Dark side – just fell off on ice, advice on tyres/riding style etc?

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  • Dark side – just fell off on ice, advice on tyres/riding style etc?
  • manilow
    Member

    Hi all, usually I’m a fair weather ride when it comes to the road bike, but want to improve my fitness over winter. So got all enthusiastic, wrapped up and literally within 3 mins of setting off this morning, pedalled from house to first corner in the road and taking a left turn at 5mph….suddenly the bike went sideways and I crashed straight down on hip/hand etc.

    Nothing broken, just sore and pissed off so tramped back to the house. Went back to the scene of the crime and it was a sheet of black ice that was the cause.

    So how do you cope with winter riding on roads tyre/bike wise? It is a bright sunny morning and the ground is slightly wet – should I get wider tyres with better grip (running GP4000s at 23mm, so prob only myself to blame). Maybe get a cheap cross bike if that is more stable on winter roads with knobbly tires?

    Would appreciate your thoughts/tips as even when I was going slowly, I still came off! Really want to be able to keep cycling in winter but don’t want to be restricted to dry days.

    Thanks
    Chris

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    You don’t do it. Jump on the turbo, head off road, or get spiked tyres.

    Nothing you can do to avoid it with slicks frankly.

    richardthird
    Member

    I just don’t ride on the roads if there is any chance of black ice.

    djglover
    Member

    There is no cure, just ride on gritted routes. Loads of folk in our local cycling club have broken their hip. I came close last winter too, then decided to give up cycling for running as I was sick of sitting in the garage all week on the turbo

    hora
    Member

    In the harsh winter 5(?) years ago it was crisp, cold but dry so I hopped on the bike got 10m’s from my front gate and promptly washed out sideways on black ice. I was still holding both bars when I landed sideways on my head.

    Absolutely **** all you can do. What with early morning drivers driving around with a porthole to see out of, misted up windows etc ontop of the ice – why bother risking your health just to be basically, bloody-minded?

    Premier Icon mtbguiding
    Subscriber

    Like richardthirds said – turbo when there’s ice around (esp of the black variety!)

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    Schwalbe Snow Stud Probably won’t fit a roadie though

    Other options are Schwalbe Winters and Schwalbe Marathon Winters, but again might be too big.

    Knobbly tyres won’t do much to stop slipping on sheet ice

    I’ve got the Snow Studs on my Inbred 29er, only commute on it though not for clocking up serious mileage

    freeagent
    Member

    Road bike stays in the shed if there is any danger of ice on the roads..

    Turbo or MTB for me.

    LardLover
    Member

    Ain’t nothing going to stop you going down on black ice Chris.

    Sounds like you were taking it easy round the corner, you were just unlucky. Be thankful that you weren’t going faster.

    I had my first off on black ice his time last year, unfortunately I was going downhill at the time (around 30mph), just coming round a bend when I lost the front wheel. Went down like a sack of shite and bust several ribs.

    Anyhoo, don’t let it put you off, just be ultra careful when cornering etc if it’s a bit nippy.

    traildog
    Member

    You will find a lot of roadies get a mountain bike for winter riding. The cross bike idea with knobbly tyres won’t help, if anything will make it worse. Unless of course you want to ride on fields, in which case that’s another alternative.

    If you must get on the road then just take it easy, sticking to well gritted roads and don’t head out very early.

    mashiehood
    Member

    What everyone has said – stay home, turbo or off road.

    cupra
    Member

    Schwalbe marathon winters deployed ts morning – brilliant bit of kit. Used on a cx bike though as roadies one doesn’t have clearance. They are also a bitch to fit relative to most other tyres so to save hassle I stuck on them another set of wheels – far easier.

    hora
    Member

    At least with off road you wont be run over after you’ve fallen off as well.

    Premier Icon adsh
    Subscriber

    You don’t do it.

    This! 3c and damp roads and I break out the turbo and netflix. If it’s dry and really early I’ll go out in lower temps and stick to more major roads if I can.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Yep – I know which roads by me are going to be gritted, so I stick to them.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    we’ve had some tricky weather recently: warm enough to rain, cold enough to freeze.

    while we wait for the weather to warm up or (more likely?) cool down, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and if it dropped to freezing overnight, then initiate planB.

    (you’ll need a planB)

    manilow
    Member

    Good shout guys, you have confirmed my inner thoughts (!)

