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Old 01-28-14, 11:25 PM   #1
CoachManny
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Commuting in single digit DEGREE Weather

I've been commuting the last couple of days in very cold weather. Not quite 0 degrees but in single digits.

Really, dress warm from top to bottom and it's really not that difficult. The wind can be a bear but definitely doable.

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Old 01-29-14, 08:18 AM   #2
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Up until this year I commuted regardless. The coldest was -25*F, I think about -40*F wind chill.

However, this year I changed my rules. If it's below about -5*F or if there has been significant snow and the back roads that I ride have not been plowed, I just drive. I just got sick of being seriously concerned about frostbitten extremities, and a couple of times on the back roads the ruts threw me all the way across a lane and I realized that if there had been a car there, he could not have avoided hitting me.

At this point I have not been on the bike in nearly 2 weeks. It's been -15*F every morning this week. I hope to ride Thursday and Friday, and hopefully we'll get back to more seasonable weather (5 to 25*F) and I'll be able to ride daily again.
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Old 01-29-14, 10:28 AM   #3
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I agree with you, Coach. Running the studded tires at reduced tire pressure is what makes my ride tougher. (Car-free for 2 years in Buffalo NY).
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Old 01-29-14, 02:12 PM   #4
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I'll do single digit C, but not single digit F.
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Old 01-29-14, 02:45 PM   #5
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I've been riding. If I don't ride my bike, I don't get to work. Which is fine; no one complains if I take a day off, I just don't get paid. So I took off one day, the week before last, when the temperature was hovering around zero F. My wife was concerned about me getting frostbite on my face. To be fair, I was trying to shake off a cold at the time and was happy to have the day off.

But it really hasn't been too bad. I've been wearing two balaclavas and my warmest gloves, and a thick wool sweater under a windbreaker. Rode in two inches of freshly fallen snow this morning, which I kinda enjoyed, but it was slow going. Even though I left a five or ten minutes early, I missed my train by about fifteen seconds.
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Old 02-02-14, 12:03 AM   #6
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Old 02-02-14, 08:22 AM   #7
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I've been commuting the last couple of days in very cold weather. Not quite 0 degrees but in single digits.

Really, dress warm from top to bottom and it's really not that difficult. The wind can be a bear but definitely doable.

Manny
I have done single digits on the motorcycle and the bicycle.

Important things to do on single digits rides are ,

Dress for it.. On bicycle and motorcycle I have layers. A week ago in 8 degrees on the bicycles, I am fighting 4 and 1/2 layers down the bottom. 3 pairs of socks, close to 6 layers up top, double ski mask, glove liners and motorcycle gloves.. Needless to say, when I come inside, I peel quickly. On my commute, I have to ride about 5 miles to the subway. But, once I am on the subway, I peel off 3 layers from up top..

Another point is to know the limit of your comfort zone. In extreme single digits, it could be as short as 15 minutes and as long as 45 minutes. But there is a limit and one must know it, and adhere to it. Other than that, it is a fun ride. The stares you get from people is out of this world!!
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Old 02-02-14, 10:44 AM   #8
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It was cold on my ride home last Monday - not exactly single digits; it was -10F . I rode home one day this month when it was colder, but that was during daylight. Monday was mostly in the dark.

It was going great - thought I was going to make pretty good time - the paths were pretty clear. Then I crossed over to the suburb of Egan, MN. Egan appparently doesn't think the MUPs need the snow cleared. Had to push my bike for about a mile and a half through 6" of windblown snow and plow chop that looked like the surface of the moon. That added at least 40 minutes to my commute.

Made it home in just over 3 hours. I was starting to bonk, and the last three miles were really slow. I was plenty warm, but I could tell that the 'cold' was penetrating a lot deeper through my 5 layers than usual.
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Old 02-02-14, 10:59 AM   #9
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Sometimes it pays to be really fat like I am. I can ride comfortably when its 15F with just my leather jacket, sweat pants with boxers, hiking boots with normal socks, gloves, beanie under helmet, and scarf. When it is 32-40F out, I ride in my fleece and similar clothes minus the scarf and possibly minus the beanie.
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Old 02-02-14, 12:35 PM   #10
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It was cold on my ride home last Monday - not exactly single digits; it was -10F . I rode home one day this month when it was colder, but that was during daylight. Monday was mostly in the dark.

It was going great - thought I was going to make pretty good time - the paths were pretty clear. Then I crossed over to the suburb of Egan, MN. Egan appparently doesn't think the MUPs need the snow cleared. Had to push my bike for about a mile and a half through 6" of windblown snow and plow chop that looked like the surface of the moon. That added at least 40 minutes to my commute.

Made it home in just over 3 hours. I was starting to bonk, and the last three miles were really slow. I was plenty warm, but I could tell that the 'cold' was penetrating a lot deeper through my 5 layers than usual.
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Old 02-02-14, 03:22 PM   #11
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My limit this winter seems to be about 20F. I'm scared my hands will get too cold too quickly, until I make some bar mitts somehow. (See my thread on that.)
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Old 02-02-14, 10:26 PM   #12
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My commute is 18 miles each way. I have commuted in temps down to low single digits. What I found out is that I cannot change a flat in those temperatures....I get too numb too fast even using a pump now (CO2 is useless) I limit myself to temps above 25 degrees now for this reason alone, it's just not worth it to be late for work or have to walk miles to a train..JMTC
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Old 02-02-14, 11:39 PM   #13
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Done it a couple times this winter, it's actually not that bad. At least, I don't have far to go so I can skimp a bit on stuff. I also don't go very fast.

