Sunday, 15 January 2012

Cold Weather Cycling Risks

Managed to get out on the road bike for a few miles yesterday. First time in six weeks or so and it felt really good apart from a terrifying five seconds or so.

I had to meet the family for a walk so took a somewhat circuitous route to the arranged rendezvous point. It was crisp and clear but still cold on the toes despite two pairs of socks. The air temp' of one degree Celsius and there were lots of iced up puddles at the side of the road. A fair bit of climbing and descending so I was able to keep myself warm enough though and was quite happy with an average moving speed of 13.3 mph.

The scary bit had nothing to do with any traffic issue - which had all been quite predictable and some even courteous - but my own love of a fast descent. Coming down a lonely and straight hill-top road above Darwen and moving at near 30 mph, the conditions were generally clear but the road was reflecting glare from the low Sun in sections, I suddenly hit a sheet of slushy ice about 2-3 cm thick which was nigh on invisible until you were actually on top of it. How I managed to stay on the bike I don't know but luckily I did  - even though it was more by luck than skill. I'm glad no one else was around because I screaming like a little girl! 

If I'd come off I have no doubt I would have been injured, with fractures and head injuries a distinct possibility. I also may not have been found straight away as there was not much traffic up there at all. The cycling gear I was wearing was fine for when I was moving but wasn't going to give me much thermal protection if I was left laying on the road in near freezing temperatures, so hypothermia may well have been an added complication. 

Still, lesson learnt and off for some more road miles today!

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