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  1. #1
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    Extreme commute club: week 4

    Can it already be week 4? Sheesh, time is going by fast! Well, the weather is starting to turn here in Vermont. Soon, it will be time to put the studded tires on the recumbent. I was thinking about our friends down under and the coming summer they are facing. Many ride very long commutes in temps beyond what I am accustomed to. What do you think? Is it more extreme to ride in the cold or in the heat?

    I'm torn on this issue. When it's -20 F and colder, you are talking some extreme conditions and a challenge to any cyclist. On the other hand, when the temp is 100 F or hotter, you can say the same thing. You can dress for the cold, and keep mostly ok and you can't do that when it's hot, you just have to cope. The winter, however, throws the additional variables of ice and snow at us...

    So, what say you? Is the heat or the cold more extreme???
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

  2. #2
    NO FEAR!!! rusty_2000's Avatar
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    I would never not commute because it is too hot, but would consider not commuting if it were too cold or wet, so I would have to come in on the cold is more extreme angle.

    In the cold/ wet, I hate the initial part of the ride, and the end as my cold fingers fumble with the lock. I only rode on snow/ ice back in the UK, and didn't like the thought of going around a corner and you are eating bitumen before you even knew what was going on.

    For me, the worst part of riding in the heat is that your water bottle gets warm!

    However, I must say that commuting in Melbourne may give you all four seasons in one hour, you don't get the extreme cold or extreme heat/ humidity I think others may battle, so I read the rest with interest!!!!

    I admire you guys commuting through the snow/ ice etc...... Stay safe.
    NO FEAR!!

  3. #3
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    I can't answer your question objectively because I've never had to ride in extreme cold. I have ridden in extreme heat and humidity and it is tough. The heat saps my strength and makes it much harder to push up hills, etc. I also go through lots of water.

    Having said that, I think extreme cold would be harder for me. As bundled up as I get to go skiing, I have a hard time imagining riding a bike in all that cold-weather gear. And I'm too much of a wuss to wear any less!

    I won't be riding my bike this week due to the holiday and the fact that I'm leaving on a seven-day cruise Saturday so I have much to do to get ready. I'm bringing my bike shorts in case we go on one of the mountain biking excursions. And I plan to work out every day on the ship to try to offset the damage of all that food. My uncle gave this cruise to my mother and her seven children/step-children and their spouses so there are 15 of us going. A cruise isn't the vacation Mr. Longhorn and I would normally choose for ourselves but we'll try to make the best of it.

    When we get back to Houston, we're going to the Big XII championship game at Reliant Park. Hook 'em, Horns!

  4. #4
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    I've rode in the blazing heat of Phoenix, AZ and the harsh New England winters. I think the heat is easier because I just need water and I'm comfortable. In the cold, it's hard to find comfort. You need the perfect combination of layers so you don't sweat (which makes it even more cold!) and don't freeze. For me, it is much harder to get motivated for a very cold ride than a very hot one.

    I won't be on my bike tomorrow because I have to bring my mother to the airport. It's funny because the first thing I said when she told me was "So, I can't ride Monday?"

  5. #5
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    To be honest I don't think we get what could be considered extreme temperatures either way here in Sydney, it can get quite hot occasionally in the peak of summer but nothing that would stop you commuting. Like I said 3 weeks ago, the most extreme aspect of my commute is that it's extremely pleasant

    At the risk of getting off-topic, a couple of days ago I had a look at the nearly completed new freeway with a totally separated bicycle freeway next to it which will become my new commute - 30 pure, uninterrupted, high speed, velodrome-like miles each way . It's looking really good, and since it connects with my local MUP and with a MUP at the other end that goes to my workplace I'll have a totally off-road commute!.... I'm even thinking about getting a lowracer recumbent then I'll OWN that freeway!!! Any recommendations Mars?... my main criteria is that it has to be FAST!

  6. #6
    On your left fatty Gusboh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic
    I'll have a totally off-road commute!....
    [Cartman] You BASTARD [/Cartman]

  7. #7
    imminent danger
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    I'd take too hot over too cold every time. It doesn't hurt as much to shift gears.

