What’s Icebike?

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Icebike refers to winter cycling on roads or trails, with special equipment available for extreme versions. Cyclists ride for commuting, exercise, or fun, with equipment varying based on weather conditions. Proper clothing and equipment, including studded tires, fenders, and lights, are necessary. Ice bike racing is a special category with winding paths carved out of solid ice.

Icebike is a term used for winter cycling, particularly in snowy or icy conditions on roads or trails. It can also specifically refer to ice bike racing where the race courses are laid out on solid sheets of ice. While special equipment is available for icebiking, less extreme versions of the sport are often ridden on regular, unmodified bicycles.

Cycling during the winter can generally be referred to as an icebike. Ideal weather conditions typically range from cool and rainy, to cold and dry, to cold and snowy or icy. Icebike can also refer to road cycling or track cycling. Cyclists may choose to ride their bikes during the winter for a variety of reasons including commuting, exercise or just for fun. The types and amount of special equipment required for winter cycling vary based on weather conditions and whether the cycling is primarily done on roads or trails.

In milder winter conditions, a normal road bike or mountain bike is often sufficient for the icebike. For snowy or icy roads and paths, special tires may be required. Icebikers can use studded tires which can be purchased or homemade, those with screws inserted from the inside of the tire. Other options for winterizing tires include tire chains and tire wires.

Other equipment may be required for winter cycling, regardless of snow and ice conditions. Fenders can prevent water or snow from being thrown on a rider. Bicycle lights, which in most places are required for cycling after dark, are of particular importance during the winter as it is dark most of the day.

Proper clothing for winter outdoor exercise is as important for icebiking as it is for any other winter sport. Gloves, shoes and socks are of particular importance for ice bikers as their hands and feet stay still on the bike and are more prone to the cold. Cyclists can use regular gloves, mittens, or special gloves called pogies that are designed to attach to the handlebars of the bicycle. Normal cycling shoes, winter cycling shoes or winter boots can be used for cycling, depending on the climate and the cyclist’s preferences. In general, the clothing guidelines for icebiking are similar to those for other winter sports.

Ice bike racing is a special category of ice cycling. These are winding paths carved out of solid ice, often over frozen lakes and rivers. Most ice bike racers use studded tires to get enough traction on icy courses.

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