How to ride on icy roads

 

  • Pick your road carefully – stick to those that have been treated
  • Be wary of exposed sections of road – the wind chill can create extra ice
  • Go around icy patches if you have time and it’s safe to do so
  • if you can’t avoid the ice, don’t make any sudden moves – try to ride it out

Lingering frost or black ice can catch anyone unawares, especially given that crisp winter days and blue skies are so inviting for a bracing ride. Stunning cloudless days go hand in hand with sub-zero nights. And when the sun does come up it stays low in the sky and relatively weak, with long shadows.

One of the biggest causes of black ice is when a big freeze follows a partial thaw, so that rain water or melt water is frozen before it can drain off the road completely, leaving a thin layer of transparent ice.

If you’re riding in these conditions, pick your road carefully and stick to those that have been treated. Of course, the downside to this is that many councils put a water dispersal agent down with the salt, and after a few days this too can be slippy.

Shadier sections of road will be the last to thaw out

Be particularly wary of the more exposed sections of road, such as where there are no hedges – the wind chill will have further cooled the tarmac there – and always keep your eyes on the road ahead so you’re prepared for icy hazards, going round them if you have time and it’s safe to do so.

If you’re about to hit ice then don’t do anything sudden – don’t turn the bar too fast or far or lean the bike, and don’t brake hard or suddenly. Of course, if you hit black ice on a downhill corner, all you can do is hope for a soft landing…

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