BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 17736
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby Vorpal » 19 Jan 2020, 12:47am

If you're trying to ride on sheet ice, studded tyres are the only way. However, if there is a risk of ice on part of route, some frosty patches that may not have cleared yet, etc., there are other alternatives.
1) Conti GP 4 Seasons, which grip well in winter conditions where other road tyres slip, like frost, leaves, etc. They are made with a compound that performs well in cold temperatures. However, they really don't give much more than an extra moments chance on ice.
2) Top Contact II, non-studded winter tyres increase the chances of staying upright when hitting an unexpected patch of ice, good in all around winter conditions, but still roll pretty well. Edited again: they do not come in 28 mm wide. The sizes run small. (37 wide is more like 32 or 33).
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

tim-b
Posts: 1158
Joined: 10 Oct 2009, 8:20am

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby tim-b » 19 Jan 2020, 7:25am

Hi
I'm just after tips if I'm stubborn enough to say I'm going out on my road bike (the only bike I own) for a long weekend ride over beautiful hills in the sun and near freezing apart from going on main roads as let's face it that's not the fun in propper road riding. Studded tyres is not an option on a road bike. I checked the Strava segment of the road I crashed and 10 other riders rode this faster than I did and appeared to be on road bikes and didn't crash.

Cold, shiny road and shade can be a bad combination. If the shiny road is just a polished worn-out surface then that's less of a problem than a shiny (was) wet surface and the safer option IME is to walk until you know what you're dealing with. You can strain muscles and ligaments if you unclip and put your feet down as the bike goes one way and you try to use the inside leg to balance.
In your video the right side of the road appears less effected, which might explain the strava info, but I'd stop and have a look just the same because even in full sun ice can persist
Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

pwa
Posts: 11251
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby pwa » 19 Jan 2020, 8:25am

If you are on roads you suspect of being icy, and you don't have studded tyres, you obviously have to take is easy. You need to do everything gently. Don't stamp on the pedals, pedal gently. Glide around bends rather than pedalling around them if you can, and avoid unnecessary braking. You are doing the cycling equivalent of walking on tip toes. On the video clip it looked to me as though there was a fair amount of power going through the rear wheel. You might have got away with it if you had been pedalling more gently.

Some road tyres are more grippy than others. On wet roads I found Grand Prix 4 Seasons more grippy than most. But I don't know whether they had any extra grip on icy roads. I'd be doubtful about that.

So basically, as soon as you suspect ice, ease off. Not just for that patch. For the next hour. Sometimes the first hint of poor conditions is when you are going up a hill and you press on a pedal and it feels like the rear wheel has lost grip and you go forward less per pedal revolution than expected. I live in a hilly area so when I get that I think about the next descent and what could happen if I lose it, even at very low speed.

If your ride is just for enjoyment or training, go out as late as possible, giving overnight ice more time to thaw in daytime temperatures. Ice that is there in the morning sometimes goes by mid afternoon.

pwa
Posts: 11251
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby pwa » 19 Jan 2020, 8:42am

The utility cyclist wrote:
pwa wrote:
reohn2 wrote:It's simple,don't ride in such conditions.If thre's black ice it's not only two wheelers who risk losing control,but four wheelers too,and if those things hit you,they really hurt! :(


That is the big worry. I've hit the deck a few times and on each occasion my immediate concern has not been the pain from my hip or elbow, but the prospect of a vehicle coming along behind me, losing control on the ice, and sliding along the same line I've just slid along. If I can avoid cycling in icy conditions I do.

How many times has this happened to a cyclist in say the last 50 years?
I've never heard of that instance occurring though obviously there was the Rhyll incident but that was due to massively excessive speed, a once in a lifetime situation.
I'd never think about not going out because it might be icy on my route.

