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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 01-19-05, 09:43 AM   #1
JohnBrooking
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Another First! :(

This morning, for the first time ever (I think, and granted it's only been 2-1/2 years), I turned around and gave up. Our outside thermometer said -10 F when I first got up; the car indicated an outside temp of +4 by the time I drove in. I got about 1 mile out biking, my hands were freezing, and I had discovered my shifters were hardly working. By the time I got back home, my hands hurt, and I almost passed out from the exertion.

I have ridden in this temperature before, and not done too badly (~5 mi. each way, stopped once to warm up), but I had three factors all working against me this morning:
  1. Last year, I had nice bulky gloves that were big enough to wear a knit wool sub-layer on the really frigid days. Sadly, I lost those a few months ago. The new pair is not big enough for two layers, and this morning I proved that the one layer themselves are not enough in this temperature.
  2. I think the problem with my shifters is that I failed to clean the chain after last week's trips, and probably the slush and stuff froze things up, both temperature-wise and from grit. I've got to start taking better care of my chain!
  3. I'm just getting over a minor cold, so probably my energy and stamina are not yet back up to par.
So I drove the mini-van in, and to add insult to injury, I turned on the seat-warmer!

At least now I can say I know my limits, despite what some people might think to the contrary!
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Old 01-19-05, 10:38 AM   #2
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There is a difference between crazy and stupid. You are just crazy.
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Old 01-19-05, 11:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
There is a difference between crazy and stupid. You are just crazy.
Thanks, I guess.

Hey, it must have been cold up there in Montreal this morning! So are you crazy, stupid, or did you drive too?
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Old 01-19-05, 11:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by AndrewP
There is a difference between crazy and stupid. You are just crazy.
where does stupid crazy fall in there?

Man, to me 40F is cold! I ride in 40F, but if it's below that I end up taking the short way to work. I get all the same looks from motorists and coworkers as you guys that ride in snow, ice and below 0F temps. Some people think 40F is too cold to even walk from car to office. We're a little spoiled here in Cali....
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Old 01-19-05, 12:08 PM   #5
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Here in Boston metro area, I get out when I can over 40 degrees F, sometimes a little less, but I'm not a commuter (my commute is about 35 miles each way).

Yesterday, I was driving home. It's gettign dark, it's about 5 degrees F and falling, and with a stiff breeze (I think there was an official windchill advisory out). And this guy bikes past me at a light. Man, was I impressed! Not impressed enough that I would go for a ride, but still.... that's ballsy (or maybe stupid).

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR...............
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Old 01-19-05, 01:10 PM   #6
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At least you tried.
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Old 01-19-05, 01:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by billh
At least you tried.
Yep, and I feel fine about it. I've already proved to myself (last year) that I can do it when properly prepared, and now I've proved that I can recognize when I'm not, and not let my ego push me into doing something really stupid.
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Old 01-19-05, 04:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
Hey, it must have been cold up there in Montreal this morning! So are you crazy, stupid, or did you drive too?
I havent been able to commute by bike from 1 Dec to 1 Apr for the last 8 years as I have to cross the St Lawrence river. They close the sidewalk/bikepath on the bridge - something to do with snow removal problems. The cold in the winter never bothered me as much as the rain in the summer.
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Old 01-19-05, 08:56 PM   #9
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By the way, AndrewP, I grew up on the banks of the St. Lawrence a bit upstream from you, Massena, NY, across from Cornwall, ON. So at least I'm used to these temperatures, although I never did any winter cycling at the time!
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Old 01-19-05, 09:15 PM   #10
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You did the right thing. Having a cold just makes everything feel worse too. In a couple of days you can do it while looking like a Christmas tree.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 01-19-05 at 09:16 PM. Reason: incomplete
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Old 01-19-05, 10:38 PM   #11
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You've got seat warmers?
I've quit going out below 10F, I fudge it with 12F-7 F, but keep an eye on the late night temp, since I leave work after midnight. When the weather here gets in the mid teens to tweenties, I get out and ride. Tonight there's snow, snow tomorrow, and Friday! I love the snow, hope it's more than a half inch.
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Old 01-19-05, 10:40 PM   #12
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Jazzy, any chance that guy was on a green and red mountain bike with a Bruins neck gator? Probably not, but a guy can hope.