    This morning's ride was highlighted by a sideswiping. A parked car pulled out in front of me and despite my quick reflexes I still managed a light bump. Nothing untoward in the pain and damage department but very annoying. The driver was suitable apologetic but claimed that he couldn't see me because his mirrors were frosted up. I did point out that if I had been an eighteen wheeler he and his kid in the back would have been killed. The look of horror on his face tole me that the "bad parent" feeling had hit and a lesson was learnt.

    Later on whilst rolling through Hyde Park another cyclist came off of a side path (cycling prohibited) and careened towards me. Only at the last minute did she lay on the brakes and threw out her rear wheel on a patch of ice. Just not clever in any sense.

    I guess that the folk of Britain have had the sensible lobe frozen by the cold weather and are going to act like idiots stacked three deep.

  8. #8
    King of the Forest Totoro's Avatar
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    I broke my personal cycle commute record this morning, shaving almost a whole hour off my normally 2.5 hour morning commute. My actual cycling time was probably unchanged, and the ride was quite nice on this sub-freezing sunny morning. What changed mostly were my connections. When I arrived at the train station, the train had already arrived. I thought for sure I wasn't going to make it, expecting instead to have to wait for the next train to arrive. So I dismounted, and locked up my bike. However, the conductor still had not closed the last door. I decided to sprint to the train. The conductor, seeing me, waited a few seconds before closing the door to allow me time to arrive. Once I did, I discovered that I was on the "express train", which makes no other stops before Boston. Then when I arrived in Boston, the orange line metro train arrived at the station just as I did. The subway train arrived at my work in about another 10 minutes. In the end, I had no waits or delays anywhere along the route and managed to arrive is just over 1.5 hours. Almost half of that time was on the bike! All in all, a great commute.
    Last edited by Totoro; 11-21-05 at 07:11 AM.

  9. #9
    The Land of Living Skies
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    Although I prefer heat to the cold, I would say that there is an element of biking through the winter that makes up for some of the difference. This morning is -7C and say the one other cyclist I usually see on my commute. Last week I was hoping he would get a headlight and this week, low and behold, he has one. All week it is supposed to be well above freezing so there won't be any extreme commutes here for a while. It would be nice to make it to a few days before Christmas without any snow.

  10. #10
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    I think the cold is more extreme -- not so much for the rider since Mars is right you can dress and plan for it. But cold introduces all sorts of mechanical problems for the bike you don't get in high heat. Brakes don't work as well, if at all, cables and derailleurs can freeze up. All of those are things that don't occur when the temps climb. Not to mention that extra road hazards of ice and snow. High heat is uncomfortable to be sure and you drink like a camel, but I think there are fewer auxilliary problems.

    Nice ride this morning although this evening and tomorrow promise rain -- I guess its time to see how warm and waterproof my boots really are. Cyclaholic -- I think we all hate your good fortune with your bike highway. Enjoy and tell us what its like to cruise on a bike freeway.

    Does anyone else who rides with homebuilt lights find they are a conversation starter? Twice today and on Thursday and Friday of last week I've had people either ride beside me and ask questions about the lights or question me when I parked. I feel like a should print up an info sheet to hand out to the curious. When I designed and built the lights and enclosure I considered brightness, runtime, durability, cost and convenience, but I never planned on them becoming a tourist attraction. Now I can't decide if I really want to change the battery enclosure and give up the attraction factor!
    God grant me the serenity to accept the hills and winds I cannot change;
    courage to challenge the cagers I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
    (with apologies to AA)
    24 mi. roundtrip -- Maryland suburbs to DC and back.

  11. #11
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic
    I'm even thinking about getting a lowracer recumbent then I'll OWN that freeway!!! Any recommendations Mars?... my main criteria is that it has to be FAST!
    Yeah baby! That would ROCK!!!

    I would start by going to bentrideronline.com where they have an extensive list of bikes they have reviewed. All the lowracers will be faster than your roadie - at least once you get used to it and your muscles adapt. The fastest bents are carbon fiber, super low, and expensive. Look at the Velokraft, and Optima websites for some ideas. The Baron Super-low looks awesome.