    Am a runner too so will stick with that or just do intervals etc on the 29er. Was just keen to get miles in and was hoping to not be stuck indoors, but I have to be realistic and safe.

    Turbo to be added to the Xmas list !

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Anyhoo, don’t let it put you off, just be ultra careful when cornering etc if it’s a bit nippy.

    Massive disagree on that.

    Yep – I know which roads by me are going to be gritted, so I stick to them.

    I drove down a fairly major a-road yesterday morning, about 8:00. It had been gritted, but in two separate places water had run off the fields and frozen like a pane of glass on the road. It was quite visible, but one was coming into a slight bend, the car didn’t particularly enjoy it, but it was only short and I took it slowly enough to avoid any dramas. On a bike you’d have no chance whatsoever, you’d be straight down.

    Premier Icon hatter
    Subscriber

    Ditto, used to go ‘grrr MTFU’ and go out regardless but no amount of skill or bravado can help you if you hit ice on a road bike, you just go splat and the car behind you then can’t stop.

    Besides, when it’s proper icy the trails are frozen so it’s like riding hardpack again, get out on the MTB!

    If neither of these are an option then get on the rollers.

    jonba
    Member

    Only spiked tyres grip ice. They are draggy as hell so you’d probably not enjoy it much but if local off road is limited then it could work. Car’s don’t tend to have spiked tyres so be very careful. In the NE it is not uncommon to see them lying in ditches on country roads at this time of year. You wouldn’t want to be in the way of a car that can’t stop.

    You can ride through winter if you pick your days. Temperature above freezing over previous night and don’t set off early.

    Still it is risky and I tend not to bother.

    Turbo, Mtb/cross bike off road is much better if viable.

    Premier Icon adsh
    Subscriber

    For me the difficult area is not the obviously icy as hell morning but the borderline one where it’s 4c at home but might be freezing in a couple of hollows on my minor road commute. I err on the side of caution and explain to my wife why I’m going to be in the shed for 2 hours that evening.

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    Went out for a ride on Saturday, group of 8 of us, we’d done about 15 miles (without any dramas other than one puncture) when suddenly, on a wide open road in complete sunlight, everbody started sliding. Black ice pretty much the whole road over! The guy in front of me went down (though fortunately I’d left a gap) and I managed to unclip and use my foot on the grass verge to stop me before I ran him over, then I turned round to see one other guy had gone down and my GF behind him too…

    The 2 guys were ok, minor bruising but nothing worse. My GF had a big hole in her knee that needed attention at A&E! ๐Ÿ™

    Fortunately a kind motorist offered to take her to A&E, so we cut the ride short and headed back to base via the quickest route. Cue numerous slidey moments on the way back too! ๐Ÿ˜•

    Picked the GF up from A&E in my car, fortunately no serious damage, but she won’t be riding on the road again if there’s any chance of ice!

    Gary_M
    Member

    it was a sheet of black ice that was the cause

    Don’t turn, don’t brake, don’t pedal, hit it straight on and you might stay upright. Apart from spiked tyres, and I’m not sure how effective they would be on black ice, there’s nothing else you can do.

    If there’s black ice I don’t ride, its just too stressful.

    hora
    Member

    mboy thats the thing you just dont know do you. If its there or not until your on it. ๐Ÿ˜•

    Saturday am- I set off really slowly/carefully as my area is covered in ice and is still sub zero. Just about every other car on the road is driving over the limit. On the curving dual-lane slip road off the motorway (its out of the sun/in shadow) I was undertaken at speed by a woman in a new Peugeot. Mental.

    People start crashing their cars at the first sign of ice and snow so **** sharing the road with them on a bike (sadly).

    (My car has AWD and 4 winter tyres on too!)

    Jamie
    Member

    Ain’t nothing going to stop you going down on black ice Chris.

    manilow
    Member

    Ha! Nice one Jamie!

    *sparks on the welder*

    PJM1974
    Member

    Winter. I’ve just swapped the Specialized 26″ slicks that were on my P7 for Minions/High Rollers. On the plus side, I’ve more grip than I know what to do with but on the negative side my knees were killing me after fifteen miles of cycling along the Old Kent Road playing “catch the roadie”.

