Plan your route and weather
Main roads are usually not the first choice for the average cyclist – but these roads are more likely to be gritted, and traffic tends to heat the tarmac and melt ice. Though we wouldn’t generally recommend busier roads, if there is risk of cycling on icy roads, adjusting your route to cover these, as opposed to country lanes, isn’t a bad idea.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for any area where there could be run-off water that has frozen – the edges of puddles particularly - dodge these wherever you can to stay safe. Avoiding the edges of roads, and riding more centrally, is also a good idea as the gutters are not heated by passing traffic as the centre of the lane is.
You should take extra caution on roads with overhanging trees, that create shade, as well as open roads with few hedgerows - long exposed stretches are subject to greater windchill.
Prepare your bike
Regardless of the tyre width you have, letting out a little pressure will give you a wider surface area – so reduce your tyre pressure by around 10-20psi. Tyres at a high pressure will have an ‘ice skate’ effect, which isn’t really what you’re after.
Some people also like to lower their saddle by about 5mm when cycling on icy roads - this lowers your centre of gravity and can be more stable, giving you more control (and having the added benefit of placing your feet closer to the ground.)
Watch your riding style
If you are unlucky enough to come across an icy surface, the trick is not to slam on the brakes, as this will cause a skid, but to stay calm and steady.
Climbing out the saddle is best avoided, as this causes the bike to rock, gaining traction from a smaller surface of the tyre.
Keep it social
Of course, if we’re talking about ice, it is likely there is a chill in the air, too. If you’re too cold, your concentration is likely to lapse, which can take your attention away from the road.