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Thread: Winter exercise

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    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Winter exercise

    So for those who have been here longer than just recently, also for those up north, LOL, what do you do in the winter when there's 34 feet of snow outside?

    I've been wanting to start exercising for ever. Problem is the lack of will power. I have weights, I'd start hitting the weights down in the basement for a few weeks and something would come up and eventually quit. I've always thought about running, obviously can't do that in my basement but I don't have the greatest of knees. Also I would probably tire of that. There are a lot of things I would eventually get bored of and probably give up. What I'm saying is I need something interesting and fun that is exercise.

    That's where getting up off my behind and cleaning up the bike came from. Biking is interesting and fun. I've always liked riding the bike, only I had small kids and didn't have time to do it by myself for actual exercise. Tooling around for about a mile or so with the kids wouldn't cut it. Now that they are older, I can get away for an hour or so and either ride behind my house like I started like a week and a half ago or get to the bike trail that is not very far away.

    But since amazingly school is back in just 2 weeks already, that means winter won't seem to be much longer either. I think I will ride as long as I can until it gets too unbearable, and at that point we have a long 3-4 months of freezing cold at least before the biking will start again. Heck, this year we didn't have a day in March above 20. Not much snow, but that was a long excruciatingly cold winter this past year.

    One thing that I think helped with the fact that I know I'll keep up with the bike, besides the actual enjoyment factor, is that I saw results and saw results quickly. I'm down 7 lb since July 31st which is part our eating habits changing and part the biking. I don't want to lose it over winter, it's a long time to go without fun exercise. I just don't know what to do that wouldn't be "forcing myself to exercise." My wife rides her exercise bike in the basement but it is so uncomfortable that it is painful. I don't have cash at the moment to get one of those machines you put your actual bike on to use indoors, so that would be out. That would get to be "forcing" anyways as it wouldn't be fun at all. Not going to be out in the woods along the river seeing bald eagles and deer down in the cold basement staring at the concrete walls. I don't see me keeping up with that at all.

    Any suggestions? Actually I would like to start a bit of weight lifting and the fact that I saw results to motivate me with the bike may get me going on the weights for the winter as I know results would be coming. It's all about the motivation thing for me to overcome the lack of willpower.

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    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    Winter is tuff for me even though I live in southern California. Im so sensitive to the increasingly dark days that I get depressed and just don't want to ride. That said I try to ride anyway since I know it will make my mood better. Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Don't let a little winter stop you from riding... it can be more fun than you ever imagined.


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    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Exercise videos, cross county ski ing, snowshoeing, join a gym, yoga, pilates, spinning classes.

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    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    34 feet of snow!! How do yet get the door open?

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    Try rowing. Great full body exercise. I have a Concept2 Model D in the basement, I use it for the days I can't ride and in the winter.

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    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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    Cold temperatures don't keep me off the bike. Riding when temps are in the 20's isn't particularly enjoyable, but it's doable. In fact, after a summer of riding in high double and low triple digits, I kind of look forward to it. Obviously, if the roads are icy, precautions and common sense should be exercised but, as far as just cold, bundle up and go for it.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1. Find and join a spinning class ... go 2 days a week. And if your spinning class is at a gym, make an evening of it ... attend the spinning class for an hour, workout with weights for 30 minutes, walk briskly on the treadmill for 30-60 minutes, spend 15 minutes on the rowing machine ... and then go swimming.

    2. Get outside ... walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski. Even a brisk, heart-rate raising 5-7 km walk several evenings a week can help maintain your fitness level.

    3. Buy a fluid trainer. You can pick up a decent Nashbar fluid trainer for about $150 -- that's a pretty reasonable price for something that will last for years. Put it in front of a TV and do commercial intervals. Commercial intervals are where you pick a show that you enjoy, which has frequent commercials. Ride casually during the first segment of the show, and as soon as the commercial comes on, ride as hard as you can for the full duration of the commercial. Then ride casually during the next segment of the show to catch your breath. And when the commercial comes on, ride as hard as you can for the full duration of the commercial. And repeat to the end of the 30 or 60 minute show. Oh, and mix it up. Ride for 30 minutes sometimes and 60 minutes other times.