    For bikes that are reasonably priced (meaning around $3K), I would suggest the Baron or Jester. Both have great race records in Europe. The guys over here who take them to time trials beat up on the uprights pretty bad.

    Moderate lowracers, like mine (an HP Velotechnik Speedmachine) or a Hurricane or Fujin, can be ridden safely in traffic as long as you take some sensible precautions. Maybe the others could too, I would be a bit nervous, though.

    If I had 30 miles of offroad paved bike path, I would definitely check out a lowracer. You won't regret it!!
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

  12. #12
    Tossed some weight Redrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars
    Soon, it will be time to put the studded tires on the recumbent.
    I've only seen studded tires for full size wheels. Did you find smaller studed tires, or do you have two 26" wheels on your recumbent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Longhorn
    A cruise isn't the vacation Mr. Longhorn and I would normally choose for ourselves but we'll try to make the best of it.
    Dude! I didn't realize you were a Mrs. Longhorn. (Or I guess you could be another Mr. Longhorn.) Either way, good to have your perspective!

    OK. Time for another preference question for those to whom extreme means length of ride. I'm looking to make my 1 1/2 hr ride at just above freezing as comfortable as possible. I've got the Illuminite tights and hooded, unlined jacket, and am looking for suggestions for layering beneath the jacket. I've been looking at a merino wool zip-t by smartwool, and icebreaker and REI. My thought is that if I were to get a lightweight white longsleve I might even wear it in the summer, since they tout it's cooling properties. Is that a bunch of bunk? If I'm not going to wear it in the summer (above 70 degrees) anyway, should I just get the mediumweight and skip an additional layer since the wool is supposed to absorb and disappate? If I don't plan on riding in below freezing temperatures anyway (black ice, no studded 16" tire available) is the mediumweight under a shell just overkill?

  13. #13
    King of the Forest Totoro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrom
    OK. Time for another preference question for those to whom extreme means length of ride. I'm looking to make my 1 1/2 hr ride at just above freezing as comfortable as possible. I've got the Illuminite tights and hooded, unlined jacket, and am looking for suggestions for layering beneath the jacket. I've been looking at a merino wool zip-t by smartwool, and icebreaker and REI. My thought is that if I were to get a lightweight white longsleve I might even wear it in the summer, since they tout it's cooling properties. Is that a bunch of bunk? If I'm not going to wear it in the summer (above 70 degrees) anyway, should I just get the mediumweight and skip an additional layer since the wool is supposed to absorb and disappate? If I don't plan on riding in below freezing temperatures anyway (black ice, no studded 16" tire available) is the mediumweight under a shell just overkill?
    Try polarmax lightweight long underwear and then just wear regular clothes on top. I use my summer jacket in sub-freezing temps without problems. The polarmax also wicks sweat away from the skin. So the shirt I am wearing on top of the long underwear gets soaked in sweat, but the underwear stays relatively dry. Finally, I bring a change of clothes and put my wet clothes in a plastic bag ASAP. I find the main problems are with my face and hands, so wear good winter cycling gloves and something to cover your ears and you should be fine.

  14. #14
    On your left fatty Gusboh's Avatar
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    Extreme in Sydney = middle of winter, rainy Friday night after a game of football. All the morons one could poke a stick at, all drunk and revved up because of their team's win/loss.

    Guaranteed a few close calls, probably get called '***' a couple of times and if you are going to the wrong part of town, maybe even a few missiles thrown.

    Mind you, I've never ridden in less than 4 degrees C.

  15. #15
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrom
    I've only seen studded tires for full size wheels. Did you find smaller studed tires, or do you have two 26" wheels on your recumbent?
    ?
    My front wheel is 20". I found studded tires online. Can't remember where, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding them, though. They arrived in less than a week.

    Looks like we are going to get clobbered tomorrow here. 3-7" snow in the forecast. Kawabunga!
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

  16. #16
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars
    Yeah baby! That would ROCK!!!

