Icebike is a term used for winter bicycling, particularly in snowy or icy conditions on roads or trails. It can also refer specifically to ice bike racing where race courses are marked out on solid sheets of ice. While special equipment is available for icebiking, less extreme versions of the sport are often undertaken on normal, unmodified bicycles.
Biking during the winter can generally be referred to as 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 either road biking or trail biking. Cyclists may choose to bike during the winter for a variety of reasons, including commuting, exercise, or simply for fun. The types and amounts of special equipment required for winter cycling vary by climate conditions and whether the biking is done primarily on roads or on trails.
In milder winter conditions, a regular road or mountain bike is often sufficient for icebiking. For snowy or icy roads and trails, special tires may be necessary. Icebikers may use studded tires that can either be purchased or homemade — ones with screws inserted from the inside of the tire. Other options for winterizing tires include tire chains and tire wires.
Other equipment may be necessary for winter cycling whether or not there is snow and ice. Fenders can prevent water or snow from being thrown up onto a cyclist. Bike lights, which in most places are required for cycling after dark, are of particular importance during the winter since it is dark during a larger part of the day.
Appropriate clothing for outdoor winter exercise is as important for icebiking as it is for any other winter sport. Gloves, shoes, and socks are of particular importance for icebikers since hands and feet stay stationary on a bike and are more prone to cold conditions. Cyclists may use regular gloves, mittens, or special mitts called pogies that are designed to be attached to bike handlebars. Regular bike shoes, winter bike shoes, or winter boots may be used for cycling, depending on climate and the biker's preference. In general, clothing guidelines for icebiking are similar to those for other winter sports.
Ice bike racing is a special category of icebiking. It involves twisted race courses marked out on solid ice, often on frozen lakes and rivers. Most ice bike racers use studded tires to achieve sufficient traction on the icy courses.