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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 10-11-04, 08:28 AM   #1
AjAx
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Winter commuting, who does it?

Over the past few months I have become a daily commuter. I have gotten rid of my '78 VW van and decided that anywhere it can take me I can pedal to. The Winter months are upon us and living in the north west where the winters get below the teens, I have had to invest in some good winter gear to sustain. While I was at my local bike shop I was wondering how many people commute on a daily basis during the dead of winter when the temperatures are well below freezing? Also, what are some of the things people do to cope with the cold?
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Old 10-11-04, 08:50 AM   #2
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There is a winter specifi forum on this board
http://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/
Check it out, there's allready a good wealth of info there.
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Old 10-11-04, 10:25 AM   #3
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I do, you can read about mine and other's exploits in the winter fray in the winter forum, just scroll down a bit, you'll find it.
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Old 10-11-04, 10:40 AM   #4
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See icebike.com
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Old 10-11-04, 12:33 PM   #5
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Icebike is a cool site. Pun intended. I love winter snow riding.
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Old 10-11-04, 01:40 PM   #6
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I do. Of course winter here just means the temps drop from the 100's down into the 80's . Seriously though I used to commute to school in the winter in Flagstaff and it was a blast. Had to carry a lot of gear though.
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Old 10-11-04, 02:11 PM   #7
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I commute daily here in Colorado, even during winter, 18 miles one way.
Although I tend to take the bus more when it snows or is really icy for safety reasons and when the sun goes down, also for safety reaons.. Last year I stuck strictly to my road bike without problems or falling (they use Magnesium Chloride on the roads out here instead of rocks and salt which is nice)

This year I'm going to invest in a good pair of windbreak tights like the PearlIzumi Amphib tights. I usually don't commute around 10-degrees or so cause it's always 10 degrees colder on the bike than the air temperature. Often times when I commute my water bottle will freeze up. not solid, but ice crystals will be throughout the water at the end of my 1-hr commute. Biggest problem is getting flat tires, cause it will cool you down when you stop.

Also, here's a tip. if you are caught offgard on really cold and windy days, you can use sandwich bags on your feet as windstops. works great... just put them over your socks and inside your shoe.. keeps the chill out.

Here's a list of my gear. I dress in layers and componentize my gear to switch up the combination of gear depending on how cold it gets so I may not use all together:

Skin-tight base layer shirt, like a sleeveless polyester. ( $10 @ Target )
Alpine Design Long sleeve shirt. ( $20 )
Fleece Neck Gator
Sunglasses
Ski gloves or Fleece liners combined with neoprese bike gloves
PolyPro or Silk long johns
Knee Warmers
Bib shorts
Performance Toesties (going to upgrade to some full shoe covers)
Pearl Izumi Vagabond jacket ( I love this jacket, use it all year around, has detachable sleeves )
PolyPro long socks.

Yeah, the gear is not pro-racer setup, i'm on a budget, so the gear pieced together and works good. I usually am sweating and warm during the ride.. and this year, i got bulletproof tires (Bontrager RaceLite hardcase ) so no stopping!




Quote:
Originally Posted by AjAx
Over the past few months I have become a daily commuter. I have gotten rid of my '78 VW van and decided that anywhere it can take me I can pedal to. The Winter months are upon us and living in the north west where the winters get below the teens, I have had to invest in some good winter gear to sustain. While I was at my local bike shop I was wondering how many people commute on a daily basis during the dead of winter when the temperatures are well below freezing? Also, what are some of the things people do to cope with the cold?
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Old 10-11-04, 02:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AjAx
Winter commuting, who does it?
Everyone!
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Old 10-11-04, 10:11 PM   #9
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I have been winter commuting For over 20 year .I live in ohio . Where the winter can get realy bad . The good news is there is less people on the roads in the winter.
The bad news is the rodes get realy bad .
Have fun . thanks
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Old 10-12-04, 11:12 AM   #10
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Ski goggles.
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Old 10-12-04, 11:21 AM   #11
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I know I do. Though its very similar to the sentiments of our friend from Arizona. Winter here is at the worst in the high 50's, with drizzling rain. Nothing a jacket and a scarf cant help with.
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Old 10-14-04, 12:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericmorin
Also, here's a tip. if you are caught offgard on really cold and windy days, you can use sandwich bags on your feet as windstops. works great... just put them over your socks and inside your shoe.. keeps the chill out.

Here's a list of my gear. I dress in layers and componentize my gear to switch up the combination of gear depending on how cold it gets so I may not use all together:

Skin-tight base layer shirt, like a sleeveless polyester. ( $10 @ Target )
Alpine Design Long sleeve shirt. ( $20 )
Fleece Neck Gator
Sunglasses
Ski gloves or Fleece liners combined with neoprese bike gloves
PolyPro or Silk long johns
Knee Warmers
Bib shorts
Performance Toesties (going to upgrade to some full shoe covers)
Pearl Izumi Vagabond jacket ( I love this jacket, use it all year around, has detachable sleeves )
PolyPro long socks.

