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Old 12-07-06, 06:23 PM   #1
Hwy 40 Blue
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It's fun to ride when it's cold

It's been pretty nippy here in Colorado, and I've been going to the gym and doing exercises in front of the TV. Yuck. Got tired of that. Well, I ordered some way-cool thermal tights -- and thank you, Bike Forums, I used one of your coupons to save $$$ -- and went out today to try them out. What a blast. It was 38 degrees and sunny with no wind. And hardly anybody else out there! It was one of the best rides I'd had in awhile. I never got cold, and it was just, well, bracing. I found I didn't drink much water on the bike, so I made sure to drink a lot afterward.

Anyway it was really fun and I'm going to get out there more often this winter.

All that said, one day last week, the absolute nastiest day we've had, it was blowing snow and maybe 12 degrees, streets a mess, I looked down from my downtown office window at somebody riding their bicycle. Wow.
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Old 12-07-06, 06:28 PM   #2
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No its not all that fun, but 38 is not really cold. To me cold is under 20 F
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Old 12-07-06, 06:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by howsteepisit
No its not all that fun, but 38 is not really cold. To me cold is under 20 F
To me, cold is under 50. I guess it's all relative!
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Old 12-07-06, 06:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howsteepisit
No its not all that fun, but 38 is not really cold. To me cold is under 20 F
Ditto, and 0F is doable with no wind. Here's a pic from yesterday at 31F and a 15mph West wind. BTW, I ride a recumbent.

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Old 12-07-06, 06:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Trsnrtr
Ditto, and 0F is doable with no wind. Here's a pic from yesterday at 31F and a 15mph West wind. BTW, I ride a recumbent.
- you are a brave lad!

p.s. what's that white stuff?

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Old 12-07-06, 06:51 PM   #6
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I moved to Reno (typical winter day, 25) from the SF Bay Area (typical winter day, 60) about 30 years ago, and for about the first 10 years, I HATED the winters. I can barely stand up on skis, never saw snow until I was 25 years old and see no reason for temperatures ever to go below 50 degrees. Then I got tired of sitting around getting fat, and I figured out some cold-weather cycling clothes and ride pretty much year-round now. I come in when it's REALLY cold, but that doesn't happen here for more than a few days at a time. I've actually started to like winter riding, too, if only because it lets me feel superior to people who don't do it.
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Old 12-07-06, 07:17 PM   #7
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Rode to work yesterday afternoon. Had a WSW wind on my S to N route (40 degrees). My ride home at 8pm had a WNW wind helping me go South (30 degrees). Completely dry. Pleasant ride. This morning was 20's with icy roads.....forget it...drove to work.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:21 PM   #8
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Vancouver, BC doesn't get too cold, maybe around 0 deg C although a couple weeks ago we had a cold spell with snow, down to about -10C (what's that, maybe 10-15 F?). I like to commute to work by bike whenever I can, but fortunately most of the snow came on the weekend, and my work required me to use the car while the bike route side streets were blocked with snow. The Bike Commuter Forum had some interesting threads on commuting in the cold. Basically, the hardcore commuters enjoy it because it is invigorating, because the Multi-Use Paths are devoid of people getting in their way, and because it shows that they belong to an elite class of ubercyclist, especially when they are manly enough to ride in shorts in the 30's F. That'll show those wimp bike racers...

Anyway, I like riding in any condition, especially a hard, driving rain. But I don't really like riding in the wet snow of the Pac Northwest. It compresses easily and turns to ice and deflects your front wheel, or causes your back wheel to slip and the bike gets sideways, especially going up hills. It's fabulous for learning advanced bike control. I used to think that anytime the front wheel slipped you'd go right down. But a few times on wet, slushy streets, I had the front wheel slide on me and I was able to catch it and keep from going down, so there is some skill development happening here.

As DG says, it's all relative. I'm sure anyone living in San Diego or Florida could get used to riding in 10F conditions, especially in the sections of North America removed from the coast, where the snow is dry and packs nicely and you can actually ride on it without the bike going sideways. Dry air feels much warmer than wet air, and the snow squeaks as you go over it to let you know how little lubrication it's holding, so you're not inclined to slide too much. When winter arrives, the first couple of rides feel cold, but then the body gets used to it and ever'thang is just fine.

- L.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:30 PM   #9
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There's no such thing as bad weather, there's only bad clothes!!
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Old 12-07-06, 10:15 PM   #10
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The actual air temp here this morning was 5 degrees F, with a wind chill factor close to -10. Much colder yet on a bike. Yet there were a few students biking in. Not much stops the more dedicated ones.
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Old 12-07-06, 11:25 PM   #11
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There are a few Canadian members here that ride in -40 C on a regular basis.
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Old 12-08-06, 01:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manybikes
There are a few Canadian members here that ride in -40 C on a regular basis.
And I ain't one of 'em. The coldest I've ever been in was about -26C in the dry interior of BC. At that temperature, it's hard to even breathe. They cancel xc ski races at -18C. For all you Fahrenheit Nazis out there, I seem to recall that both C and F are equal at -44, so I can't imagine what -40C would be like.

