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  1. #1
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Winterizing my Commuter

    I figured BF might enjoy this for entertainment if nothing else, so I figured I'd show some pictures from this year's winterizing of my commuter bike. Some people find this sort of thing ridiculous and that's really OK - it worked well for me last winter and I'm hoping a re-design will line out a few issues.

    First step is the tailbox, which I assembled this weekend:



    I'm not satisfied with the access cover in front, which is vinyl velcro'd down - I'll probably make a neater hard plastic cover,

    Eventually there will be an acrylic windshield in front, extending back as a partially enclosing fairing. The tailbox serves as a stable mounting point for the fairing. And holds all my cargo of course.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    I let the dogs out AlphaDogg's Avatar
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    You have a recumbent?
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    Weird spell/word check. "***" is "***". I'll never understand this computer. Andy.

  3. #3
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Fairings are not UCI sanctioned for commuting events... this will be an automatic DQ!!

  4. #4
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Fairings are not UCI sanctioned for commuting events... this will be an automatic DQ!!
    Darn. I'll have to be sneaky then.

  5. #5
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    In the front is where you'll get the most aero advantage

  6. #6
    Not safe for work cyclokitty's Avatar
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    Are you adding a battering ram to the front? That could be a fun addition.


  7. #7
    Senior Member dsprehe89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclokitty View Post
    Are you adding a battering ram to the front? That could be a fun addition.
    If you add a shovel, you might be able to make some money during the snowy season.
    infinitesimal - The amount of actual performance improvement gained from most cycling expenditures.

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    AMish hardtail = An all-black bike with no rear-suspension that is intended to be ridden on farms. It also has the ability to bunnyhop over piles of horse poop. Most also have bashguards because showing up to church with a pant leg that got ripped up by your chain is frowned upon.

  8. #8
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    I don't get what you are trying to accomplish. The best protection for you and your bike from the elements would be fenders. If you are leaving your bike outside in the weather, perhaps a simple cover would suffice. If you are worried about getting cold or wet, buy some winter cycling clothes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    I don't get what you are trying to accomplish. The best protection for you and your bike from the elements would be fenders. If you are leaving your bike outside in the weather, perhaps a simple cover would suffice. If you are worried about getting cold or wet, buy some winter cycling clothes.
    I don't understand either. the fairing maybe, since the windchill can make you super cold, but I don't see the reason for the rear box and I definitely don't understand how it "winterizes" the bike. I was expecting some winter tires and clothes when I clicked on this thread...

  10. #10
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rion View Post
    I don't understand either. the fairing maybe, since the windchill can make you super cold, but I don't see the reason for the rear box and I definitely don't understand how it "winterizes" the bike. I was expecting some winter tires and clothes when I clicked on this thread...
    This thread should be renamed "getting aero" not winterizing. Is that fairing covering a rear rack?
    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

  11. #11
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by commo_soulja View Post
    This thread should be renamed "getting aero" not winterizing. Is that fairing covering a rear rack?
    It is covering a rear rack which simplifies mounting and eases any concerns about overloading it. I'm not sure I'm going to keep it with the low profile though. My other ones were taller and held quite a bit more. I'll see how it works for a couple of weeks.

    You'd be surprised how "getting aero" can winterize a bike. In my scheme though aero is secondary. ie, if you're going to make it comfortable for winter riding, why not make it aero while you're at it?

  12. #12
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rion View Post
    I don't understand either. the fairing maybe, since the windchill can make you super cold, but I don't see the reason for the rear box and I definitely don't understand how it "winterizes" the bike. I was expecting some winter tires and clothes when I clicked on this thread...
    Well just quickly, fenders and winter cycling clothes are not the best protection since they only partially block wind and the elements. My hat's off to those hardy souls whose paths I crossed last winter, all bundled up and red faced fighting against the wind and drizzle. But to put it bluntly I was typically wearing short sleeves or work clothes. It's a matter of preference.

    The tail box is the first and in some ways the most important piece. You have to carry your stuff, preferably dry and conveniently. You've got to have that worked out before trying to design or build a fairing - how are you going to balance weight, lateral surface area or shape if your cargo area isn't set?

    I'll be bending an acrylic windshield this week and hopefully construct the front end panels this weekend. It should be more clear then what the purpose is.

  13. #13
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    You have winter in Georgia? Is that long sleeves at the beach? Let me know when your gatorade freezes solid. Twice for me last year

  14. #14
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    You have winter in Georgia?