    4. Ride outside in the snow anyway. Snowbiking is a blast!

    5. Spend a couple weeks in the middle of winter somewhere warm. Book a holiday in Australia, southern US, South America, Italy, or wherever you prefer that is a bit warmer and less snowy. Then spend those couple weeks focusing on activity ... ride your bicycle, do some long and brisk walks on the beach, hike in the mountains, swim ... spend several hours each day exercising. I like breaking up my winters ... makes them seem shorter and spending 2+ weeks focusing on exercise is a good way to jump-start the spring season.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Yeah, the 34 feet of snow is obviously an exaggeration. But what we do have is about 12 inch snowfalls pretty often. I may end up trying out the bike trail, really it is flat and straight and may be enjoyable, I don't know. Roads are definitely off for winter. I have my choice of riding in 70 mph traffic on the main state road or behind my house on the painful hills in the middle of nowhere with 60 mph occasional car. I'm already giving that up here in the summer, it is too painful with the bike trail 10 miles away.

    Plan on getting a new bike next spring so buying something to use in the house is out, I have very limited funds, especially since I am also planning to get into a little kayak paddling to get the kids out of the house and away from xBox and iPods all summer. Sure the go somewhere warm for the winter would be fantastic, but having a job negates that. Plan to retire some day and move away from all this snow and cold to South Carolina, hopefully if I make it to my estimated 95 year old retirement age, LOL. It's our dream as we figure we can handle hiding from heat in the AC for 3 months a year easier than hiding from winter in the warm house 6 months a year. Just like everyone else, the older I get, the more I hate winter.

    I am curious about different exercise, as in biking is cardio and in the winter do some weight lifting to build some muscle and strength. I don't know how that works out doing that by season.

    Oh, and I first looked on my phone which doesn't always show pictures. Those tires on that winterized bike looks awesome.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    Yeah, the 34 feet of snow is obviously an exaggeration. But what we do have is about 12 inch snowfalls pretty often. I may end up trying out the bike trail, really it is flat and straight and may be enjoyable, I don't know. Roads are definitely off for winter. I have my choice of riding in 70 mph traffic on the main state road or behind my house on the painful hills in the middle of nowhere with 60 mph occasional car. I'm already giving that up here in the summer, it is too painful with the bike trail 10 miles away.

    Plan on getting a new bike next spring so buying something to use in the house is out, I have very limited funds, especially since I am also planning to get into a little kayak paddling to get the kids out of the house and away from xBox and iPods all summer. Sure the go somewhere warm for the winter would be fantastic, but having a job negates that. Plan to retire some day and move away from all this snow and cold to South Carolina, hopefully if I make it to my estimated 95 year old retirement age, LOL. It's our dream as we figure we can handle hiding from heat in the AC for 3 months a year easier than hiding from winter in the warm house 6 months a year. Just like everyone else, the older I get, the more I hate winter.

    I am curious about different exercise, as in biking is cardio and in the winter do some weight lifting to build some muscle and strength. I don't know how that works out doing that by season.

    Oh, and I first looked on my phone which doesn't always show pictures. Those tires on that winterized bike looks awesome.
    That is no winterized bike. That is a fat bike. Purpose built for rugged terrain. Guessing Surly Moonlander. And it isn't cheap.

    Weightlifting isn't a bad idea but frankly, you should be doing it year round, just as you should do cardio in winter. Winter is a good time to do some cross training, as well as riding indoors on a trainer or on a spinning bike. find a good, hard spinning class 2 or 3 times a week and you will be surprised next spring how much bike conditioning you retain. You might even improve in some areas, like climbing.
    Last edited by MRT2; 08-12-13 at 07:11 AM.

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    Weightlifting isn't a bad idea but frankly, you should be doing it year round, just as you should do cardio in winter. Winter is a good time to do some cross training, as well as riding indoors on a trainer or on a spinning bike. find a good, hard spinning class 2 or 3 times a week and you will be surprised next spring how much bike conditioning you retain. You might even improve in some areas, like climbing.
    +1

    Spinning classes are great!


    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    One thing that I think helped with the fact that I know I'll keep up with the bike, besides the actual enjoyment factor, is that I saw results and saw results quickly. I'm down 7 lb since July 31st which is part our eating habits changing and part the biking. I don't want to lose it over winter, it's a long time to go without fun exercise. I just don't know what to do that wouldn't be "forcing myself to exercise." My wife rides her exercise bike in the basement but it is so uncomfortable that it is painful. I don't have cash at the moment to get one of those machines you put your actual bike on to use indoors, so that would be out. That would get to be "forcing" anyways as it wouldn't be fun at all. Not going to be out in the woods along the river seeing bald eagles and deer down in the cold basement staring at the concrete walls. I don't see me keeping up with that at all.

    It's good to keep up the cardio during the winter. If not spinning (or perhaps in addition to spinning), snow-sports like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are excellent workouts. Cross-country skis might cost a bit (although you can pick them up used) but snowshoes are relatively inexpensive. And you could be out in the woods seeing the eagles and deer, etc.

