is it me or are the roads super slippy at the mo?

by lookmanohands   December 3, 2013  

It seems like the lack of rain (down south anyway) has combined with the grit/salt that the local councils have put down and the damp dewy air to produce a suface worse than ice. Never thought id be wishing for rain. Hopefully when it does come itll wash the roads clean a bit.

74 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Bang. Went down hard this morning. Nothing really damaged but my pride thankfully but it was out of nowhere on a corner I normally take at 20+mph in the summer but was being winter cautious at between 12-15mph. Front wheel just disappeared from under me. Took the fall on my shoulder and scratched the buckle of my Zxelliums. Had a look at the road and can't work out why I went down. Bike is wearing Conti 4000s, think I'll just stay on the trainer until march. Sad

posted by ajmarshal1 [226 posts]
7th December 2013 - 15:09

like this
Like (7)

Went down this morning, 35 on a descent road turned right, tightened up and then I was over and sliding down the road.
Second ride on the winter bike and bent the hanger, and possibly damaged mech,
Ripped knee and arm warmer and a fair bit of skin on the road!

glynr36's picture

posted by glynr36 [233 posts]
7th December 2013 - 15:14

like this
Like (9)

Almost came a cropper twice this afternoon. Back wheel locked up on the approach to a junction, managed to stay upright more through luck than judgement. Then, turning into another road at a T- junction, had a right @*$€ nipper, when the front wheel started to go. Adds a bit of interest to the ride I guess. Smile

I think it's a combination of diesel, mud, rotting leaves and damp.

Roll on summer!

TDL

tourdelound's picture

posted by tourdelound [80 posts]
7th December 2013 - 21:19

like this
Like (7)

don't know if it is my imagination, but the roads seem far worse than in previous years? whether it is the lack of rain for the last few weeks, a change in the mix they are spreading on the roads i don't know. It isn't nice!!!!!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1008 posts]
7th December 2013 - 22:12

like this
Like (6)

Glad it's not just me; I was getting paranoid! Two falls in two weeks, slow corners. One a roundabout (where a friend also went down) and one a 90 degree corner. Both pretty much dry, both surfaces coated in a fair amount of black stuff. Front wheel just went from under me both times.

I must admit that I've never experienced roads like this before, problem is I'm now super nervous about all cornering and descending.

Not good.

posted by pnoodles [14 posts]
8th December 2013 - 22:44

like this
Like (7)

I had a two wheel slide on Friday, turning an uphill corner that I ride every day. Through my immense bike handling skills (i.e. blind luck) I stayed upright. I stopped to check for punctures as it felt so unlikely to slide at that speed.

posted by mbrads72 [108 posts]
8th December 2013 - 23:14

like this
Like (8)

So, the question is: Is it worse than previous years and if so why?

tom_w's picture

posted by tom_w [72 posts]
9th December 2013 - 13:51

like this
Like (7)

Had to stop going up hill today to clean the accumulated mud off the inside of my mudguards. ..on the road Surprise

posted by lookmanohands [94 posts]
9th December 2013 - 20:06

like this
Like (5)

I'm running Gatorskins, they are 23's and they are impeccable, I have dropped the pressure down to 85 but the only slip I get is uphill (out the saddle) and hard on the brakes - I won't buy a different tyre, yes the roads are more slippery than usual but I can only tell because those I ride with keep slipping and that's on a multitude of tyres?

posted by Cridge [5 posts]
9th December 2013 - 22:37

like this
Like (6)

Cridge wrote:
I'm running Gatorskins, they are 23's and they are impeccable, I have dropped the pressure down to 85 but the only slip I get is uphill (out the saddle) and hard on the brakes - I won't buy a different tyre, yes the roads are more slippery than usual but I can only tell because those I ride with keep slipping and that's on a multitude of tyres?

can anyone recommend a tyre that does not skid going up steep-ish hills when out of the saddle? or is it completely unavoidable?