    Not so you'd notice, although January this year was a reasonable facsimile during the so-called Snowpocalypse. But it was 10-20 degrees in the mornings through February and I often had frost forming on my gloves and windshield arriving at work so I count that as "winter". My water, being inside the warm air pocket with me didn't freeze

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Well just quickly, fenders and winter cycling clothes are not the best protection since they only partially block wind and the elements. My hat's off to those hardy souls whose paths I crossed last winter, all bundled up and red faced fighting against the wind and drizzle. But to put it bluntly I was typically wearing short sleeves or work clothes. It's a matter of preference.

    The tail box is the first and in some ways the most important piece. You have to carry your stuff, preferably dry and conveniently. You've got to have that worked out before trying to design or build a fairing - how are you going to balance weight, lateral surface area or shape if your cargo area isn't set?

    I'll be bending an acrylic windshield this week and hopefully construct the front end panels this weekend. It should be more clear then what the purpose is.
    why not just use a bike bag?

  16. #16
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    You mean like a messenger bag? Personally I dislike carrying a bag or backpack for the usual reasons, plus the aerodynamic penalty. Any kind of box is much more convenient and useful in my opinion. Just tying a bag on the rack on the other hand, you don't have a rigid shape which makes a fairing problematic, and you have to fuss with securing it, ensuring it's waterproofed and keeping up with it, instead of just throwing stuff into the box.

  17. #17
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Well, personally I ride in very wintery conditions by most standards and I'm very curious to see what WP comes up with. Once it get gets below 0, I have to wear a balaclava + goggles. Ice formation on the inside of the goggles has been a problem in the past though that seems to have been solved with better goggles.

    Don't know that I'd be willing or able to do what he's doing to his bike but a fairing sounds like it would make things both more comfortable and allow you to move quicker. I lose a lot of speed during the winter as many people do and one top suspect is increased wind resistance due to the denser cold air.

  18. #18
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    I'll also be interested to see how this thread/ winterization project proceeds. Right now, I stop commuting if the temp is below 28 F. At that point, it's just too cold for me to enjoy it. I can put on more clothes, but then it takes longer to change, etc, and it just becomes not worth it to me. If I could put a front fairing on the bike & keep it a bit warmer in there by blocking the wind, it might be worth looking at. I was just checking out zzipper fairings yesterday.

  19. #19
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rion View Post
    I don't understand either. the fairing maybe, since the windchill can make you super cold, but I don't see the reason for the rear box and I definitely don't understand how it "winterizes" the bike. I was expecting some winter tires and clothes when I clicked on this thread...
    What's to understand? Windchill doesn't have that much impact until it really gets blowing.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    What's to understand? Windchill doesn't have that much impact until it really gets blowing.
    I know that, what I don't understand is how a rear box "winterizes" a bike.

  21. #21
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rion View Post
    I know that, what I don't understand is how a rear box "winterizes" a bike.
    Think of it as a rear fender if that eases your mind about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    What's to understand? Windchill doesn't have that much impact until it really gets blowing.
    Containing a pocket of air keeps you warm, as opposed to an 18 or 20mph apparent wind which can chill you in a hurry at 20 degrees. Or even 35-40.

  22. #22
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rion View Post
    I know that, what I don't understand is how a rear box "winterizes" a bike.
    don't ask me.

    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Think of it as a rear fender if that eases your mind about it.



    Containing a pocket of air keeps you warm, as opposed to an 18 or 20mph apparent wind which can chill you in a hurry at 20 degrees. Or even 35-40.
    As long are you're wearing clothes it's not that dramatic compared to an actual temperature change. That is the problem with degree F it's a horrible scale.


  23. #23
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I think you're forgetting why blocking off wind and dead air space keeps you warm - it's not the ambient air temperature but the heat exchange from your body. You're welcome to remove the fan belt from your car's radiator if you don't believe me; after all that air isn't moving that fast and would only matter a few degrees, right?

  24. #24
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    I think you're forgetting why blocking off wind and dead air space keeps you warm - it's not the ambient air temperature but the heat exchange from your body. You're welcome to remove the fan belt from your car's radiator if you don't believe me; after all that air isn't moving that fast and would only matter a few degrees, right?
    Maybe if you think about it more you'd realize why people riding bicycles aren't car radiators.

  25. #25
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    Perhaps the core problem here is incompatible definitions of winter. It sounds to me like you're trying to windproof your bike, in a way which is compatible with your load-carrying preferences. How do you carry your stuff in summer?

    A fairing is intriguing, but on a standard winter day here, the clothing requirements are such that I'm not sure I'd notice much difference. Wind isn't much of a problem when you have no exposed skin.

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