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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 12-03-07, 07:50 AM   #1
knobster
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Weather forecast

Ok, I'm a little irritated. I skipped my commute this morning because weather.com said that today would be 20mph winds. I can handle the cold, but I hate riding in wind like that. Got up this morning at the time that I do when I drive and low and behold, no wind. When I ride the bike, I have to get up an hour earlier so getting up to see how the weather really is, is something I don't care to do. Anyone got a good reliable place to forecast the weather?
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Old 12-03-07, 07:54 AM   #2
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If you simply ride regardless it won't matter if the reports are inaccurate.
In addition to weatherchannel, you can also look at weather reporting from accuweather and weatherunderground.
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Old 12-03-07, 08:15 AM   #3
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+1 on weatherunderground. If somebody in your area has the sensors for it, you can get access to the actual sensor data and see what the danged wind speed is.

For what it's worth, you may have beaten the front by a few hours. I live near DC and I was fighting nasty 30mph headwinds uphill, with gusts better than that. Wasn't fun, but I made it.
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Old 12-03-07, 08:27 AM   #4
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Weather forecasters suck, particularly in NC. It seems to me that the forecasts are no better now, despite all of the computer models, than they were 20-30 years ago. That said, I think you are premature doubting today's forecast. The front that is supposed to be bringing all the wind just moved through the area early this morning, and I don't think the winds are supposed to pick up until this afternoon. I skipped my bike commute today for the same reason -- although in my case it more due to the wet roads this morning. I didn't want to get all soaked riding to work this morning, and didn't relish the thought of riding home into 20-30 mph head winds.
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Old 12-03-07, 11:06 AM   #5
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I did the same thing last week. Forcast for crazy 20-30 mile gust winds...it was a beautiful sunny 40 perfect biking day and I am sitting in my friggin car...this is my first winter commute season and I .am trying to resist the small voice that says you better drive.
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Old 12-03-07, 11:08 AM   #6
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20 mph and ya don't ride?
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Old 12-03-07, 11:33 AM   #7
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if you use Firefox, there are some good weather plugins that are very accurate for my (your) local area,
ForecastFox is one... it appears as little icons along the bottom of the window. hover the cursor over and you see current conditions.

As far as 'show stopping weather'? Wind won't stop me... but the 5 inches of snow followed by a couple hours of rain/freezing rain/sleet that turned the snow to a thick wet corn starchy-quicksand yuck did it. I had to get bailed out because... my bike (fattish tires, 26") would NOT move forward in this gumbo. The paths were not plowed yet, and if I didn't have tire tracks in the snow, it was walk or be picked up. A mess! And of course the roads are just chippy with frozen chunks now. Bleah.
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Old 12-03-07, 11:33 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by littlewaywelt View Post
If you simply ride regardless it won't matter if the reports are inaccurate.
+1

20mph just requires a little extra time. Winds in the PNW are a lot higher than that today -- it took me over 2 hrs to make it into work today. Should be a sweet tailwind on the ride home, though if the winds shift a bit west more than predicted, it will be a vicious crosswind. It's best to just jump on and ride.
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Old 12-03-07, 11:38 AM   #9
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Yeah, it's crazy huh? I also don't ride when it's sleeting or hailing. Guess I'm just a wimp. Anyways, the forecast seemed to be just a little late as the wind has finally reached me. Hopefully it doesn't carry on till tomorrow.
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Old 12-03-07, 11:41 AM   #10
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I don't usually bother with the weather forecast, since here in the PNW it can vary so much. I take my dog out for a walk about an hour before I leave for my commute. That's how I know what it's like outside.

I find that the 'stick your head out the window' method seems to be the most reliable.
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Old 12-03-07, 11:42 AM   #11
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+1

20mph just requires a little extra time. Winds in the PNW are a lot higher than that today -- it took me over 2 hrs to make it into work today. Should be a sweet tailwind on the ride home, though if the winds shift a bit west more than predicted, it will be a vicious crosswind. It's best to just jump on and ride.
My biggest problem with this is I have a set time to be at work. I leave home at 6:00 to get to work by 7:30 to be at my desk at 8:00. If it took me any longer than normal (give a few minutes for a flat) then I'd be late. I hate being late. Guess I'd better start getting use to it though. I may be moving to Oregon within the next month or so.
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Old 12-03-07, 11:44 AM   #12
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if you use Firefox, there are some good weather plugins that are very accurate for my (your) local area,
ForecastFox is one... it appears as little icons along the bottom of the window. hover the cursor over and you see current conditions.

As far as 'show stopping weather'? Wind won't stop me... but the 5 inches of snow followed by a couple hours of rain/freezing rain/sleet that turned the snow to a thick wet corn starchy-quicksand yuck did it. I had to get bailed out because... my bike (fattish tires, 26") would NOT move forward in this gumbo. The paths were not plowed yet, and if I didn't have tire tracks in the snow, it was walk or be picked up. A mess! And of course the roads are just chippy with frozen chunks now. Bleah.
I'll give that a shot. Thanks. Wow, riding in that kinda mess would take some serious thick skin. Not sure I could do it. Coldest I've ridden here is in the 20's. That wasn't much fun for me. I guess I'd better toughen up.
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Old 12-03-07, 11:46 AM   #13
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Screw it. I'm going to ride the entire week this week and I'm not going to worry about the weather. If it sucks, it sucks. I've got fenders and all the cold weather gear along with rain stuff so I'll live. Plus my boss is out, so if it takes longer, nobody is going to know.
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Old 12-03-07, 11:54 AM   #14
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+1 on weatherunderground. If somebody in your area has the sensors for it, you can get access to the actual sensor data and see what the danged wind speed is.

