It had to happen.
Commuting by bicycle for the last few days in the current icy weather I had expected a tumble and was taking it very carefully. To say it was unexpected though would be an understatement.
I had made it without incident across the snow although worse was the frozen slush/grit combination which had the consistency of sand. Hitting a large lump of that with the front wheel at any speed was certainly not to be advised. I loved arriving at work to stares of wonder at my bravery (they likely thought me mad).
The weather here was actually slightly warmer than of late and most of the busier side roads were just about free of snow or slush. It was around 06.45hrs and I was less than a mile into the ride. After just crossing a mini roundabout I noticed a parked van on my side of the road was about to pull out towards me. I slowed and as I did so the driver noticed me, stopped and gave me open hand apology. I applied the power and steered (slightly) into the clear opposing lane to get round him. The it hit me - the road that is. It was quick but I had some awareness of what was happening. I had cycled on to some black ice and went down on my left side. The shock was no worse than having a tumble when skiing and I think that helped as I just rolled into it. I slid for 2-3 metres (not hard on ice) and came to rest next to the offside front wheel of the van. I don't think the driver had noticed what happened initially as I was out of his eyeline as I went down. He started to pull out towards me but quickly stopped as I stood into view. Everything seemed to be functioning OK so I quickly got back on the bike and cycled off as carefully as possible, the rest of the journey uneventful. I didn't even give the driver a chance to see if I was all right.
At work I took stock of the damage. Me: OK, the clothing: Intact, the bike: A couple of scratches to the left bar end, the panniers: Unblemished. The only thing I could find was my banana in the affected pannier was slightly worse for wear. A lucky escape, particularly as I met another cyclist later that day that came off on ice, dislocating a shoulder and rupturing several tendons - not nice!