About 15 years ago I was driving to work in a long wheelbase transit minibus (not usual, I had a reason) and I approached this downhill bend:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4676939 ... 6?hl=en-GB

It was winter and it turned out that there was ice. I knew that in advance because to the left of the road were two vehicles that had left the road, one on its roof. A third was sliding the same way and just managed to hold it. Possibly because of the advanced warning I stayed off the brakes and just steered my way though it, the minibus losing the back end at one point but I managed to catch it. The point is, the vehicles that lost control were basically going down the same channel. If you slide off and come to a halt at the side of the road, any following vehicle that loses control is likely to follow your path. When you are lying in the road that is a bit of a worry and I get out of that situation as quickly as I can.

reohn2
Posts: 37457
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby reohn2 » 19 Jan 2020, 9:06am

The nature of black ice is that it's unseen and slick.
On the bike you're more likely to be aware of any unusual handling PDQ but not always.
Last winter I fell on black ice at 2pm on a sunny but cold afternoon on a very short(less than 50m) shaded section of road between trails,that I've ridden hundreds of times before in similar temperatures.I was riding my MTB with 29er x 2.4inch tyres @ 15f and 25r psi,I felt nothing,one second I was upright the next sprawling on the deck with a ricked back,sore shoulder and hip.
Black ice is that unpredictable.
Some years ago we were riding with friends on the tandems after agreeing that due to the temperature being around 4 to 5C it was safe to ride the Cheshire lanes,we'd ridden about a 11/2 mines when on a shady straight lane I felt the steering go slack,I told the other captain not to brake as I thought we were on ice,we both headed for either verge and managed to stop without incident.We could barely stand on the smooth tarmac it was so slippery.We walked approx 400m to where the sun was shining on the road and rode back to where our cars were parked on the main road which had the sun on it and went home.
A lucky escape.
Twenty years ago black ice cost me three weeks lost earnings when I fell and broke a bone in my wrist which,as a self employed worker with a business to run wasn't any fun.
Black ice is a no,no for me.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

Marcus Aurelius
Posts: 780
Joined: 1 Feb 2018, 10:20am

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 19 Jan 2020, 9:20am

The best advice is not to ride at all, if there’s ice, or risk of ice. If you absolutely have to ride, use studded tyres. Broken bones will keep you off the bike for more than the few days of the year, that ice is a serious issue ( in the majority of the U.K. ). Making smart decisions about route choice, to minimise exposure to any potential ice hazards is a good idea as well. Stick to well treated main routes where possible, minimise the time riding in the dark, be aware that turning from major roads to minor roads normally poses a increased risk of encountering ice, so ride according to the conditions. Be safe, broken bones hurt, broken bikes cost money to sort out.

reohn2
Posts: 37457
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby reohn2 » 19 Jan 2020, 9:22am

pwa wrote:......... The point is, the vehicles that lost control were basically going down the same channel. If you slide off and come to a halt at the side of the road, any following vehicle that loses control is likely to follow your path. When you are lying in the road that is a bit of a worry and I get out of that situation as quickly as I can.

Quite!
And not a position I want to be in however remote the chances of car or even another cyclist coming off and hitting me.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

merseymouth
Posts: 1377
Joined: 23 Jan 2011, 11:16am

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby merseymouth » 19 Jan 2020, 9:24am

Hello there, I'm certain that Tatanab would agree the best solution in a quality tricycle! :D :D IGICB MM

User avatar
[XAP]Bob
Posts: 17137
Joined: 26 Sep 2008, 4:12pm

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby [XAP]Bob » 19 Jan 2020, 9:34am

Have a view of Saukki’s YouTube channel. He lives in Finland and has done a load of winter tyre tests.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

reohn2
Posts: 37457
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby reohn2 » 19 Jan 2020, 9:56am

[XAP]Bob wrote:Have a view of Saukki’s YouTube channel. He lives in Finland and has done a load of winter tyre tests.

Thing is that in countries like Finland and other Scandiavian countries,NL is similar,they have prolonged sub zero winter weather and so prepare for it,whereas in the UK cold snaps(such as the one today,which is probably the first this winter) can catch people out unawares,two wheelers are very vulnerable in such weather.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

atlas_shrugged
Posts: 288
Joined: 8 Nov 2016, 7:50pm

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby atlas_shrugged » 19 Jan 2020, 11:08am

Sorry about the crash.

The Windcheetah trike was developed specifically to allow cycle training to continue during the winter months.