I'm really struggling with this at the moment, but to be honest the same problem affects me during summer as well when the gradients get above 15% or so

I posted a topic on here before about this and consensus was my technique was poor - which I've tried to work on this by not pulling on the bars, keeping weight back etc, but still get the slipping..

posted by 700c [541 posts]
10th December 2013 - 12:27

like this
Like (7)

Good tyres: anything wider than 25mm I guess. Personally I don't run anything above 25mm due to lack of clearance.
It's possible to avoid wheelspin by evening out the power through the pedal stroke. Overgearing slightly can help, but I'm guessing at 15% grades and higher you're close to your lowest gear and potentially not able to rev any slower.
Scavenging the tarmac for rougher patches can help as the friction here will be greater. Reducing the gradient by zig-zagging is potentially useful but not very traffic-friendly!

posted by ficklewhippet [36 posts]
10th December 2013 - 14:09

like this
Like (8)

Had a scary ride yesterday - three rear wheel slips (23mm GP4000s) but managed to hold them all. Having just come off my first Midlands Cyclocross season, it has had two effects: a) I am definitely better at handling slippy surfaces. b) I am definitely better at falling off .... had quite a bit of practice, especially at Sundowne where slicks where not the right choice!!

Agree with most - roads do seem slippier this winter (and not because of ice).

posted by veseunr [277 posts]
10th December 2013 - 14:15

like this
Like (7)

On an mtb you'd often sit on the saddle nose on really steep stuff so that a) you don't lift the front b) don't spin out the back 'cos you're too far forward, or putting too much torque down at one point in the pedal stroke.

I guess you've run out of gears ? - maybe a bit more weight further back, and controlling your pedal stroke a bit more - maybe with not all your weight through the downwards pedal ?

But what do I know, I mostly ride a recumbent Wink - I've been getting wheelspin on steep stuff very occasionally, I think some little-used back-roads roads are just a bit slippy..

posted by JonD [176 posts]
10th December 2013 - 15:05

like this
Like (5)

went down on an icy/greasy corner on saturday at a relatively fair speed (32km/h-ish), luckily the bike and gear emerged relatively unscathed (new bar tape needed) but my leg, ribs and shoulder are paying the price now.

posted by turboprannet [41 posts]
10th December 2013 - 15:44

like this
Like (6)

700c wrote:
Cridge wrote:
I'm running Gatorskins, they are 23's and they are impeccable, I have dropped the pressure down to 85 but the only slip I get is uphill (out the saddle) and hard on the brakes - I won't buy a different tyre, yes the roads are more slippery than usual but I can only tell because those I ride with keep slipping and that's on a multitude of tyres?

can anyone recommend a tyre that does not skid going up steep-ish hills when out of the saddle? or is it completely unavoidable?

I'm really struggling with this at the moment, but to be honest the same problem affects me during summer as well when the gradients get above 15% or so

I posted a topic on here before about this and consensus was my technique was poor - which I've tried to work on this by not pulling on the bars, keeping weight back etc, but still get the slipping..

What gear are you in? Sounds like your gear is quite high, cadence low, and consequently you're putting a lot of pressure at an early part of the pedal stroke.

I'd say you have 2 options, one cheap and one not so - even out the pedal stroke / put your arse back further, or get a pizza dish

Asolare

posted by Goldfever4 [165 posts]
11th December 2013 - 0:29

like this
Like (6)

Goldfever4 wrote:
700c wrote:
Cridge wrote:
I'm running Gatorskins, they are 23's and they are impeccable, I have dropped the pressure down to 85 but the only slip I get is uphill (out the saddle) and hard on the brakes - I won't buy a different tyre, yes the roads are more slippery than usual but I can only tell because those I ride with keep slipping and that's on a multitude of tyres?

can anyone recommend a tyre that does not skid going up steep-ish hills when out of the saddle? or is it completely unavoidable?

I'm really struggling with this at the moment, but to be honest the same problem affects me during summer as well when the gradients get above 15% or so

I posted a topic on here before about this and consensus was my technique was poor - which I've tried to work on this by not pulling on the bars, keeping weight back etc, but still get the slipping..

What gear are you in? Sounds like your gear is quite high, cadence low, and consequently you're putting a lot of pressure at an early part of the pedal stroke.

I'd say you have 2 options, one cheap and one not so - even out the pedal stroke / put your arse back further, or get a pizza dish

Thanks all, for your responses. Gearing is 34X25 at the lowest. Inevitably when the road gets really steep my cadence drops (that could be addressed in part by fitness, I accept) - and hence I feel the need to stand up just to keep momentum.

I think the fact that I don't get this on a mountain bike would suggest either or both gearing and traction are the problem.

