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Thread: Record Lows

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    Record Lows

    Today on the news, record low may happen in parts of the upper Mid West and Northeast. For those who are going through this very cold weather, how low of temps do you plan to ride?

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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    We aren't going to get anywhere close to our record until Sunday, and then it's going to warm up again. My kit works down to about 0F, but I haven't tested it at colder temps or a longer duration than my commute.
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    I had planned to ride every day to see what I could take but I came down with a cold a couple days ago so until I've got that behind me I'm staying off the bike. The way our weather has gone so far though I think I'll get plenty of chances to test my resolve and my Winter gear.
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    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    Not in the NE or mid west, but here in the NW we had a cold snap a few weeks ago were it randomly was below 0f for several nights. I'm prepared for down to -20 or so until I'll prob get cold hands and feet but luckily we don't see that in Boise.

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    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    I also have gone in as low as 0F but its not much fun anymore below that. I haven't taken the bike out for over 2 weeks now.
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    16F is the coldest I've been out on the bike. If the snow/ice don't get me, I should get a chance to beat my record next week.

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    Seior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    It's only supposed to get down to -5*F here. I've ridden down to -25*F. I'm not riding today or tomorrow though due to the heavy snow that hasn't been plowed yet. The ruts mean that I can't be sure that I'll be able to hold a line, and since I ride on 60 MPH roads with no shoulder, it's just not safe. I've had ruts throw me half a lane over without warning, so I've decided to drive for a couple of days after heavy snow until things get plowed down.

    The temps don't stop me though. I did just fabricate some electric toe warmers that I hooked up to a Magicshine battery pack and tried it out at -7*F a couple of weeks ago, it worked fine.
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    Below zero is uncharted territory for me. Cold air around my eyes, glasses fogging then freezing... these become an issue when it gets into single digits. Tentative forecast for next week is -15.
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    Senior Member bloomrae's Avatar
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    15 is my low so far. We are forecast at 0-6 range tomorrow, but I'll be driving. I don't have tires for the snow and I travel some not very bike friendly roads.
    The snow is going to pile up and it's going to stay cold. I'm not sure how long I'll be driving.

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    Jeez I feel like a wimp...haven't ridden my bike since the middle of November. My kit can get me down to the upper 20's, but since it seems like that was the last time it was above freezing combined with the near constant snow cover, I haven't been riding at all.

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    Dirt junkie. SnowJob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    The temps don't stop me though. I did just fabricate some electric toe warmers that I hooked up to a Magicshine battery pack and tried it out at -7*F a couple of weeks ago, it worked fine.
    Damn, I'll take one of those!

    I've been riding every day. I think the coldest day was like -15F. The coldest I've ever ridden was listed as -23F. I'm always amazed how LITTLE clothing I need on my trunk and how MUCH clothing I need on my hands and feet. For Xmas this year my mom gave my wife and I a huge box of "hot hands" chemical warmers. I've been stuffing those things in my boots and my gloves. Thinking about maybe sticking one down my shorts next ride.
    Traitor Ruben :: Redline Monocog :: Surly Pugsley

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    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    I'm going to ride if temperature is the only issue.

    I'm with the previous posters who are worried about icy rutted craters, though. My city has not been doing so well with snow removal so far this winter, and when snow gets packed down by cars, frozen solid, and then polished to a shine, it's like riding on a six-mile long series of slippery potholes. Which can throw you a couple of feet in either direction, traffic notwithstanding.

    So I might cancel for bad road conditions or high winds, but I'm in if it's just the bitter cold.

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    Coldest weather I rode in was -28F (w/ wind chill), I use a snowboarding jacket for my upper half, normal cotton twill with a base layer, for the legs. For my feet, I do not use cycling shoes when that cold, if I do then I use zip-overs. I use either a full-face BMX helmet or a snowboarding helmet and mask.
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    I'm still pretty happy at 10 deg F. I've ridden as low as minus 5 or so. But somewhere in the single digits and below it's getting (and oohh, how I hate to say it) to be not so much fun anymore.

    Icing glasses. Bummer. Breath (and snot) freezing on your face. Yuck. It's not too hard to keep your core warm. But the hands, feet, and face get uncomfortable.

    Still, I would face up to it. But there are two things, I guess, that stop me. One is if I'm pretty sure to be dealing with a strong and/or steady headwind. The other is the snow pack that others have mentioned. It seems as though the roads are never clear when it's super cold. I guess that's because the ice just doesn't go away when it's that cold.

    But I don't do too badly. The last two (very mild) winters I've ridden straight on through without giving much, or any, thought to transportation alternatives. Such as the car.

    In more normal winters I've ridden all the time right up to Christmas or New Year. Then in January I've only managed two or three rides. February perhaps I ride a little more than I drive. By the end of Feb, it's riding season again.

    That pattern, except in the real northern climates, is not just do-able. It's really not uncomfortable at all.

