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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 02-08-06, 08:31 AM   #1
HiYoSilver
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I can't figure out what's happening

As soon of you know, I track my commute times for a short 5 mile commute. Everything is well and good except the numbers are not making sense. For some reason my morning commute times are down 1 mph. I know it's winter and sometimes there is wind and cold. But should this drop speed 1 mph?

Anyone else see this in the winter?
Any other explanations?

FYI-pm time is up about .6 mph, so it's not the engine, maybe??? It's not traffic lights, there are only 2 I have to cross and we're talking about an 4 sets of 25 rides where the average of the 25 has now dropped 1mph from the 2nd set and 3rd set and is back at the avg of the 1st set when I was in poorer shape.
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Old 02-08-06, 08:41 AM   #2
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Cold muscles? Cold air making it harder to breath? Less air = more fatigue.
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Old 02-08-06, 08:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
As soon of you know, I track my commute times for a short 5 mile commute. Everything is well and good except the numbers are not making sense. For some reason my morning commute times are down 1 mph. I know it's winter and sometimes there is wind and cold. But should this drop speed 1 mph?

Anyone else see this in the winter?
Any other explanations?

FYI-pm time is up about .6 mph, so it's not the engine, maybe??? It's not traffic lights, there are only 2 I have to cross and we're talking about an 4 sets of 25 rides where the average of the 25 has now dropped 1mph from the 2nd set and 3rd set and is back at the avg of the 1st set when I was in poorer shape.
you could make a chart of all of those numbers.
i am not saying you have too, but you could.
1 mph. don't know. i only had a speed watcher on my bike for a few months. i crashed and it went off.
i do know that when i have my period and i am on a slow bike i cannot go faster than 12 mph without some conscience effort. other wise faster than that is effortless. then there is pushing it. i think your mph speed watcher could be affected by the cold. i think it is pretty darn tuff to go that slow. that would be great for a slow race...
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Old 02-08-06, 08:49 AM   #4
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The wind is a real possibility, particularly if your trip hpome has become faster as your trip in has become slower. Bulky winter clothing, denser air, and less inclination to exert are all reasonable factors, too.

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Old 02-08-06, 10:40 AM   #5
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+1 on Wind

The slightest...almost nonexistent wind will slow ya a little.
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Old 02-08-06, 10:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by d2create
Cold muscles? Cold air making it harder to breath? Less air = more fatigue.
+1 on the harder to breathe.
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Old 02-08-06, 10:55 AM   #7
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I've experienced a drop in commuting speeds. It was most pronounced when I was using studded tires, but even now that I am back to minimally treaded tires speed is off. Denser air is a factor as are bulkier clothes and heavier shoes. This winter has had enough mild days (sometimes into the 60s) that I have been able to shed much of the heavier clothes and found that the speed increases to what it was in the fall. There are still some days when I'm lagging a bit just because I dodn't feel like putting in the effort in the cold, but generally as the air warms up and I drop bulky clothes the speed increases. Cold air and bulkier clothes would have more effect in the morning when it is colder then in the afternoon when you might be able to dress a little lighter and the temps are a little higher (as well as taking advantage of muscles that are fully warmed up). Good luck with the commute.
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Old 02-08-06, 10:56 AM   #8
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I am going to take a different tack and blame it on motivation. You are reluctant to get to work and hence ride slower in the morning. Conversely, you are anxious and eager to get home so you ride faster in the evening. Problem solved!
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Old 02-08-06, 11:05 AM   #9
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Thanks for ideas. Yes I do chart the results. I just started tracking the temp and wind, that is still hit and miss. I don't always enter it, but do on harder slower days.

Cold air and cold muscles, could be.

Bulk, I don't know. Usually the only differences are 1). bavaclava and 2) fleece under windbreaker. It has only been cold enough a couple days to wear goretex pants.

Mostly interested in possible causes and if others see a slow down in the winter mornings.

Jsharr, interesting idea but too competitive with trying to keep up cadence during the ride I only think about the ride and times and cadences not what happens when I get there.
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Old 02-08-06, 11:22 AM   #10
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My main issue is wind. It has been one windy winter. Even wind in the morning from time to time. Yesterday it took me an extra 15 minutes to travel the 19 miles to downtown denver from Orchard. Something like 1 hr and 10 minutes.
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Old 02-08-06, 11:25 AM   #11
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Wind resistance from wind conditions plus clothing = more wind resistance.