    Jamie
    Member

    *sparks on the welder*

    This might be a better design, as you can get your knee down as well. 8)

    Schwalbe Winters are the narrowest of the spiked tyres at 30c. I use them on my winter/cross bike with mudguards. I think you would struggle to get them on a road bike unless it had big clearances.

    As stated only spike tyres will give you grip on ice. They are very heavy and are noticeably slower but they will keep you upright.

    Regards

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    Tricky one. If it’s obviously icy then stay at home or go off road. But if like the last few days it’s merely been a bit frosty with the odd patch of ice in the gutters I’d probably still go out. Just stick to roads you know will be gritted (A-roads mostly) and that you know well, take it easy and ride in the middle of the road as the vast majority of ice will be in the gutters. If you see anything ahead that looks remotely dodgy then unclip and get ready to bail. Some will no doubt disagree but it’d be a shame to miss those perfect winter days.

    MrSalmon
    Member

    If there’s any chance of ice just stay in or go and do something else instead. Just not worth risking yourself or your kit.
    Shame really because I really like a nice crisp frosty road ride!

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    take it easy and ride in the middle of the road as the vast majority of ice will be in the gutters

    If I am out and it’s dubious I ride in the area that car tyres will have covered.

    Gary_M
    Member

    Yeh this morning was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t ride at all last week due to snow and/or ice. Looked out this morning, no frost, wet and windy so looked fine.

    No ice on the pavement but got on the cycle path and it was very, very dodgy. Had to take to the road which is fairly quiet but still had some icy patches but no black ice fortunately.

    rjj
    Member

    Last winter I had the same idea as OP – need to maintain fitness over winter and don’t want to waste nice winter days. December 29th nice sunny day, a bit nippy but no ice around when I headed out. 45 minutes later in my Dad’s car being taken to A&E after slipping on a patch of black ice – 30 minutes later diagnosed broken hip. Three days in hospital and an operation later I came home to a not very impressed wife and three concerned children (“ruined Xmas”)!! Seven weeks off work, six months (so far) of private physio. I was back on bike for summer but now winter is spent either on the MTB on bike paths or on turbo – just not worth the risk if any possibility of ice.

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    If I am out and it’s dubious I ride in the area that car tyres will have covered.

    Yeah that’s pretty much what I meant. Taking it easy and being alert to the danger is the key I think. The minute you’re off the line that the cars take and you don’t know what’s ahead you’re in dodgy territory. The hardest thing is descents as that’s where you’re likely to get water flowing down/across the road and where it’s harder to go slow. Flat rides are definitely preferable.

    hora
    Member

    The motorbike pics ^ Funnily enough I saw a young blonde haired girl riding a really nice 125cc with nice kit on Sat early am. I thought how long will she upright on that bike ๐Ÿ™

    kcr
    Member

    Schwalbe Marathon Winters do work on ice.
    There was a sudden freeze here last week, with no gritting. I saw people sliding all over the place in the supermarket car park, and I met another cyclist who had fallen off, but the studs kept me upright with no drama. I used to just ride cautiously, keep an eye out for ice, and hope for the best, but studded tires really are a game changer.

    Premier Icon dudeofdoom
    Subscriber

    I’m an all year mtb commuter…

    I used to use scwhalbes with studs in the winter for the ice but normally ride big apples – lots of grip and good for the potholes ๐Ÿ™

    Both cripple your speed but the bike tends to stay up more(ish).
    (Even studs can lose it if its snow ontop of packed ice(that was a funny one.)

    Used skinnies in the past but always found them usesless in anying other than ideal conditions.

    Winter Ridings pretty much the pits anyway – went into a low hanging branch last week that had snapped in the storm – didn’t improve looks and could have ended rather badly if i’d dropped the bike. Thing is you dont normally have your lights pointing upwadrds and i was over the front going up hill so ๐Ÿ™

    I came off last year on ice,result wasa broken hip at the age of 59. Went back to work still on crutches at 6 weeks as I am self employed.
    Going back in hospital in Feb to have 3 pins removed so back to square one with recovery time off from work.
    Three degrees or less and it,s gym, spinning and turbo.

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    Winter Ridings pretty much the pits anyway

    Some of the best days I’ve ever had on a bike have been in the winter. And even if it is pitch dark, cold and drizzly, it’s still miles better than cycling in a garage or gym with litres of sweat dripping off you. I’m genuinely quite shocked at the number of people saying they go on a turbo if it’s 3 degrees or less.

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