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Old 02-03-14, 08:29 AM   #14
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I hope we're done with it now, at least for a few years again. That's record-low range in these parts, doable but something I can easily do without.
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Old 02-03-14, 06:29 PM   #15
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It depends on the length of the commute too. I've done commutes to -6F on my 4.5 mile route, when I was traveling 7 miles, I never went under 5F.
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Old 02-03-14, 09:19 PM   #16
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I have done single digits on the motorcycle and the bicycle.
Never done single digits on a motorcycle, but I had a real learning experience when the temps were in the 30sF. After about an hour on the interstate, I got off on my exit . . only to find that my fingers were too numb to pull in the clutch .
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Old 02-03-14, 09:30 PM   #17
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The only scary single-degree ride I had was due to overheating. After work, I rode to the other side of town to get some pet food. While inside, I started sweating like crazy...then had to ride back across town on some horrible unplowed streets, working hard and sweating even more. Cold + wet = hypothermia danger...

I guess I've learned my lesson: no more overdressing, and I now carry an extra hat and pair of gloves.
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Old 02-03-14, 09:49 PM   #18
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It was cold on my ride home last Monday - not exactly single digits; it was -10F . I rode home one day this month when it was colder, but that was during daylight. Monday was mostly in the dark.

It was going great - thought I was going to make pretty good time - the paths were pretty clear. Then I crossed over to the suburb of Egan, MN. Egan appparently doesn't think the MUPs need the snow cleared. Had to push my bike for about a mile and a half through 6" of windblown snow and plow chop that looked like the surface of the moon. That added at least 40 minutes to my commute.

Made it home in just over 3 hours. I was starting to bonk, and the last three miles were really slow. I was plenty warm, but I could tell that the 'cold' was penetrating a lot deeper through my 5 layers than usual.
Im not worthy.

The closest I've come to that was an outdoor hockey tournament in Minnesota. Water bottles froze in 10 minutes, but we were only outside for 90 minutes at a time.

Every day?

Like I said - I'm not worthy!
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Old 02-04-14, 12:21 PM   #19
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I'm finding 20s and 30s is great weather to ride in as long as you cover up your face and ears.

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Old 02-04-14, 09:26 PM   #20
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I'm okay with single digits and the occasional below 0 temps but it can be a lot of extra work. I have a dedicated "ice bike", an old MTB with heavy duty Nokians studs. I layer up but, surprisingly, not all at much and carry quite a bit of extra stuff to work. My commute is a little over 10 miles each way and if the bike path is poorly plowed it can be grueling unless I take the somewhat shorter streets route.

I usually arrive at work or at home having worked up a bit of a sweat so being cold is not the problem unless I stop.

The problem I find with that kind of temperature, especially when combined with ice and snow, is it's somewhat unforgiving so if you've had a long day at work or not as good a night's rest as you'd like you can't really "take it easy".
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Old 02-05-14, 05:01 AM   #21
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I have done single digits on the motorcycle and the bicycle.
I did 2 years in college on only a motorcycle back when my KZ1000 was the newest and fastest critter on the road.

I do remember one thing.......single digit temps and triple digit speeds don't mix well.

At least now on a bike the wind chill is mostly limited to what comes from the NNW (most of the time).
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Old 02-05-14, 09:02 AM   #22
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I did 2 years in college on only a motorcycle back when my KZ1000 was the newest and fastest critter on the road.

I do remember one thing.......single digit temps and triple digit speeds don't mix well.

At least now on a bike the wind chill is mostly limited to what comes from the NNW (most of the time).
I had that bike also, in college and for 5 or 6 years. I think it was the 1976 model - I don't know about "fastest", but I do miss that bike. Now that you mention it, '79 and '80 were a cold winters in Lubbock TX compared to this one here in Atlanta, sub-zero temperatures in 79 and about a foot of snow fell one day in '80. It was a challenge on the KZ1000. Of course I had no idea about riding a bicycle in it.
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Old 02-05-14, 10:22 AM   #23
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I'm ok with the single digits too but it's the below 0degF stuff that makes it hard. If I could use my snowmobile helmet, I could go much colder than that. But that would be pushing the limits and trying to ride a bike with a full face helmet, really not doable, comfortably anyway.
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Old 02-05-14, 10:54 AM   #24
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Today there is a LOT of snow. I really want to get a good bike I can ride in this type of weather.

Is it impossible to ride in deep snow? Never did that!

Manny
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Old 02-05-14, 10:59 AM   #25
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I agree with you, Coach. Running the studded tires at reduced tire pressure is what makes my ride tougher. (Car-free for 2 years in Buffalo NY).
NICE! Buffalo!

What do you do when it's snowing outside like today?

Manny
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