Yeah, the gear is not pro-racer setup, i'm on a budget, so the gear pieced together and works good. I usually am sweating and warm during the ride.. and this year, i got bulletproof tires (Bontrager RaceLite hardcase ) so no stopping!
Very nice list of clothing and I'd add a couple to this:

Pearl Izumi Balaclava
R.E.I. has a really nice turtleneck base layer shirt called MTS (moisture transport system). It's thin and is fabulous for layering.
I'm a big advocate of piecing togther the clothing from different sources. Keeps down the cost that way.

For the bike, if you don't already have them get fenders! It isn't the rain that gets you wet so much as the spray from the tires on wet roads.

I used to live in the Portland/Vancouver area and it's wet there as you well know. It also snowed occasionally and I rode in that too. Now I'm in the Sacramento area. Not as cold, nor as wet, but we've got a lot of fog in the wintertime. Use lots of reflectors, lights, and reflective tape. Better to be seen than to be part of the front end of a Buick.
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Old 10-14-04, 08:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericmorin

Skin-tight base layer shirt, like a sleeveless polyester. ( $10 @ Target )
Alpine Design Long sleeve shirt. ( $20 )
Fleece Neck Gator
Sunglasses
Ski gloves or Fleece liners combined with neoprese bike gloves
PolyPro or Silk long johns
Knee Warmers
Bib shorts
Performance Toesties (going to upgrade to some full shoe covers)
Pearl Izumi Vagabond jacket ( I love this jacket, use it all year around, has detachable sleeves )
PolyPro long socks.
I'm so glad I live in California I just bust out the tights, long-sleeved jersey and windbreaker (maybe a heavier windbreaker if it hits below 55 degrees). Right now we're experiencing Indian summer so it's been in the mid-high 80's all week so I'm still in my shorts, sleeveless jersey and Shimano sandals. Yes, I'm gloating!
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Old 10-14-04, 08:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ya Tu Sabes
Ski goggles.
Not Ski goggles.. Welding Goggles! ( "I want my 2 dollars!" )
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Old 10-14-04, 09:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbreezer
I'm so glad I live in California I just bust out the tights, long-sleeved jersey and windbreaker (maybe a heavier windbreaker if it hits below 55 degrees). Right now we're experiencing Indian summer so it's been in the mid-high 80's all week so I'm still in my shorts, sleeveless jersey and Shimano sandals. Yes, I'm gloating!


Yeah, yeah.. must be nice no one has never really lived until you have to scrape the ice off the water bottle nipple to drink from it... My friend and I used to go jet skiing in the dead of winter out here.. we'd ride on a partially frozen lake, and jump onto the ice with the skis and break through. We wore dry suits of course.. and we had to take our life jackets off in the water, cause the buckles would freeze up out in the air. those were the days
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Old 10-14-04, 09:14 AM   #16
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we'd ride on a partially frozen lake, and jump onto the ice with the skis and break through.
that's brave!

AjAx-- I used to ride 20 minutes to school in the dead of winter in Alaska. I was fine as long as I wore mittens. On a bike you've got a built-in heater... your own metabolism. Now I live in warm-land, and it rains here. I'll take snow over this crap any day; being wet sucks.
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Old 10-14-04, 09:30 AM   #17
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I commute all year round in most weather here in Colorado. I manage to combine bike gear with some of my ski gear to be nice and toasty, though this year I also need to pick up a pair of windbreak tights and a better pair of shoe covers.

If you're dressed right, it's really no problem. FWIW, I use a Surly Cross-Check with 700x28 Armadillos in the summer and 700x32 knobby tires in the winter. Haven't had reason yet to need studded tires - snow melts pretty quickly down here, so not much ice.
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Old 10-14-04, 08:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerewa
Now I live in warm-land, and it rains here. I'll take snow over this crap any day; being wet sucks.
Yeah - when I moved from Minnesota to Massachusetts I learned that winter is actually MUCH worse when
it's a few degrees warmer. Constant freeze-thaw turns everything to ice. A colder winter means that snow
stays snow, which is much easier to deal with than slush and ice.

I spent the last few years in Denver/Boulder. Denver does not have any winter to speak of.
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Old 10-16-04, 01:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Constant freeze-thaw turns everything to ice. A colder winter means that snow
stays snow, which is much easier to deal with than slush and ice.
With winter temps that seem to hover just above freezing, I too have learned to deal with icy commutes in the a.m. My pre-dawn highway commute is a bit more adventurous in the winter, but thanks to my studded tires and plenty of layering, I enjoy year around cycling.
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