On a clear winter’s day you can enjoy cycling, whether you’re commuting to work or just getting some fresh air.
Of course, ice and snow can be dangerous conditions for any ride, with cyclists in particular at risk.
The UK has seen some particularly cold temperatures lately, with warnings that the current cold spell could continue.
That’s why the Met Office and charity Cycling UK have teamed up to give cyclists tips on how to travel safely by bike.
The charity demands: “All road users, both cyclists and motorists, must ensure that they get into a winter atmosphere.
“People need to realize that quitting may take longer than usual.”
Here’s what they recommend.
Tips for cycling in icy weather
Cycling UK urges all cyclists to first assess whether it is really safe to cycle in extreme weather conditions and consider alternatives if necessary.
They say: “Especially along the road, where so much water has accumulated because the sewage system can no longer cope, cyclists can be faced with a minefield of ice patches.”
“This can mean the cyclist has to make sudden and unplanned changes in direction while navigating dangerous conditions, such as ice, drains, potholes and other road debris.”
However, once you’ve decided that your journey is safe, there are a few things you can do to make sure you arrive at your destination without incident.
To slow down
The first (and perhaps most obvious) point is that icy conditions and skinny bike tires don’t mix well. It is therefore essential to drive more slowly during frost and to allow more time for the journey.
Let some air out of the tires
When cycling, grip can be improved by increasing the contact between the tires and the road. Therefore, it can be helpful to let a small amount of air out of your tires.
Stay out of the gutter
While Cycle UK states that “this advice applies whatever the conditions”, it is important to steer clear of the gutter after rain showers as post-freezing conditions can be particularly dangerous.
If you hit an icy or uneven surface, remember that sudden steering corrections or hard braking can turn out to be a big mistake.
If you come across a particularly dangerous stretch of road, stay calm and consider pushing your bike until it passes.
Winter conditions mean fewer hours of daylight, meaning cyclists using the road are less visible to those in vehicles. The correct front and rear lights on your bicycle are therefore crucial, but also required by law.
During the day, beware of the low sun, which dazzles when it reflects off puddles.
It is important to stay warm when cycling in winter and layers are best for retaining heat.
Cyclist UK says it’s important: ‘Take extra care of your extremities such as hands, feet and head, as they are all more affected by the cold. Also don’t forget to bring a thermo top in case you have to stop for a long time.”
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.