Riding on ice is never a good idea, but you’ll at least have a fighting chance with the addition of some studded winter tires. Compared to riding with fair-weather tires, studs are the technological achievement of the century.
Apparently studded tires have come a long way. Back in the day studs were made out of steel and wore away quite quickly. These days both major manufacturers of studded tires, Nokian and Schwalbe, manufacture their studs out of carbide, which isn’t the stuff they froze Han Solo in. These new studs are reported to last as long as the tire itself, so you won’t need more than one set for many years.
You can also ride studs on bare pavement. The only downside is that it sounds like you’re being chased by an angry swarm of bees. They will still hold fast and won’t add that big of an effort to your ride.
I personally have a pair of 700c Nokians on my bike because that’s what my local shop carries. Had I planned ahead, a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires would have been the best match for my Opa. Still, the Nokians have been a lifesaver and it seems somehow fitting to be riding on Finnish tires in Minnesota. Remember, the Finns kicked some major Russian butt in ww2 and love saunas. That’s good enough for me.
For more detail on studded tires go to http://www.peterwhitecycles.com