If you know there’s going to be ice on the roads, take the bus and leave the bike at home.
That’s advice from Oak Bay Bicycles’ Geoff Pendrel, who adds it’s especially true if your bike has skinny road tires. Wider mountain bike tires will perform better in the snow, but short of studding a set of tires – which he said not a lot of Victoria’s cyclists, himself included, do – there’s not much that will make cycling over icy streets any safer.
If it’s just a little snow, however, Pendrel says it should be fine to ride with precautions.
“Just the sort of advice we get for driving our cars: keeping speed lower, giving yourself more distance to stop, and being more cautious in the corners. Warm clothing obviously makes a big difference,” Pendrel said. “It can actually be really enjoyable to go out and ride in the snow as long as you’re dressed properly. And consider visibly as well, if it’s actually snowing, visibility is not as good so you’re going to want to wear bright clothing. I’d recommend having lights on, even in the daytime, when riding in the bad weather.”
Pendrel says that he actually hears of more injuries happening in the summer rather than the winter.
He said that cyclists who ride year-round tend to be more dedicated, and therefore more experienced. However, Pendrel did say he’s starting to see a trend of more people riding all year once they learn it can be comfortable.
“You can’t do it anywhere else in Canada,” Pendrel said. “So we almost have an obligation to do it just to tell our friends elsewhere that we can.”