Winter Cycling - Its never too early!
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09-28-02, 11:53 AM
Being that winter seems to be approaching in a hurry, does anyone have some good tips for clothing to commute in. Do most winter commuters wear special clothes, take a change of clothes, or what? Also, I was wondering, do brakes tend to ice up when the temps are around freezing? Im curious because I want to start getting prepared before the weather starts getting too bad. Here in minnesota the you know what hits the fan around november.
09-28-02, 08:33 PM
My clothing is almost similar to what I wear when I walk outside, although I favour more the layers system.
I usually wear a Goretex windbreaker (rated 0°C), trousers and long underwear. When it's too cold or windy, I use a polar vest under the windbreaker.
One of the key points is being able to zip or unzip the windbreaker very quickly, because I might need it very much while I ride in one direction (headwind, downhill...), and not need it after I turn at the next intersection.
I use either full cycling gloves or cross-country ski gloves, as well as light overshoes.
Mechanical problems. I never had brakes failing on me, mostly because I ride in the city and therefore use them a lot. I once remember finding the brakes were "stuck" open, after I had cycled a 10-km stretch without using the brakes... at -5°C under icing rain.
Two "surprises". I park outside the office. Having to chop the ice off handlebars is something I can't get used to. Once my cogs were covered with ice... which limited the usefulness of some gears.
10-02-02, 02:53 PM
Thanks for the tips, it gives my some ideas for this winter.
10-02-02, 03:26 PM
Summer/Fall riding- shorts and synthetic T-shirt.
Then as it cools down, I add arm warmers (don't use them on the way back home), thin glove liners under normal riding gloves, long sleeve shirt (no armwarmers) with vest, and finally an ear band. My legs are cold in shorts in the mornings, but warm up pretty quick. It also helps living in AZ, as it never gets that cold.
Outer layer: wind-braker with lots of zipped ventilation holes. Beneath that, synthetic layered clothing. As many layers as needed. Avoid cotton. Gore-Tex hiking boots and x-country skiing gloves (coincidentally these are reinforced at exactly the right spots for operating shifters). Ear band or ear "flaps". If it's really cold or windy, add a balaclava and wear glasses. I've tried this at -20C or so, and it works ok.
I always carry a full set of working clothes. While at work, I can hang my riding gear in an obscure cabinet behind my office door (the door opens in the room & I always have it open so it blocks the cabinet). 8 hours or so will be plenty for synthetic riding gear to dry and ventilate. As mentioned, don't try this with cotton, or you'll end up working very late waiting for your gear to dry.
I once made a point of asking a co-worker if there was a strange smell in my room - she didn't notice anything (ok, so maybe they're used to it :)). But I do wash my riding clothes often. Regarding your bike & accessories: keep the bike clean, your chains lubed and be prepared to shorter burn times with your lighting equipment. Use studded tyres and always test your brakes before actually heading on the road.
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