As a follow-up to the last post, I thought it'd be a good idea to share some tips on how to ride your bike in spite of the snow. In general, I'm probably not the best person in the world to take advice from--you want to ask the person who hasn't been hit by a car to elaborate on the rules of the road--but when there's as much snow, slush, ice, and crap on the roads as there is now (at least 5 cm in places, and counting) all bets are off.
Proper footwear: In this case, I mean boots. Yes, it makes peddling a bit awkward, but it beats stepping into an ankle-deep puddle of slush and getting that one trickle of icy water down your shoe and into your socks.
- Go really really really slowly. Advantage is that you'll have time to correct yourself in case you get into a rut you don't want. Disadvantage is that you might as well walk.
- Go really relaly really fast. With enough momentum, you can power yourself through the slush-ridges. Disadvantage is that you might die of terror, if not from a fall.
Bars, not banks: If the roads are in the least bit icy, don't turn by leaning into the turns. Turn your handlebars and try to remain upright inasmuch as you can. I've slipped and fallen on far less ice than there is now, and while it wasn't painful, I can say that, had I been on a busier road, or one with cars, I could have easily ended badly.
Stick a leg out: Right now, the biggest obstacle to making turns is the slush-piles at the corners, more resembling a Jackson Pollack painting than anything cohesive. In these cases, if you don't want to get off your bike, putting a foot down so that you don't go slip-sliding away as you make the turn could be prudent. Get off the seat, if you need to.
Leg up: Don't be bashful about getting off your bike and walking it. Trust your own instincts as to how well you can handle the road conditions. Just because some Dutch dude is texting with one hand, holding three vlaaien stacked on top of each other with the other, and whistling as he cruises down a slush-and-ice-filled street doesn't mean that it's a good idea to ride.
Hopefully your winter cycling will be less precarious than mine!