    And if all of that is too expensive ... walk. Put on the coat and boots and walk ... briskly to get the heart rate and breathing up. Walk for an hour or more in the evenings. Walk at lunch. Walk to and from work. Walk up and down those hills. Walk and watch the wildlife. Walk with your wife and kids.


    Or here's an idea ... you mentioned that you wanted to get your kids out of the house. Does your area have some good sledding spots? You've got hills and snow which are two key ingredients. Spend several days over the winter with your kids, and a sled or two, on a local hill. You slide down, but you've got to climb/walk back up. Do that a few dozen times, and it's a pretty good workout. Kind of like intervals.

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    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    OP brings up a point that is, perhaps, especially relevant for us clydes. That is, how to sustain motivation in a 4 season climate where at least one season is not as cycling friendly, either due to cold or to darkness. (cycling commuters excepted, just isn't as fun, or even feasible to go on long training rides in the dark and 20 degrees or colder). The days get shorter, the temps get colder and the riding gets more sporadic, to perhaps nonexistent by Thanksgiving.

    Each of us who have, in the past lost some of the fitness we earned all summer, needs a plan to stay motivated and fit so when the snow melts, we can get on the bike and retain the gains we made this summer and build up to even better riding next year.

    My own plan includes the following.
    Keep cycling outdoors as long as possible. I may even invest this year in some better cool weather gear, including cycling tights, full finger gloves, and perhaps a cap to wear under my helmet. Along with my long sleeve jersey, base layer, and windbreaker, that should get me through November. Though it will be getting dark earlier, I could do a weekend ride, and perhaps an early morning weekday ride through November. Not perfect, but better than hanging things up in September, as I have done in the past.

    Step up the time at the gym:
    At least 1 to 2 spinning classes a week, 1 to 2 days on the treadmill or eliptical trainer, 2 mat classes (pilates or yoga), and 1 to 2 weightlifting days a week. Some of these can be combined into a single long gym day (spinning/weightlifting, or yoga/treadmill, etc.)

    Maximize outdoor winter activities with family:
    Cross country ski, hiking, ski vacation? Even maybe roller skating and bowling?
    Additionally, there is an indoor mountain biking park in my city. Never tried it, but I might take my son there in the late fall or winter and give it a try.
    Last edited by MRT2; 08-12-13 at 08:19 AM.

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    Those are some great suggestions. If you have an indoor pool near you swimming is a great exercise and I'm sure the kids would enjoy getting some time in the pool too.

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    Ancient Clydesdale 2 wheeler's Avatar
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    I ride rollers during the winter. It's not nearly as fun as riding outdoors, but it's better than nothing. As mentioned above, I'm planning on stretching the cycling season this year; being out of work allows flexibility.

    I might try walking this winter. That will work sometimes, but I live at the top of a very steep hill and the ice makes walking treacherous. Winter injuries are very common here because of people slipping on ice.

    There are really no other alternatives. Gyms are at least 25 miles away.

    I really don't like winter. At all.

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    Senior Member Shepp30's Avatar
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    Going to try one of these this winter.

    http://www.kurtkinetic.com/road-machine-p-198-l-en.html

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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    Those tires on that winterized bike looks awesome.
    The bike is a Surly Pugsley and as someone said, they aren't cheap

    A pair of decent studded tyres costs less and because winter isn't always 34 feet of snow and freezing (unless you live here) there are probably days you can incorporate cycling into your winter exercise regime.

    Snow biking is a blast... I bought the Pug because I don't use a trainer and for snow and bad winter roads the Pug is an excellent tool. For icier conditions I ride another bike with studded tyres.

  17. #17
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2 wheeler View Post
    I ride rollers during the winter. It's not nearly as fun as riding outdoors, but it's better than nothing. As mentioned above, I'm planning on stretching the cycling season this year; being out of work allows flexibility.

    I might try walking this winter. That will work sometimes, but I live at the top of a very steep hill and the ice makes walking treacherous. Winter injuries are very common here because of people slipping on ice.

    There are really no other alternatives. Gyms are at least 25 miles away.

    I really don't like winter. At all.
    Yes, you are the same boat I am in. There is no gym, there is no indoor pool, there is no spinning classes whatever that is, there is nothing out in the middle of nowhere. Just me, my bike, and a 34 mile paved bike trail along the river with the deer and bald eagles. I ride 12 miles total and this weekend may have seen 3 people the whole weekend. Saw more deer and chipmunks than people, LOL. People ask me where I live and I tell them 45 minutes from Walmart. There's Walmart 45 minutes to the north, 45 minutes to the south, to the east and too the west, LOL. There literally isn't anything around me but farmland and State Gamelands.

