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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 11-30-06, 03:47 PM   #1
Zero_Enigma
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Any tips for riding in extreme cold temps?

I'm talking -30C - -35C temps. Thats -22F - -31F with/without the windchill. this is more for a mate of mine in the praires area in Canada where they have a cold snap right now.

I happen to know in my experience at -6C (with wind, 21.2F) my shifters had issues cleanly shifting up/down.


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Old 11-30-06, 03:49 PM   #2
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I think reading up in the Winter Cycling forum might help. I found too many tips there to list.
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Old 11-30-06, 03:56 PM   #3
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Having just gone through that, here's a few:

1) Double check your freehub to make sure its working properly before you head out. They have a way of freezing and becoming truly "free". Better yet, leave it in a warm place over night and while you're at work.

2) no exposed skin.

3) lubing shifters and cables (and chains for that matter) doesn't really make a difference in extreme cold as the lube just turns to solid gunk. Sometimes my bike shifts great sometimes it doesn't. Seems to depend more on which gear it was left in.
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Old 11-30-06, 06:09 PM   #4
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No exposed skin and do not dress too heavily. Sweating is bad if riding more than 15 minutes. Keep inner core warm and dry. Miittens work better than gloves for keeping fingers warm.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:11 PM   #5
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Pick a gear before you go out. Your bike will turn into a single speed quickly. It happened today to me and it wasn't that cold. -20 C. Do your best with layering.

Good Luck, let me know how it goes

I was out today (-25morning)

Winninpeg (middle of north america) Canada.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:56 PM   #6
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I think the most important question is for how long do you need to ride. Wool socks, at least 2 layers of pants, decent mittens, and you should be allright for an hour or so. If you want to ride all day, then you'd better prepare some emergency kit, like a reliable way to start fire, perhaps 2nd gloves/mittens, etc. I have not experienced any technical problems (gears not shifting etc) at low temps, but then again it's been a long time since the last time it was -30C here. Last year we had a couple of days of -25 during the daytime, people were staring as if I were crazy as I passed by.
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Old 11-30-06, 08:13 PM   #7
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Well for me my riding will go as long as I can BEFORE they put the salt on the ground in T.O. I don't have a beater bike yet and can't seem to find a good one that I want and I sure don't want to ruin a $1500 CDN dry (some light drizzle) ride bike in th winter.


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Old 11-30-06, 08:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero_Enigma
I'm talking -30C - -35C temps. Thats -22F - -31F with/without the windchill. this is more for a mate of mine in the praires area in Canada where they have a cold snap right now.
Don't wear anything with metal; especially pants with metal zippers.
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Old 11-30-06, 08:50 PM   #9
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Have a back-up plan.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:16 PM   #10
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backpedal with caution.

if you have to walk your bike for any distance over rough ground, stop every so often and just spin the pedals through a revolution to make sure the drivetrain's still moving. same with brakes.

cover your head under/over the helmet to keep snow out of your hair.

don't eat the yellow snow.
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Old 12-01-06, 01:41 AM   #11
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Layers, and lots of them. That goes for pants and gloves as well. I've found that expedition weight glove liners work very well in extreme cold.

Also don't expect everything on your bike to work properly, it won't.
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Old 12-01-06, 02:33 AM   #12
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In deep cold, stick with layers of quality polartech fleece and good fleece outer garments, with a shell if needed. A good union suit underneath of wicking poly (Cabelas sells them) is a godsend. The bala will cause a fair amout of mist, so I often end up pulling it down. A nice coat of eucerin or petroleum jelly on the face will help insulate the cheeks, brow, wrists and any other exposed bits. When you get much below -10f, and certainly -30f, you're into some serious cold that *WILL* kill you if it can.
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Old 12-01-06, 05:10 AM   #13
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see icebike.com
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Old 12-01-06, 05:49 AM   #14
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Have a back-up plan.
I'd suggest a sledge and some huskies.

Or at very least a fixie to reduce the potential for mechanicals.
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