anyway - which is logical enough as it is the least far out. So lets not knock it.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,969
    I'm with the ice = turbo apart from the fact that i got rid of my car a few years ago so i have to ride the 15 miles to the station everyday regardless of weather, this time of year is a nightmare for me it was minus 3 last night and most mornings for the last couple of months have been 3-4 degrees, windy wet and now ice.

    i think living in the countryside and only having one car is a bad idea :evil:
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored 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.
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    I'm with the ice = turbo apart from the fact that i got rid of my car a few years ago so i have to ride the 15 miles to the station everyday regardless of weather, this time of year is a nightmare for me it was minus 3 last night and most mornings for the last couple of months have been 3-4 degrees, windy wet and now ice.

    i think living in the countryside and only having one car is a bad idea :evil:

    You don't live far from me (Newbury) A4 is generally pretty decent all year round...I always get grit blasted on it anyway :)
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Very true. Look at the likes of strava and you'll see there are some pretty generic trails taking in just box and often the Headley road afterwards.

    It's grim for cyclists in That London......... :(
    Faster than a tent.......
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