    The extent of my winter riding was once I dropped my truck off a mile down the road for state inspection and rode my bike home in the thick sludge of several previous 12 inch snowfalls. That certainly wasn't fun. Like I said though, that was the thick stuff accumulated and driven in over several 12 inch snowfalls. Might be interesting to bike on the trail in fresh snow along the river.

    I do plan to see how long I can go riding the bike. Once winter comes in though, as others have mentioned, it is dark. By the time I get home from work for the kids to get off the school bus and I'd be able to get back out, it's pitch black out. On top of that, I'll suffer getting my rear end in to work in the snow, I'm not chancing losing the car because I'm heading somewhere to bike. My car does horrible in the snow and I'm hoping I can get winter tires this year. That's doubtful though again this year. Too much other stuff needed.

    I was looking at rollers, in fact, found the thread here where someone did a DIY set. Would be much better than my wife's exercise bike, that thing is horrible and I can't last 5 minutes on it. Rollers or one of those like the link in Shepp30's post would be cool, but it would be a financial thing for something like that.

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    Senior Member Shepp30's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    or one of those like the link in Shepp30's post would be cool, but it would be a financial thing for something like that.
    Yeah that model is on the upper end of the price scale, however it comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty and a lifetime crash replacement policy. That price is also direct from the company...REI and some of the others sell it 40 or 50 bucks cheaper. But hey, if lasts a lifetime, you only have to buy one :-)
    Last edited by Shepp30; 08-12-13 at 12:25 PM.

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    Senior Member MattFoley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post

    I do plan to see how long I can go riding the bike. Once winter comes in though, as others have mentioned, it is dark. By the time I get home from work for the kids to get off the school bus and I'd be able to get back out, it's pitch black out.
    Lights are your friend. I bike commute year round, so in the winter a substantial portion of my miles are ridden in darkness. Riding in the dark (with proper lights, of course) can be extremely relaxing.
    Cars man, whyyyyyy?!?!?!?!

  20. #20
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    I ride in the winter up to when we get snow, once the snow falls (even though the temps usually stay around the same) I put the bike away. Before the snow, we may get some 20 dgree weather, I just bundle up and pedal hard! When my loops start getting smaller as I freeze or when the snow falls, I turn to brisk walking, doing sets of push ups and sit ups daily. I don't usually continue cycling until mid to late April however this year I'm thinking about getting a trainer or a stationary bike and cut down on my walks but every time I think of doing that I have a voice inside my head say "Go Outside" so a stationary bike may not work well.
    Want to ride fast? Just ride with a slower group.
    Want to feel like a kid again? Dust off that old bike hanging in your garage!

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    I do plan to see how long I can go riding the bike. Once winter comes in though, as others have mentioned, it is dark. By the time I get home from work for the kids to get off the school bus and I'd be able to get back out, it's pitch black out.

    I was looking at rollers, in fact, found the thread here where someone did a DIY set. Would be much better than my wife's exercise bike, that thing is horrible and I can't last 5 minutes on it. Rollers or one of those like the link in Shepp30's post would be cool, but it would be a financial thing for something like that.

    As someone else mentioned ... use lights.

    And if you feel uncomfortable cycling in the dark, there's no reason why you can't walk in the dark. Carry a flashlight, and off you go. Rowan and I have been walking in the middle of the evening (well after dark) fairly frequently this winter. It's really quite nice out there ... a little chilly to start, but you warm up, and it's interesting walking at night ... different perspective.

    That would be something you could do with the whole family ... throw on the coats and boots and go for a brisk walk for an hour or two in the evening instead of sitting in front of the TV o r computer the whole time.



    This is the kind of trainer I mentioned in an earlier post ... I'd go with the fluid trainers:
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/SubCate..._202335_202382

    I have a much earlier version of the Nashbar fluid trainer (going for $150 now), and it has held up well over the past decade. And that's the thing ... spend $150 now, and if your trainer lasts 10+ years, that's $15/year. Not expensive at all.

    I'll also mention that you don't need to get a different bicycle for it, you can use your own.

    And to keep yourself from being bored, do those commercial intervals I mentioned.


    It's a pity you don't have spinning classes near you (I don't now either, and I miss them) ... you'd be in better shape at the end of winter than you are now.

  22. #22
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mythradar View Post
    Try rowing. Great full body exercise. I have a Concept2 Model D in the basement, I use it for the days I can't ride and in the winter.
    I have a Model C and just love the thing. I'm just about ready to sell a couple of my bikes so that I can get a skull.
    Deut 6:5

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