Rolling resistance with the added weight of the said clothing = more rolling resistance

add those two to your equation and find out your slowness ...
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Old 02-08-06, 11:36 AM   #12
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I eat more in the winter...My lunch box (Todays e.g.:apple, yogurt, 3 bottled waters, sandwich, cottage cheese, pretzels, bratwurst, pistachios, and sandwhich bag of mixed veggies) weighs more in the winter than it does in the summer. This combined with some of the things already mentioned may make the difference.
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Old 02-08-06, 11:38 AM   #13
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Personally, I have more energy in the afternoon and that's when I like to exercise. At 7 am I'm not as ready to go full speed as I am at 4 pm.
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Old 02-08-06, 11:40 AM   #14
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Plosive, I understand, but I'm comparing morning to morning commutes and not am to pm.

Thanks for all the explanations all, I was beginning to wonder if I was doing something wrong in the mornings.
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Old 02-08-06, 11:51 AM   #15
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Cold weather thickens the blood which taxes your circulatory system significantly where fatigue sets in easily.
Yesterday morning commute was about 21 deg. & NOBODY was going faster than 16 mph. I mean at times I as doing 14-15 when usually spring/summer easily go at 20-21 mph.
Those 3 layers have a little to do too.
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Old 02-08-06, 11:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Plosive, I understand, but I'm comparing morning to morning commutes and not am to pm.

Thanks for all the explanations all, I was beginning to wonder if I was doing something wrong in the mornings.

ooops, sorry
I've noticed my speed drops considerably in winter when it's colder than 40 degrees. Also, I can see how the extra clothing and the quite loose rain jacket could affect my speed but am not sure by how much.
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Old 02-08-06, 12:00 PM   #17
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Maybe that's the unknown variable. I bet it's more the circul system is more constrained by the cold. I didn't think it was the weight. Wind and cold then are the top explanations. Good to know.
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Old 02-08-06, 12:09 PM   #18
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All else being the same, wind resistance is 15% greater at 0*C than at 30*C.
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Old 02-08-06, 12:20 PM   #19
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HIYO Silver
I understand...My point was that if you eat more in the winter, than in the summer like I do your wieght would be slightly higher for your morning commute in the winter..In fact combined with extra clothes, and lighting equipment your WINTER morning commute could be a few pounds heavier than your SUMMER morning commute
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Old 02-08-06, 12:29 PM   #20
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Makes sense for you. I keep the same equipment on the bike year round. My weight is flat +/- 1 lb. But you are partially right, I do carry 3 items of extra clothing: fleece, windbreaker, winter gloves. Those are usually left at home during summer, but I still think there is consensus that biggest factors are:
1. head wind
2. increased air resistance due to cold
3. increased energy lost moving the blood thru the body

Humm, maybe I should be happy it's only 1 mph. [ but when you're going slow, there aren't many mph to lose ]
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Old 02-08-06, 01:55 PM   #21
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My understanding is that tire rolling resistance is increased if they are less pliable. Cold seems to do this to rubber.
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Old 02-08-06, 02:19 PM   #22
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SAME BOAT!!!! This has been driving me insane, been wondering the exact same thing. Thanks for the information, I feel a little better now. My spreadsheet on the other hand.......
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Old 02-08-06, 02:46 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d2create
Cold muscles? Cold air making it harder to breath? Less air = more fatigue.
-1
Cold air is denser, more 02 available for the lungs.

Because cold air is denser it is also a little bit harder to "push" through.
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Old 02-08-06, 03:31 PM   #24
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I commute about the same distance. When winter first started and the studs were just on it killed my commute time. I went from ~17 minutes (lots of lights, so high variability) to ~23 minutes. If it was snowy/windy/hell on wheels then it'd go up even more. Lately it's been hovering around 21 minutes.

Lots of environmental factors. Just have to roll with the punches, one day at a time.
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Old 02-08-06, 04:01 PM   #25
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OLD AGE!

We are all getting Older LOL
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