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    This is the first winter I am trying to ride through. It also has been one of the coldest and snowiest Decembers around here in quite a while, but thanks to new tires I am able to get through it. So far the coldest I have ridden in is -2*F, tomorrow is supposed to be -6*F. I am planning on riding, but I make no promises. I have a short (5 mile) commute and usually the hands might get a little cold during the middle part of the ride, but by the time I get finished they warm up. Right now the only thing I am struggling with is something to cover my nose/cheeks without fogging up my glasses.

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    I was out last month in 28 degrees, no wind, no sun. Fleece pants and shell. But I could have used a headband under the helmet.
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    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    Below zero is uncharted territory for me. Cold air around my eyes, glasses fogging then freezing... these become an issue when it gets into single digits. Tentative forecast for next week is -15.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoatwoods View Post
    I'm still pretty happy at 10 deg F. I've ridden as low as minus 5 or so…Icing glasses

    Quote Originally Posted by Engineer View Post
    ..,So far the coldest I have ridden in is -2*F, tomorrow is supposed to be -6*F…Right now the only thing I am struggling with is something to cover my nose/cheeks without fogging up my glasses.
    Right now (about 6:00 AM), due to scheduling conflicts, I'm sitting out probably the most severe winter challenge I've encountered in decades of year-round cycle commuting for my 14 mile one-way route in Boston--over a foot of newly-fallen snow at 3F. My routes are well plowed, so it would have been doable on my Marathon Winter studded tires. My personal record low is about 0F.

    Nonetheless, I wanted to reply with one link and another one FYI to two recent of many perennial posts about eyeglass fogging. I cannot ride without prescription eyeglasses, and the fogging problem might have been my main obstacle to winter riding, but my adaptation has been very successful.

    One other comment, especially when suggesting various solutions for winter riding problems. I often recommend on such threads that the poster define their riding conditions, especially distance, as well as temperature to better evaluate the experience. In fact I further tout this definition from the thread ”What's the minimum qualifying distance for a cold-temperature ride?” of a cold ride, in which one’s water bottle freezes (solid), a function of both temperature and distance (time on the road). For my 14 mile commute, this occurs at about 15F.
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-03-14 at 07:31 AM.

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    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    I'm not biking this winter as my winter bike from last year has been absconded by my son. However, last year, I rode a few days in -29C weather (wind chill -39C/-38F). Regular mitts with a wool liner, helmet/balaclava/ski goggles, snowboarding pants/thermal undies, snowboarding jacket/thermal undershirt/scarf, hiking boots/mid-weight wool socks. I was fine, just dress for it.

    This winter, I've been walking in as much as I can (~4km/~2.5mi, 45-50min) and the last couple of days have been cold with -34–36C (-30–34F) temperatures and wind chills in the -42–44C ranges. Next week is forecast to be 10–15 degrees milder.
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    I haven't ridden below 18-20F, but my cold weather outfit should hold up at lower temps. I'm often a bit sweaty when I get to work.

    I was going to try today (12F with 25mph winds when I left the house) but the snow-covered roads caused me to drive in instead. I was planning on wearing my normal outfit but using my ski helmet and ski goggles instead of bike helmet and naked eyes.

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    Senior Member bluegoatwoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engineer View Post
    .... Right now the only thing I am struggling with is something to cover my nose/cheeks without fogging up my glasses.
    Oh! I've got a suggestion.Face mask.jpg

    Not a great photo, is it? But I hope it's clear enough to see. Do you recognize that stuff? It's a material that looks like burlap. But it's made of a soft rubberish sort of stuff. It think it's meant for a non-slip surface on countertops. You can get it dirt cheap at dollar stores.

    You can easily fold it so that it covers your nose, but slopes down your cheeks in order not to block your eyes, etc,. It protects your face from the wind, yet your breath passes through it pretty well. You still have to turn your head and breath out of the side of your mouth to avoid fogging. But it definitely reduces the fogging problem and keeps your face warmer.

    I wish I'd though of it years ago. Could have saved myself a lot of discomfort.

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    Senior Member Big Lebowski's Avatar
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    I went out earlier this week when it was about 10, but there was no wind or snow on the ground. No way I'm going out now with this arctic blast. No bicycle commutes for me until at least Wednesday.

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    I did an errand today in CT, it was pretty painful

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    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    Change of status for me. I'm out for the record lows coming on Monday.

    At my office, we were asked to take work home and prepare to telework from home on Monday. With what is coming (at least what is forecast in this storm), it's probably a good idea.

    I will be cheering any of you other brave souls who ride on, though. And I did ride this morning in -4F temperature to set a new low PR for me.

    Good luck to any riders on Monday. Be safe, and have a backup plan just in case. Here in Illinois, they are calling it one of the worst arctic air mass storms in many years. Take it seriously.

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    Yesterday was -15 windchill, I rode. Once it gets to single digits, it really doesn't seem to matter. It's just damn cold and you dress for it.
    It's just going to be cold, no meteor showers or alien zombie invasions predicted. I'll ride.

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    I did my first bike commute of the year today: 9.4 miles at -19F, with a windchill of -45F. Truly, it didn't feel too bad. At that temperature you really notice where there are gaps in your clothes-- even a sliver of exposed skin starts to ache almost immediately. My toes got a little cold toward the end of the ride, but it was actually a pretty pleasant ride.

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