There is simply no way to overemphasize this fact: water crossings are SLIPPERY!!! Actually, the term "slippery" connotes some degree of friction when, in fact, most wet crossings are devoid of any friction. And don't think walking your bike solves the issue; many have fallen while walking. That said, when crossings are slick and you are in doubt, walking is always better than riding.
This water crossing is mostly dry; be careful at any sign of water
In our experience, friction is greater in the narrow car tire tracks themselves, not outside of the tire tracks. This fact may be counter-intuitive because the area between the tire tracks, with all the fuzzy moss, looks less slippery than that inside the tire tracks, where the moss is matted down. When we ride wet water crossings, we aim for the part matted down by vehicular traffic.
When fording on foot, do so with bent knees and do not use the bike as a crutch. Go slowly. Concentrate.
November to March: In winter and early spring low water crossings are likely navigable by bicycle, but you never know on which day in springtime they will turn from possible to treacherous!
April to October: In the warmer months especially, take wet low water crossings with extreme caution.
One positive aspect of going down in the summer months (if you don't break anything): the cool water feels great.Back to Hazards