For what it's worth, you may have beaten the front by a few hours. I live near DC and I was fighting nasty 30mph headwinds uphill, with gusts better than that. Wasn't fun, but I made it.
Reminds me of my last visit to Estes Park, CO, around June 1. 40 mph. winds with gusts up to 70! I was walking uphill--backwards! (the wind kicking up debris was not something I liked getting pelted in the face with.)

But when I finally circled around home, what a blast having those gusts at my back! I had to struggle not to let it push me down the road too fast! (I wonder if I was riding, and not walking, what that would have been like?)

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Old 12-03-07, 12:00 PM   #15
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I envy you guys with the tail wind on the way home. I never get this. It blows West on the way in which is a headwind for me and it blows East on the way home which is, of course, a headwind as well. I've never had it go with me. Uggh...
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Old 12-03-07, 12:03 PM   #16
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I take whatever accuweather, wunderground and twc say, then average them. It's usually pretty close.
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Old 12-03-07, 12:19 PM   #17
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By far the best weather forecast I have ever seen is the rock on a string. Just tie the rock to the string, hang it outside your bedroom window. When you get up look out the window, if the rock is wet it's raining. OK go ride. if the rock is swinging it's windy. Ok go ride. If the rock is white, it's snowing. Ok go ride. Get the idea;-)
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Old 12-03-07, 12:21 PM   #18
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I use my local forecast from www.weather.gov (especially the hourly forecast graph) coupled with a RadioShack outdoor thermometer. The thermometer is conveniently placed next to my cycling clothes so I can get a accurate temperature check before dressing and leaving...
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Old 12-03-07, 12:45 PM   #19
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The thermometer is conveniently placed next to my cycling clothes so I can get a accurate temperature check before dressing and leaving...
I hope you're talking about the thermometer readout and not the thermometer probe... otherwise you could have some pretty stiff & crispy cycling clothes this winter.
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Old 12-03-07, 12:51 PM   #20
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At what speeds do winds get dangerous? Cleveland's seeing 30mph gusts this afternoon WNW, right in the direction I'm going into (or crossing).
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Old 12-03-07, 12:57 PM   #21
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I hope you're talking about the thermometer readout and not the thermometer probe... otherwise you could have some pretty stiff & crispy cycling clothes this winter.
You got me. The probe is outside (and shaded) and the readout is next to my clothes. I may have to spring for a wireless setup (maybe even a weather station with wind, etc.) as my cat likes to chew on the probe wire, lil' b@st@rd...
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Old 12-03-07, 01:12 PM   #22
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Old 12-03-07, 01:23 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by littlewaywelt View Post
If you simply ride regardless it won't matter if the reports are inaccurate.
In addition to weatherchannel, you can also look at weather reporting from accuweather and weatherunderground.
I was about to do the same. But I got up early and went outside to check it myself.

Not much wind until I practically got to work.
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Old 12-03-07, 01:34 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Sigurdd50 View Post
if you use Firefox, there are some good weather plugins that are very accurate for my (your) local area,
ForecastFox is one... it appears as little icons along the bottom of the window. hover the cursor over and you see current conditions.

As far as 'show stopping weather'? Wind won't stop me... but the 5 inches of snow followed by a couple hours of rain/freezing rain/sleet that turned the snow to a thick wet corn starchy-quicksand yuck did it. I had to get bailed out because... my bike (fattish tires, 26") would NOT move forward in this gumbo. The paths were not plowed yet, and if I didn't have tire tracks in the snow, it was walk or be picked up. A mess! And of course the roads are just chippy with frozen chunks now. Bleah.
I use the firefox plugins also. I am about to start commuting to work, so do all you guys ride everyday no matter what? or is weather a determining factor?
i will be commuting on a road bike with 700x23 tires.
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Old 12-03-07, 01:55 PM   #25
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At what speeds do winds get dangerous? Cleveland's seeing 30mph gusts this afternoon WNW, right in the direction I'm going into (or crossing).
Gustiness and direction is usually a bigger problem than wind speed because it can throw you all over the place. A 30mph headwind is tough but not really that much of a problem. I actually had to pedal hard in 30/26 to descend a hill this morning that I frequently go over 30 on. A 30mph sidewind is much harder to deal with IMO. The worst is if the wind speed and direction keeps changing on you.

It's a good idea to wear eye protection in high winds and watch out for falling/flying stuff as well as debris on the ground. Also, be aware that you can't hold a straight line so you need lots of extra space.

Bottom line is to pay attention and see what feels right. If it feels dangerous, it probably is. If you feel like you have things under control, just be careful, and you'll be fine.
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