    I would start by going to bentrideronline.com where they have an extensive list of bikes they have reviewed. All the lowracers will be faster than your roadie - at least once you get used to it and your muscles adapt. The fastest bents are carbon fiber, super low, and expensive. Look at the Velokraft, and Optima websites for some ideas. The Baron Super-low looks awesome.

    For bikes that are reasonably priced (meaning around $3K), I would suggest the Baron or Jester. Both have great race records in Europe. The guys over here who take them to time trials beat up on the uprights pretty bad.

    Moderate lowracers, like mine (an HP Velotechnik Speedmachine) or a Hurricane or Fujin, can be ridden safely in traffic as long as you take some sensible precautions. Maybe the others could too, I would be a bit nervous, though.

    If I had 30 miles of offroad paved bike path, I would definitely check out a lowracer. You won't regret it!!
    I have recently fallen in love with the Optima Baron It was love at first sight, her curvy body screams out "ride me, baby.... long and fast!"
    Last edited by Cyclaholic; 11-21-05 at 08:03 PM.

  17. #17
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic
    I have recently fallen in love with the Optima Baron It was love at first sight, her curvy body screams out "ride me, baby.... long and fast!"
    It TOTALLY does!! Do you think that you're man enough for a girl like that?

    Have you seen a Nocom yet? The Angelina Jolie of bicycles....
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

  18. #18
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrom
    Dude! I didn't realize you were a Mrs. Longhorn. (Or I guess you could be another Mr. Longhorn.) Either way, good to have your perspective!
    That's Dudette to you!

    And thanks!

  19. #19
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars
    It TOTALLY does!! Do you think that you're man enough for a girl like that?

    Have you seen a Nocom yet? The Angelina Jolie of bicycles....
    I have, and it is.

    DROOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  20. #20
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    I can't say enough about waterproof insulated boots for riding in cold rain. I spent over an hour on my commute home last night and and running some errands all in the pouring rain and my feet stayed warm and dry. Even when riding through some deep puddles the boots shed water beautifully.

    For those of you looking for a way to get cars to give you more room on the road I strongly recommend a 10 ft length of copper pipe. I had to pick up some pipe last night to finish my bathroom. So I duct taped the pipe along my top tube and to my rear rack and left the last 6-7 ft trailing out behind. I hung a flag on the end like you're supposed to and I was amazed at how much room cars and pedestrians gave me with my load. Whether it was the pipe or people figuring I must be insane it worked!!

    Have a good ride everybody.
    God grant me the serenity to accept the hills and winds I cannot change;
    courage to challenge the cagers I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
    (with apologies to AA)
    24 mi. roundtrip -- Maryland suburbs to DC and back.

  21. #21
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    There are three words to describe my commute coming home: crap crappety crapsicle!

    I had to stay late for my second class and it turns out the professor wasn't even there!! While waiting that whole time, it got darker, colder, and rainy-errrrr. I get about 13 miles into the ride and here that hissety hiss hiss. No problem. I'll just change it... Nope! Pump is broken and gives me no air. So I walk. And walk... 3 miles later, here I am sopping wet, freezing, and not quite jolly.

  22. #22
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    I have a full-blown head cold, didn't go to work yesterday but I managed to drag my sorry self in today. Strange thing tho, I was feeling totally miserable when I hopped on the bike this morning but within a few miles I was feeling great! all the aches had vanished and my sinuses opened up a little, although I didn't quite have the lungs.

    Lucky no cager messed with me today because I was firing off some serious snot rockets, and I mean serious - I could hear the big, high density fluro-green gobs hitting the pavement with a resounding SMACK! My nose was a lethal biological weapon that magically reloaded every 3 miles

    I'm cooling down now and the aches are coming back

  23. #23
    On your left fatty Gusboh's Avatar
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    I've got a bottle of scotch in my desk for days that i feel like that Cycla.

  24. #24
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    That's not a bad idea, Gus. I'm pretty miserable right now.

  25. #25
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic
    Lucky no cager messed with me today because I was firing off some serious snot rockets, and I mean serious - I could hear the big, high density fluro-green gobs hitting the pavement with a resounding SMACK! My nose was a lethal biological weapon that magically reloaded every 3 miles

    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

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