I once did an xc ski race at -17 and developed 2nd degree frostbite on my ears. Another time I made the mistake of doing a free technique (skate-skiing) race at around -20C. At that temperature, the snow is like concrete; that's what it feels like to the skis. You get very little glide. But the worst part was this: I was not wearing wind briefs. About halfway thru the 30km race, I had to take off my neck warmer and stuff it down the front of my tights to prevent los cojones perditas porque son muy frios. You get the idea, heh, heh...

- L.
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Old 12-08-06, 01:59 AM   #13
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i hate to be one who rains on the parade. Cold here in California and Roussillon is under 50 degrees. Glad I live there. I will ride under 50, but sun worhsipers can be cyclists too. My impressions, snot running down your bakalava, I prefer cycling shorts with a short sleeve jersey. But, have the clothes never the less, just in case will be happy to join you artic fans; should such be necessary. How can one get a cycling tan in cycling tights.
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Old 12-08-06, 06:34 AM   #14
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I look out the window, it's 14 degrees, windchill is zero, it's been snowing now for 24 hours and it's still snowing. I see blowing snow flying off of the houses, the streets are icy. No way in hell am I getting on a bike and going out in that.
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Old 12-08-06, 06:46 AM   #15
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I can't bring myself to get out on ice and snow covered roads. But I've pretty well got the clothes figured out how to get it done comfortably well below freezing. I think the single digits are pretty much my limit though, those temps occur here at night, but most days it's at least in the 20's which is not that bad. Upper 30's? Yep, bracing is the right word.
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Old 12-08-06, 06:49 AM   #16
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- 40C??

No way one should ride in -40 C which is the same as -40F. The bike itself likely wouldn't operate peoperly. Those temps are "quick death" temps. See the safety table below.




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Old 12-08-06, 08:05 AM   #17
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I definitely enjoyed my ride home from work yesterday. It was 10F, I was wearing seven layers above and four layers below and was snug as a bug. Only me nose 'n toes be froze.
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Old 12-08-06, 10:25 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
To me, cold is under 50. I guess it's all relative!

BUt we all know what kind of wuss Southern Cali folks are. first winter I lived there it got down to about 40 one night, and I saw many people driving to work in Down Coats!
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Old 12-08-06, 11:11 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by howsteepisit
BUt we all know what kind of wuss Southern Cali folks are. first winter I lived there it got down to about 40 one night, and I saw many people driving to work in Down Coats!
Uh huh, and your point is???
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Old 12-08-06, 11:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbernhardt
And I ain't one of 'em. The coldest I've ever been in was about -26C in the dry interior of BC. At that temperature, it's hard to even breathe. They cancel xc ski races at -18C. For all you Fahrenheit Nazis out there, I seem to recall that both C and F are equal at -44, so I can't imagine what -40C would be like.

I once did an xc ski race at -17 and developed 2nd degree frostbite on my ears. Another time I made the mistake of doing a free technique (skate-skiing) race at around -20C. At that temperature, the snow is like concrete; that's what it feels like to the skis. You get very little glide. But the worst part was this: I was not wearing wind briefs. About halfway thru the 30km race, I had to take off my neck warmer and stuff it down the front of my tights to prevent los cojones perditas porque son muy frios. You get the idea, heh, heh...

- L.
Is that what George Kastanza referred to as "Shrinkage"!!!
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Old 12-08-06, 04:30 PM   #21
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I fear black ice while within a car; I think it would be worse when on a bicycle. So Cal folks aren't wusses, I say. I think they are lucky.
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Old 12-08-06, 04:55 PM   #22
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I go to about 20F then I wimp out. Having said that, look on the upside of riding in the cold:

1) With all the layers and a bakalava and gloves and glasses don't have much need of sunscreen
2) No sweat in the eyes
3) Clears the sinuses out better than anything else
4) Actually less cars on the road when it is really cold
5) Fewer dogs to deal with
6) Almost no runners to navigate around
7) Get lots of strange looks from folks, oh wait a minute, that happens all the time
8) My hot tub feels even better
9) Spring riding is much easier
10) It still feels great to have the road unwinding under your wheels

I'm all pumped up for tomorrow's ride, it's about 20F right now but is suppose to be a toasty 36F tomorrow, sounds like a long ride.
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Old 12-08-06, 05:02 PM   #23
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OK, I just finished my 20 miles and it is 53F. That was just perfection for riding, IMHO.

Clothes - regular bicycling bibs, no leggings nor knee warmers. One light jersey, one long-sleeve jersey and one light windbreaker. Just a bandana and helmet on head and regular riding gloves. Open Shimano riding (clipless) sandals with white socks.
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Old 12-08-06, 08:56 PM   #24
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53 is a wonderful temp for biking. And when it gets back up to that temp come mid-to-late March, I hope to be riding a lot.
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Old 12-08-06, 08:59 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclezealot
I fear black ice while within a car; I think it would be worse when on a bicycle. So Cal folks aren't wusses, I say. I think they are lucky.
Black ice is fine with studded tires on a bicycle.

SoCal folks are still lucky.
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