Friday, 19 March 2010
How to Ride a Bicycle on the ice
Three things I need to emphasize before writing anything else on this subject. Number one, do not ride your bicycle if the conditions are not safe. And number two the best way to ride your bicycle on ice is with studded tires that are in good condition. And the third and most important, always wear your helmet. Especially if the trails are snow covered and/or icy.
OK, now that we have covered the safety issue, let me explain why I'm writing this article. I have already written a review on my Studded Bicycling Tires. My studded snow tires are worn out and I don't have the money to replace them at this time. But I continue to go out Bicycling anyways. I was out riding one afternoon and the trails where very icy because the temperature was in the forties earlier in the week but then it turned very cold. So the snow melted when it was warm and then the puddles froze on the trails. And while I was riding and trying to make sure I didn't crash, I thought some people might like some tips on riding their bike on icy trail just in case they happened across some unexpected ice on their bike ride.
The first thing I recommend to do is to look forward as far as you can and look for non icy areas. If you are looking forward you can plan your line to get through the icy area. When I ride on icy areas I point my bike in the direction of the dry areas. You don't want to turn your bike while you are on ice. When you get to a dry area is the time to change your line. But don't forget to be looking forward so when you get to the non icy area you know where your next line will be headed.
Next, don't turn on ice if you can help it. I already covered this a little in the previous paragraph but it is important enough to cover again. Turning or changing direction is very difficult to do while you are on ice without crashing. If you must turn, try to turn as little as possible. And remember, if you can't stay on the trail because of ice it's ok, the snow on the side of the trails is usually safer than the ice on the trail.
Don't use your brakes on ice. This will always make your tires slip. If you absolutely have to use your brakes, use the rear brake. Never use the front brake while on ice. If your rear tire slips it is easier to recover than if your front tire slips.
And you don't want to pedal while on the ice. When you pedal the rear tire can slip on the ice and come out from under you. Also when you pedal you are shifting your weight from side to side and that can also make your tires slip on the ice.
And just to recap: Do not ride your bicycle if the conditions are not safe. The best way to ride your bicycle on ice is with studded tires that are in good condition. And always wear your helmet. Especially if the trails are snow covered and/or icy.
This article is only to help you if you come across an area of ice you didn't expect. If you know the trails are icy I recommend staying home for a couple of days just to be safe.
About the author: Dennis Gertgen is an intermediate bicycle rider. He has been Bicycling [http://www.dennisgertgen.com] seriously since the summer of 2007. He rides both road bikes and Mountain bikes as often as he can. And he is sharing some of his experiences with biking, trails and equipment. To read this: How to Ride Your Bicycle on Icy Trails [http://www.dennisgertgen.com/blog/?p=370] and other articles on bicycling and staying fit.
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