I currently have Kenda 27 x 1 3/8 inch tires on my road bike. I live in a snowy, icy city and am a bike commuter in warmer months. I would like to occasionally commute this winter. I am wondering about the safety and challenges of riding with this size of tire width? I can have these tires studded at a bike shop in town, but I am hoping for advice whether this is a good idea. We have some ice and snow on the side roads here, as salt is not used.
It will depend largely on your handling skills and the conditions of the snowy, icy city you live in.
Narrower tires, like what you have will cut through small amounts of snow quite easily, but will quickly bog in deeper snow and can be difficult to control when you can't see irregularities underneath the snow. Since they also need to be run at higher pressures, they tend to be a bit twitchy, which is fine on slick even surfaces, but can easily cause slips and crashes where surfaces are uneven (transitions between roads, bike paths, sidewalks, etc).
I often commute in the spring on narrower studded tires, but am very careful around transitions, or uneven slick surfaces (jumble ice). They are great for icy patches left by melt/thaw cycles, but definitely less forgiving than a wider tire. By contrast, I can maintain more speed or jumble ice and the like with the studded tires on my fat bike.
TL;DR I skip using them on days where you have deep snow, or in areas likely to have slick and uneven surfacing.
I know it is not cheap but if you are going to try spikes then go for some good tires that come with spikes and save your existing for summer riding. The base is imbedded in the tire so it has an anchor.
As for if it will work for you? I think you just need to give it a try. Clearly studs will help.
Again not cheap but a mtn bike with bigger studded tires would be your best bet.
They should be safe to ride. For comparison, your tire is is 37mm wide. Schwable makes a Marathon Winter tire in 35mm and 42mm for a 700c tire so the width isn't an issue. The only problem you will have is soft snow where the studs don't help. If your tire doesn't have a more aggressive tread pattern then you may still have traction issues.