Riding a bike in the snow can be challenging. Especially in a city when it comes unexpectedly.
While a snowfall is not altogether rare in the Netherlands, a bonafide blizzard is. This recent pounding of flurries by snow storm Darcy is the first official snow storm in ten years, resulting in the government declaring a code red severe weather warning. In Canada, we just call it winter.
Snow in a city is a different beast
I’ve dealt with winter riding in Toronto, with enough wipeouts to learn what can happen. Biking in snow in the city is a whole different beast. Riding in freshly fallen snow on a well-equipped bike might be fine along a country side. But there are different things to deal with in a city.
The urban landscape can change quickly. Ploughs, salt trucks, snow banks and traffic inching forward can make a mess of things. As a result, the streets can look completely different on the same day. The situation could get so bad the army may need to come in to clear the streets.
Here are some tips to help you conquer snow squalls and crusty streets.
Take your time and go easy
Ride for open pavement
It’s all in the tires
Manage your balance
Sit up straight, relax your body and stick your butt out. Don’t micro-manage with your steering but focus on riding with your hips. This will allow you to quickly compensate if you begin to lose your balance.
Lowering the saddle a touch will give you a lower centre of gravity. If you can put your feet flat on the ground, it will greatly help if you need to stagger a bit and prevent you from falling over.
By combining two tips, you may be surprised how much of a difference it will make in your ride through snow.
Wash your bike
I was hesitant to put this one in as I just don’t see this very often.
But what we have here is likely another whacky Dutch invention. All you need to do is flip the front fender around and you have pedal version of a Bike Sled.
Feel free to give this a go and report back to me.
Happy riding and stay safe.
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