Quick movie plug before I review my ride: Check out The Ice Storm if you haven't seen it. "Best movie of 1997". Lots of sleet and difficult weather scenes. Big name cast.
It's been snowy these past few days in Seattle. I couldn't drive, didn't want to walk anymore, and so I wanted to ride. Inspired in part by this site, I headed out for a short ride over to Top Pot Donuts. It's a short but HILLY ride. Good chance to test my mettle.
I climbed part of 75th Ave NE on the road. When I was at the top, I was cruising fine but as it got lumpier I had trouble and pulled over for the cars to get by.
Two key points for riding snow: Use studded tires. I don't have these but I assume they'd work well if I had them. Instead I used fairly wide, low pressure tires. Wide tires don't stop better, but overall they keep you from sinking in soft spots and maintain traction on uneven surfaces.
I found for controlling speed, use a fixed gear drive train if possible. Fixed gear will allow you to brake evenly, especially on descents. I went down a few hills people were sledding, nervous, but ultimately without trouble.
Putting my foot down at stops was scarier than riding to the stop.