Riding in snowy city streets

Twiglaser

Member
Hello,

Some background:
Not long ago, I had a little bit of a fall while commuting to work. I was going slightly down hill, no throttle just letting gravity pull me down. I was not going very fast at all, maybe 8km/hr? But My 4inch fat tire bike was not able to keep me up. It was a little snowy and maybe a little icy/slippery. My knee was hurting for a little bit after the fall, but no damage to me or the bike was sustained. There was no traffic either, so I was pretty lucky. The point I'm trying to make here is that since then, I've been afraid of any non-dry roads ever since.

I don't want the snow to prevent me from going to the grocery store, or getting a haircut. I always dress well for the weather, and I always wipe down the bike pretty thoroughly after a ride to prevent rusting. But the only problem I haven't been able to solve is safe riding over snow with traffic.

One "technique" I was able to pick up was that since I have a throttle, I can put my feet out past the pedals to form something similar to training wheels. Then I can press down on the throttle slightly for a 10km/hr ride. If my bike tips over over to any side, my feet will be ready to keep me up. However, this puts a lot of strain on my palms. I'm also going very slowly, so I'm somewhat of a nuisance for other drivers who might feel delayed by my presence. Also, this method gets my feet and legs too cold & wet. Above all, it still doesn't feel very safe.

I was wondering if you guys knew of any solutions (perhaps actual training wheels?) that could get me to ride faster while also feeling 100% safe in the snow. Some kind of stabilizer attachment or something? I don't believe simply switching to snow tires will help as much.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
100% safe? I don't even feel that on a sunny, Sunday afternoon! But absolutely no way to feel 100% on snow. You can never judge what's under it for one thing. Tire studs would be the best thing you can add.
 

Twiglaser

Member
100% safe? I don't even feel that on a sunny, Sunday afternoon! But absolutely no way to feel 100% on snow. You can never judge what's under it for one thing. Tire studs would be the best thing you can add.
I guess thats not what I meant. It just seems too easy for the bike to instantly fall on one side. There are some adult training wheels on Amazon that look like would give me the balance I want, but they're pretty expensive.
 

Tars Tarkas

Active Member
I don't think training wheels will help on ice. They won't keep you from going sideways and they probably won't even keep you upright if you slam into a pole or a car or whatever. I like the idea of studded tires.

TT
 

Twiglaser

Member
Studded tires are definitely good for ice, but it doesn't help with stability. When I ride through snow/thick slush, the wheels spin out a little. When that happens, the front wheel sharply turns left/right (forming a T with your bike) almost instantly. This is where I would instantly lose my balance and tip over. In fact, the bike feels pretty unstable even if the wheel turns slightly. Training wheels would keep me from tipping over. If I'm running into poles or cars, then...I'm an idiot? I've never gotten close to doing something like that.
 

Handlebars

Active Member
I tried to bike on a snowy day with some ice patches underneath but after about 10 meters I decided against. I could feel the speed at which the bike wanted to slip out. With no snow where you can see the few ice patches, I take my chances.
 

Tars Tarkas

Active Member
Studded tires are definitely good for ice, but it doesn't help with stability. When I ride through snow/thick slush, the wheels spin out a little. When that happens, the front wheel sharply turns left/right (forming a T with your bike) almost instantly. This is where I would instantly lose my balance and tip over. In fact, the bike feels pretty unstable even if the wheel turns slightly. Training wheels would keep me from tipping over. If I'm running into poles or cars, then...I'm an idiot? I've never gotten close to doing something like that.
Well, some people think only idiots get out in the snow. Sounds like you want training wheels.

TT
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Some think eBikes drawn a lot of ire for cheating. Try riding with training wheels and see what kind of response you get! LOL
 

Bobsiii

Active Member
No idea how well it works but I saw a suggestion of using zip ties around the wheels, about every other spoke, as studs. Cut them off leaving just a stub to act as a spike.
 

Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
There is no magic bullet out there but studded tires, slower speeds, careful body leaning on top of suspected ice and lowered tire pressures below 10 psi.

Maybe consider having winter studded snow tires, front and rear, to be used in winter time ops only.

When the snow flys, I'm done until it thaws away. Along with our local county being real liberal with the road salt (which really destroys aluminum), there is nothing more scary then slipping out from under a patch of ice you didn't think was there.

Having our body weight so high up in the saddle, raising that center of gravity, adds to the terror....