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Cycling on snow and ice?

pro_velo_bike_bicycle_snow_winter

You’re about to hit the road in rather adverse weather conditions? Here are some tricks that should make it easier!

Increase your stability

Adjust the centre of gravity of your bike:

  • by lowering the saddle you will be closer to the ground in case you lose balance
  • go for pannier bags fastened to the luggage rack rather than a backpack

Improve your surface adhesion

To increase the connection between your tyres and the roadway:

  • slightly decrease the pressure of your tyres. Note: in normal weather your tyres should be inflated right up to the pressure level indicated on them (3.5 bar or 70 psi for a city bike). By doing this you pedal less, punctures are rare and your tyres last longer.
  • replace your tyres with ones that have a larger width and deeper treads, mountainbike style. Winter bike tyres (with studs) are not really required in the case of short periods of snow.

On the road

  1. Ride close to the ground – lower your saddle – and carefully go into bends: lean as little as possible.
  2. Go at your own rhythm, be relaxed and avoid sudden movements.
  3. Ride more slowly than usual and keep your distance even if the road surface seems fine.
  4. Use both brakes together and sparingly: avoid using the front break by itself as much as possible. So anticipate and be attentive.
  5. Watch out for pedestrian crossings and other road markings hidden by snow or made slippery by ice.
  6. Preferably ride in fresh snow.
  7. Avoid the tracks left by cars, densely packed and often icy.

Maintenance

When you get home, clean the chain, sprockets and gear system with hot water. Dry and oil all the moving parts of your bike. This way you will avoid damage caused by ice, snow, mud and, above all, salt.

Through developing personalised solutions that facilitate and encourage people to transition to cycling, the non-profit organisation Pro Velo contributes to a higher quality of life.