User avatar
horizon
Posts: 9982
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Cornwall

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby horizon » 19 Jan 2020, 11:59am

The utility cyclist wrote:

Forget spiked or studded tyres, for the extremely few times you'll come across ice that you may not be able to predict you'll come across it's really not worth it for this country. Riding more cautiously and slowing down in inclement weather is far more effective.


In part you are right: studded (spiked) tyres are like the life jackets in aircraft - you aren't really meant to use them. But when you do need them, then you need them as the OP has graphically illustrated. Studded tyres may well hang on the garage wall winter after winter (as mine did) but this morning in sunny southern Cornwall every drop of outside water is solid ice.

Of course, you can buy a thermometer and avoid riding in potentially icy conditions but then that might mess up a large number of commutes during the winter months. The thing I object to personally is riding carefully and cautiously, guessing around which corner there might be ice. But my main point (above) is that studded tyres don't get the publicity and promotion they deserve. No-one should fall on ice from a bicycle.
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

User avatar
NATURAL ANKLING
Posts: 11204
Joined: 24 Oct 2012, 10:43pm
Location: English Riviera

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 19 Jan 2020, 12:01pm

Hi,
I can only echo what others have said here probably best not to ride in icy conditions and save the ride for another day, Weathermen know how to predict black ice conditions normally, so I always check the weather regularly before a ride, watch the thermometer too, always!
In the past I have gone out in all weathers I just ride accordingly.
45 years ago I fell off three times in 3 miles in icy conditions, you don't feel it so much when you're younger and don't bruise so easily either.
Few years ago I fell on black ice, this is a totally different story because you're not really expecting it, you can have black with no other visible ice at all.
Could not walk for over two weeks without crutches, doctor reckons that I squashed my pelvis, not helped probably by a heavy bike.
like others have said there is no warning there is no gap between being on the wheels and lying on your side.
it's can happen to anyone and it's very difficult to predict or even avoid even with the best intentions.
I recently fell off after dropping my front wheel into a pothole, unusually misty and dark conditions, I had actually Virtually stopped moving when I fell on my side, fortunately not badly hurt.
Falling on black ice is a once in a life time experience for me at 61, hopefully my last.
I have modified my stance on my self professed hard man label and just plan another day with less likelyhood of a fall, you have too :!:
I was going to work one day on my bike and was confronted with a vehicle on its roof jammed in the lane.
I stopped quite easily because it was icy, because I was prepared, aided by steering into some vegetation in the gutter.
unfortunately a white man van vehicle was following me too closely, they could not stop but employed the same method I did, driving straight into the hedge, otherwise they might have collided with me?
There you go.
NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
You'll Still Find Me At The Top Of A Hill
Please forgive the poor Grammar I blame it on my mobile and phat thinkers.

User avatar
Foghat
Posts: 86
Joined: 19 Mar 2013, 10:44pm

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby Foghat » 19 Jan 2020, 1:15pm

Vorpal wrote:If you're trying to ride on sheet ice, studded tyres are the only way. However, if there is a risk of ice on part of route, some frosty patches that may not have cleared yet, etc., there are other alternatives.
1) Conti GP 4 Seasons, which grip well in winter conditions where other road tyres slip, like frost, leaves, etc. They are made with a compound that performs well in cold temperatures. However, they really don't give much more than an extra moments chance on ice.
2) Top Contact II, non-studded winter tyres increase the chances of staying upright when hitting an unexpected patch of ice, good in all around winter conditions, but still roll pretty well. Edited: they come in 28 mm wide, which fits some road bikes. The bigger sizes run small. (37 wide is more like 32 or 33). I'm not sure about the 28s.


Top Contact II are no better on ice than tyres like the GP4Season etc, although they make a good tyre for muddy roads and light off-road on mixed-surface rides. My preferred commuting tyre (32mm) in winter when the temperature stays above 3C, due to the amount of crap and water on my routes to work. In 700C these are available in 28mm/32mm/37mm/42mm/47mm widths - I have got all but the 47mm, and can confirm those sizes are all close to their nominal widths, but can't comment on the 47mm; this accuracy of width is an improvement over the previous Top Contact I, where the '32mm' actually just scraped to 27mm wide if you measured to the outside of the side knobs.