Anyhow, find your own level.
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Old 01-20-05, 01:34 AM   #13
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One can always dress for it. The question is whether it's worth it for you. You can buy "choppers" ,huge honking leather mits, inside of which gloves can fit, or even the latest gear that will be used to scale Everest. If you'll only use it once each year, you might want to skip it. If riding in the bitter cold doesn't appeal to you, you should skip it for that reason. I rather go the other direction, and get to the point where I can ride in any weather, because I want to become carfree.
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Old 01-20-05, 01:45 AM   #14
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I'm looking at 35F temps tonight and tomorrow and just happy I can get out. I won't man up unless it's at least 20F.

Good on you for trying.
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Old 01-20-05, 11:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostontrevor
Jazzy, any chance that guy was on a green and red mountain bike with a Bruins neck gator? Probably not, but a guy can hope.

Anyhow, find your own level.
I don't remember the details, but it was on Route 62 in Burlington.
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Old 01-20-05, 11:10 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naisme
You've got seat warmers?
I was referring to my car.

However, that would be a great idea for bikes. Although heated gloves and boots would be even more useful. I'm sure someone must make those, but that's another thread.
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Old 01-20-05, 06:51 PM   #17
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Nope, wasn't me. I live and work in Boston. I'm rarely outside the inner metro (Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, etc.)
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Old 01-20-05, 10:16 PM   #18
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Actually I was making a sarcastic remark about your being in a car, and needed seat warmers. I think seat warmers are like Military Intelligence. But I'd rather you mention that you have seat warmers and not the flip down 15 inch TV screen in the back for the kids while you drive the Escalade... I'm venting... I had a near miss with the company vehicle and 8 patients... D'oh stupid drivers...
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Old 01-20-05, 10:23 PM   #19
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I did that too one day last year (last month dec Don't feel bad. Best thing to do is just head back and chalk up that at least you tried and you got some work out in. The other cagers...probably didn't get in even half the workout you did.

Keep Cycling,

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Old 01-27-05, 08:33 AM   #20
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Okay, one week and one day later, about the same temp as last week, and I'm really bummed now. First time I've had the chance to ride all week due to other complicating life factors. I cleaned my chain and derailleurs last week-end, got everything in working order, found out I could adjust my gloves a bit to fit an underlayer, put on the long underwear, I'm over my cold, I ate breakfast first, and I even put on the Christmas lights that 2manybikes sent me recently. (Thanks, 2many!) I'm all set!

The first time I try to stop, I have to press hard on the front brake, which seems to be frozen. After a second or so it applies, then won't come off. Sure 'nuff, it's frozen. Aaaaah!! Back to the house, back in the car. *****.

I think there's water in the works from when I washed it last week-end, and it didn't dry sufficiently before I put it back out on the front porch afterwards. Another lesson learned.
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Old 01-27-05, 09:38 AM   #21
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enjoy them.

Lots of little things come up. One by one we all learn the hard way about that type of stuff.

In addition to what just happened,- when it's below freezing :

If you are riding in a couple of inches of snow, the front brake will become useless anyway. It may not be from the washing. The snow gets carried up onto the brakes and turns to ice, if it's cold enough. It just keeps happening. Don't worry about it until you get to the road or out of the snow then you can clear the brakes. The good part is that in snow you (hopefully) don't go too fast. Another good thing is that the front wheel usually clears the way for the back wheel and not so much snow gets on the back brake, your back brake should be fine. If it's easy to do and you have a long way to go in the snow you might want to release the brakes and get them out of the way for a while. Just remember to fix them when you need them. !!!!!
Don't take my word for it, test the back brake to be sure.

If the bike is snowy, if you bring it in the house, it must stay inside until it is dry. Otherwise the snow turns to water and then freezes when you go outside. If it's not frozen up, keep it outside. You may get a frozen cable for example.

If the bike is NOT snowy, but completely,say,10 degrees.-When you bring it in the house it will get covered with water from condensation, and freeze when you bring it back outside. You need to keep it out, or inside until it is dry completely. (Overnight).

If the bike has been inside and is room temperature, and you go out into the deep snow,The snow will turn to water when it hits the warm bike and then turn to ice, until the bike is cold. This is only at first.
If you have time, leave the bike outside for a while before you ride.

I can't remember for sure John. I think I read that this is your first year, all winter commuting, you’ll get this all down for next year. Press on!

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Old 01-27-05, 01:29 PM   #22
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John... imagine that on a UNICYCLE!

Heh... I get cold THINKING about you coming in on your bike.

Jeremy

BTW, thanks for referring me to this site!
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