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Tuesday 30 November 2010

Snow Cycle

After work, I rode the Yuba Mundo to Morrisons in Chorlton for some supplies. The only reason I go there is because I get to use the Fallowfield Loop. As you may have noticed, it is snowy outside; main roads are clear, side roads have a hard layer of icy crushed snow on them thanks to the cars and the Fallowfield Loop had largely intact snow. In the dark, riding along the snowy path was a very serene experience.



The camera on my phone wasn’t able to capture the quiet beauty of the environment, so I urge you to go and see it for yourself whilst you the snow is still there.


I thought I’d pull over and just enjoy the quiet for a few minutes, here is the Yuba all loaded up with shopping. The reflective tape on the side-rails/chainstays is new. It is mainly there to cover up the scuffed paintwork, but it also makes the bike stand out a bit more too, which is a bonus.

As is customary for cycling bloggers to do at this time of year, I hereby present my top tips for cycling in the snow and ice:

Lower your saddle a bit to make it easier to compensate for any slips. A bit of trial and error is needed to find the optimum height which allows you to stop a fall but isn’t so low it makes cycling tiring. This will also generally improve your stability on ice.

Lower your tyre pressure. This may also require a bit of trial and error; you will benefit from extra contact between the tyre and the ground but if you go too far cycling will become very laborious. Personally I let my tyres down to the pressure they are at when I usually think to myself, “These tyres could do with pumping up a bit.”

Increase your turning radius. If you are familiar enough with your bike, you will already have a pretty good idea of the smallest circle you could cycle with it, the sharpest turn you could make at a given speed. When on an icy surface, double this radius (sharper turns can still be made but require you to really slow down). Your bike will ride fine over ice in a straight line, it is when you try to change direction that the ice becomes a problem. If you change direction more gently, the ice will pose less of an issue.

Longer wheelbase. This is similar to the turning radius advice; if you are fortunate enough to own more than one bike, choose the one where the hubs of the wheels are furthest apart. This bike will  likely have less twitchy steering and handle better in the snow and ice. Wider tyres and hub brakes (drum/roller/disc) will help too.


  1. Great post! I can imagine how beautiful and quiet the Loop must be at night and with snow :) thanks for sharing those photos!

    And thanks for the tips! I found out about the wider turning radius today. Slipped only slightly when I took a left turn too sharply, bike slipped from underneath me, but I was going nice and slowly so I just landed on my feet. I'll try lowering the saddle a tad. It's my first winter, so it's all a learning curve for me, but so far I am enjoying it!

  2. With respect to the tyre pressure, it is probably best to lower the tyre pressure at the front rather than at the back; a loss of traction at the back is much less of an issue than a loss at the front.


    I'm sure you'll be fine, beating that first winter is very empowering.


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