I'm doing the 'coast to coast in a day' in June and I know that Hardknott and Wrynose will be a huge challenge in this respect. I am not sure if it is even possible to get up those on a 34X25, let alone without the wheel slipping issue (though if that starts on a 30% incline I know it would finish me off). I am reluctant to change gearing to something like 34 X 28, which would compromise my riding in every other respect, so may have to embrace the 'walk of shame' for a few hundred yards!

posted by 700c [541 posts]
11th December 2013 - 14:01

like this
Like (9)

700c wrote:

I'm doing the 'coast to coast in a day' in June and I know that Hardknott and Wrynose will be a huge challenge in this respect. I am not sure if it is even possible to get up those on a 34X25, let alone without the wheel slipping issue (though if that starts on a 30% incline I know it would finish me off). I am reluctant to change gearing to something like 34 X 28, which would compromise my riding in every other respect, so may have to embrace the 'walk of shame' for a few hundred yards!

I did the C2C in a day this year and had to walk Hardknott and Wrynose, on 34x25. First time I've ever had to get off and walk on the road. Lots of people had 28s, but I'm sure plenty of the people who got up it without walking didn't. I had a bit of wheelspin but it wasn't that that literally stopped me in my tracks- just too steep for me!
I've managed 25% on the same gearing before but this was that bit more!

posted by Chuck [351 posts]
11th December 2013 - 14:23

like this
Like (0)

Very slippy at the moment; went down on a bend commuting home yesterday (Bath) that I've been round hundreds of times. Probably caught a bit of smooth tarmac at the wrong angle. I was a bit miffed as I've just switched back to my Hybrid (road bike was just getting too dicey) and put some new tyres (Schwalbe Marathon + 32; old ones were 35) on to be on the safe side. Perhaps they need a few miles to scuff them up a bit. Phenominal hip bruise; bike was fine because I cushioned its fall! I can also recommend Altura Night Vision Jackets and Vaude Pannier/Rucksack bags; no rips at all. Another cyclist and car witnessed it all. Many thanks to the cyclist for helping me up and checking I was OK. The motorist just drove off; hope he/she has a miserable Xmas!

Shades

posted by Shades [161 posts]
12th December 2013 - 10:38

like this
Like (7)

It's been very dicey on my commute lately..I ride mainly unlit country lanes in the dark...One section is entirely covered in leaves & I've been lucky to stay on a few times. Also can be bad with flooding after wet spells.. Thinking of going back to 32's & something with a bit more tread pattern, until Spring..

posted by smuggers [23 posts]
12th December 2013 - 10:49

like this
Like (7)

Roads are mega slippery at the moment. I nearly came off riding my BMX to the skatepark, that's 2.25 tyres at about 65psi. Whilst I don't doubt that wider tyres help, and I do have them on my roadie, it's just plain slipery out there. I've really noticed the difference in the car too.

posted by Matt eaton [260 posts]
12th December 2013 - 12:58

like this
Like (6)

I noticed the change a few years back, but since then the roads around here have been consistently slippery as heel when salted.

I think the challenge is additives mixed with the salt to ensure it sticks to the road better... the only challenge is that it is slippery as hell for two wheeled vehicles and horses.

Once you have adjusted (once its being used in your area), you just get used to creeping around corners and being gentle on the pedals.

Tyre width and tyre pressure isn't really going to make a difference as its a film on the road surface itself... so unless you can get through this layer, any tyre is going to be slippery.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [182 posts]
13th December 2013 - 13:56

like this
Like (6)

Jimmy Ray Will wrote:
I noticed the change a few years back, but since then the roads around here have been consistently slippery as heel when salted.

I think the challenge is additives mixed with the salt to ensure it sticks to the road better... the only challenge is that it is slippery as hell for two wheeled vehicles and horses.