The Top Contact II Winter Premium, however, is a different (still non-studded) tyre with a special winter compound and tread, and is the one to specify for cycling on roads where one expects frost and/or patchy ice. They are ok on sheet ice too (unlike non-winter-specific tyres), if one exercises plenty of caution and negotiates turns slowly and carefully. On frosty and patchy-ice roads, they instil confidence and would have coped fine with the conditions that caused the fall in the OP. These tyres in 700C only come in '37mm' and 42mm widths. The '37mm' is actually, as you observe, a mis-labelled or mis-measured 32mm tyre, whereas the 42mm version is close to its nominal width.

On frosty/icy roads, I have no qualms whatsoever in using the non-studded Top Contact II Winter Premium tyres. If I anticipate lots of sheet ice, for instance after a sudden freeze following extensive rain, or there is compacted/hard-frozen snow, I simply swap in a wheelset with studded tyres. Multiple wheelsets with different tyres for different conditions, all ready to roll, is my solution to cycling through Britain's ever-changing winter road conditions - I never let icy UK roads stop me riding, and snow will only stop me if it is deep.

Ellieb
Posts: 785
Joined: 26 Jul 2008, 7:06pm

Re: BLACK ICE & How to stay safe road riding in winter.

Postby Ellieb » 19 Jan 2020, 1:52pm

Foghat wrote:
Vorpal wrote:If you're trying to ride on sheet ice, studded tyres are the only way. However, if there is a risk of ice on part of route, some frosty patches that may not have cleared yet, etc., there are other alternatives.
1) Conti GP 4 Seasons, which grip well in winter conditions where other road tyres slip, like frost, leaves, etc. They are made with a compound that performs well in cold temperatures. However, they really don't give much more than an extra moments chance on ice.
2) Top Contact II, non-studded winter tyres increase the chances of staying upright when hitting an unexpected patch of ice, good in all around winter conditions, but still roll pretty well. Edited: they come in 28 mm wide, which fits some road bikes. The bigger sizes run small. (37 wide is more like 32 or 33). I'm not sure about the 28s.


Top Contact II are no better on ice than tyres like the GP4Season etc, although they make a good tyre for muddy roads and light off-road on mixed-surface rides. My preferred commuting tyre (32mm) in winter when the temperature stays above 3C, due to the amount of crap and water on my routes to work. In 700C these are available in 28mm/32mm/37mm/42mm/47mm widths - I have got all but the 47mm, and can confirm those sizes are all close to their nominal widths, but can't comment on the 47mm; this accuracy of width is an improvement over the previous Top Contact I, where the '32mm' actually just scraped to 27mm wide if you measured to the outside of the side knobs.

The Top Contact II Winter Premium, however, is a different (still non-studded) tyre with a special winter compound and tread, and is the one to specify for cycling on roads where one expects frost and/or patchy ice. They are ok on sheet ice too (unlike non-winter-specific tyres), if one exercises plenty of caution and negotiates turns slowly and carefully. On frosty and patchy-ice roads, they instil confidence and would have coped fine with the conditions that caused the fall in the OP. These tyres in 700C only come in '37mm' and 42mm widths. The '37mm' is actually, as you observe, a mis-labelled or mis-measured 32mm tyre, whereas the 42mm version is close to its nominal width.

On frosty/icy roads, I have no qualms whatsoever in using the non-studded Top Contact II Winter Premium tyres. If I anticipate lots of sheet ice, for instance after a sudden freeze following extensive rain, or there is compacted/hard-frozen snow, I simply swap in a wheelset with studded tyres. Multiple wheelsets with different tyres for different conditions, all ready to roll, is my solution to cycling through Britain's ever-changing winter road conditions - I never let icy UK roads stop me riding, and snow will only stop me if it is deep.

Are you sure of that. As far as I am aware, the difference between the two is that the Premium is designed for e-bikes & is therefore heavier/more durable.