Finally you have to be careful
about what youre riding on. Loose snow has a good traction,
much better than youd expect. It can hide a multitude of
sins though. The first time it snows, especially on un-gritted
roads, ride in the loose snow rather than the compressed snow
where cars have been (this is icy and slippery). Beware of
manholes though (youll see them as faint squares in the
snow) as these can be very slippery.
If the snow has been around for some time, thawing and
re-freezing, and then having new snowfall, be very careful about
riding on fresh snow, there may be ice or icy ridges under it. If
you hit these you may come off. You need to learn to recognise
them and ride on areas which will give you traction, you will
come to learn these in time.
On un-gritted roads be careful at bends, cars may have slid and
compacted the snow (even worse oncoming or overtaking traffic may
slide and hit you).
On un-gritted roads look for junctions with gritted roads. Cars
will have dragged salt onto the side roads and melted the snow.
You will get more traction riding in the car tracks at these
points, unless it has re-frozen!
Gritted roads are fine, but if you are riding late at night after
the traffic dies down be extremely careful. That melted snow may
re-freeze. The worst re-freeze will be black ice this
looks like an innocent wet road, up until the point you examine
it from close up whilst wondering what happened. Black ice can be
The other ice to look out for is heavily compressed snow. This is
shiny, smooth as glass and pure white, and again is as slippery
as the most slippery thing you can imagine.
The other big thing to look out for are
"micro-climates". These are areas such as shadows where
the sun has not melted the ice and snow on an otherwise
completely safe area. Advanced warnings you will get is seeing
the shadow of buildings across the road, large trees at the
roadside, crash barriers along the road between you and the sun,
and so on. Keep your eyes open more than normal.
If you suddenly hit an unexpected sheet of ice. Try to relax,
hold the bike upright and if safe go in a straight line.
Freewheel and DO NOT BRAKE. Just coast across it and then sort
out your gears and anything else you need to before riding off.
The big secret of riding safely, as always, is to plan ahead.
Look as far as you can, plan a course, then ride it whilst still
remaining alert. There is no point in travelling fast up to a
sheet of ice and then hitting it. If there is a problem up ahead
do all your braking and adjustments before you get to it.