Makes you wonder if the councils who have started using molasses have actually done any research, any risk assessments? I would have expected the roads to have dried out weeks ago with the lack of rain, and many of the ungritted back roads have. The problem is the main routes and more so those on bus routes or industrial parks, which aren't drying, they are just accumulating more and more oil, and getting more and more dangerous.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1008 posts]
13th December 2013 - 14:15

like this
Like (8)

http://www.safespeed.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5942

Rarely would I be interested in anything from Safe speed, but it does suggest not just imagination and it does suggest that others think the formulation change is an issue.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1008 posts]
13th December 2013 - 14:18

like this
Like (7)

Re: 700c I did that ride and used 34x27. I trained hard on 34x25 so I could literally find an extra gear come the big day. I don't see how it would compromise your riding to switch to, say, 12-27 instead of 11-25. There's nothing begging for an 11t on that route. Having to walk would compromise my riding!

posted by pdf500 [13 posts]
13th December 2013 - 14:43

like this
Like (6)

Sodium ferrocyanide ( E535 ) and ABP ( like molasses ) are added to the salt which stops it caking and sticks it to the road better. When it dries out it can make it slippier than a plain dry road though Smile

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
14th December 2013 - 20:19

like this
Like (6)

YIPPY ITS RAINING HEAVILY Big Grin

posted by lookmanohands [94 posts]
14th December 2013 - 20:24

like this
Like (8)

lookmanohands wrote:
YIPPY ITS RAINING HEAVILY Big Grin

Good isn't it, might actually be able to ride round corners tomorrow!!!!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1008 posts]
14th December 2013 - 22:07

like this
Like (5)

700c wrote:
Goldfever4 wrote:
700c wrote:
Cridge wrote:
I'm running Gatorskins, they are 23's and they are impeccable, I have dropped the pressure down to 85 but the only slip I get is uphill (out the saddle) and hard on the brakes - I won't buy a different tyre, yes the roads are more slippery than usual but I can only tell because those I ride with keep slipping and that's on a multitude of tyres?

can anyone recommend a tyre that does not skid going up steep-ish hills when out of the saddle? or is it completely unavoidable?

I'm really struggling with this at the moment, but to be honest the same problem affects me during summer as well when the gradients get above 15% or so

I posted a topic on here before about this and consensus was my technique was poor - which I've tried to work on this by not pulling on the bars, keeping weight back etc, but still get the slipping..

What gear are you in? Sounds like your gear is quite high, cadence low, and consequently you're putting a lot of pressure at an early part of the pedal stroke.

I'd say you have 2 options, one cheap and one not so - even out the pedal stroke / put your arse back further, or get a pizza dish

Thanks all, for your responses. Gearing is 34X25 at the lowest. Inevitably when the road gets really steep my cadence drops (that could be addressed in part by fitness, I accept) - and hence I feel the need to stand up just to keep momentum.

I think the fact that I don't get this on a mountain bike would suggest either or both gearing and traction are the problem.

I'm doing the 'coast to coast in a day' in June and I know that Hardknott and Wrynose will be a huge challenge in this respect. I am not sure if it is even possible to get up those on a 34X25, let alone without the wheel slipping issue (though if that starts on a 30% incline I know it would finish me off). I am reluctant to change gearing to something like 34 X 28, which would compromise my riding in every other respect, so may have to embrace the 'walk of shame' for a few hundred yards!

Couple more thoughts:

-I've read that Gatorskins aren't the grippiest tyre. Maybe try a Continental GP 4 seasons? Similar tyre but supposed to be an improvement (I use the Gators too)
-Have you thought about adjusting the saddle backwards a bit (i.e. putting your weight further back when in the saddle)?
-I can't see any reason why moving to 12-28 would impair your cycling as much as walking would! (reiterating the point made by someone else)

Asolare

posted by Goldfever4 [165 posts]
15th December 2013 - 1:10

like this
Like (7)

Big sideways, and not the first this year, on my Continental Gatorskins yesterday. Plus wheel spin, even when sat down, up a fairly greasy hill. At 85psi.

I'll be ditching the Gatorskins asap for something grippier in damp conditions, but where I had the sideways yesterday is where I crashed in March. Inspecting the road surface the next day then showed me the slippery nature of the tarmac. Then the Council did something to improve matters (clean top surface?) but now it's back to lethal. Will complain again, have posted a note to all the local cyclists I know that it's treacherous, and I might even make a DIY sign because it's by far the worst location I know for lack of grip.

posted by bikerdavecycling [71 posts]
15th December 2013 - 11:17

like this
Like (6)

Got out of hospital yesterday after 1 1/2 hrs surgery to repair broken collarbone - couldn't persuade them to use titanium plate! Came off on route I've ridden hundreds of times - 3 month recovery - be careful out there!

posted by danhan900 [3 posts]
15th December 2013 - 22:49

like this
Like (4)