Fallen snow is bad news for road cycling; of that there can be little doubt. You can ride in it – just – and even enjoy riding in it, but it isn’t the ideal surface covering for narrow, tread-free tyres. What follows as it melts is more accommodating in that it provides plenty of grip and a hard, smooth surface, but it is infinitely less pleasant to ride in.
Slush, especially the greyish-black sort that accumulates at the sides of tyre tracks, is the real villain of any proper cold snap. Not only is it filthy, but it provides the reservoir for the puddles of freezing water that sit in every depression in the road surface. Splash through such a puddle and not only do you risk getting cold very quickly, but the water, which usually contains a diluted sludge of grease, rubber and rock salt, will attack anything metal it touches.
Perhaps the worst aspect of slush, however, is the severe dampener it puts upon a cyclist’s spirits; the mere sight of the stuff is enough to dispel any thoughts of actually enjoying a bike ride.
The answer to the first is – well, mudguards, obviously. To the second, regular cleaning. And to the last? Think of spring. Summer. Warmth. Sunshine. Think of anything, in fact, but slush.