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  1. #1
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    cold weather riding

    Took a 48 miler in about 40 degrees fahrenheight and a 15 mph wind.Is it me or is it harder to ride in the cold.I was responsibly dressed yet I never felt as strong as in warmer weathers.Recall I had an episode with my heart recently(3 stents)but I don't think it's connected as it's over 3 weeks.Sure 15mph wind isn't easy but when it was at my back I should of felt great.didn't.Well it was never exactly in front or behind,the wind that is.

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    The density of the air is slightly greater than it is at warmer temperatures. When you're dressed in winter clothing, the frontal area that you present is slightly larger than it is when you're dressed in shorts and a jersey. When your legs are covered with leg warmers, tights, base layer etc., you have to overcome the extra resistance in your pedal stroke. These small effects combine to make it more difficult.

    It is not just you, and yes it is harder to ride in the cold.

    With proper attire, you can ride in some pretty cold temperatures, but you will not be as fast as you are in civilized weather.

  3. #3
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Some also believe that the cold slows down bearings, chains, etc. ??????????????

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jiffyjam's Avatar
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    You expend a bit more energy just staying warm also.
    Remember, not getting what you want can sometimes be a wonderful stroke of luck...

  5. #5
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    Also blood doesn't flow as well when the body is colder. Blood is responsible for transferring oxygen.

  6. #6
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Let's be frank and candid, shall we? cycling in the cold just plain sucks.

    Signed, to retire to Florida.....someday.....maybe.....

  7. #7
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    I always refer to this site for reasons I'm slower in winter.... Now if I could just find one that explains why I'm still slow in the summer

    http://www.icebike.org/Articles/SlowerWinter.htm
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    My cancer updates:
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    Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    like dieting sometimes requires one to stop watching the scale so too do we have to stop watching our computers. smell the roses (or whatever)
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  9. #9
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    I know I don't loosen up as well in cold weather. That said, I still commute daily all winter. Granted it's in CA, and I rarely get below freezing. 40s are common. I know this is warm for some of you. Sorry.
    I find, depending on the temps, the following things helpful:
    Head covering. Earband, or buff, of if it's really cold, watchcap
    Hands: Mine get cold easily. Glove liners for a biy cold, full on ski gloves if it's really cold.
    toe covers
    I always go with a base layer. I like a fleece jersey, or if it isn't cold enough for that, I have one of those super-light jackets that stop the wind.

    But in any clothing, the juices don't flow as well as they do on a nice warm day.
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
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  10. #10
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    What'll I do when it really gets cold?!?

  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    So how many "Extra" layers did you put on? Even an extra lightweight windproof puts 5 mph into the headwind- and when you turn it into a tailwind- it slows that down by 10 mph.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Colder weather normally brings Rain and wind. But that cold bit. The best investments I have made are a Thermal base layer and a quality windproof that breathes and has a certain amount of wet proof in it aswell. I can ride down to about 35deg in this but wind and rain seem to take about 10Deg off the temp. Then it is time for a better waterproof and a thicker Long sleeve jersey.

    Luckily- My Full waterproof cycling specific Goretex jacket was found in a sale at a good bikeshop. 50% discount but it is a good jacket. And the warm winter long sleeve jersey is an Assos. Normally extremely expensive but last years model bought at a price just over a good quality jersey at my LBS. And on the shorts(OR bibs) Look out for some KNickers. Long cycling shorts that cover the knees. Keep the knees warm and you will soon warm up the legs.

    Keep your eyes open for winter clothing in the spring. But waterproof gloves and socks are worth their weight in Gold. I have Sealskinz and can vouch for the quality. Oversocks and a Ski mask also help in the cold and wet.

    So thats next years N+1 budget gone- and you still haven't got the clothing for sub Zero temps yet.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

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    Senior Member Jiffyjam's Avatar
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    Thermals, bluejeans and wool shirt along with neoprene diving gloves?
    Remember, not getting what you want can sometimes be a wonderful stroke of luck...

  14. #14
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    always slower because the body gets colder and it's harder to work, all the rest of the reasons are secondary to that primary truth.

    Remember beta blockers could also be delaying body's response to demands
    Hi 'o Silver away

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    I know I am slower because cold weather riding is just not as fun, but it is a great deal more fun than a trainer. The motivation to push harder is just not there. I do agree that the tighter clothing and layers just makes it harder to pedal, I can also tell you I am no longer in peak condition when the weather turns colder.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

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    The faster one rides in the cold, the more wind chill one subjects their exposed skin to.

    I ride slowly in the cold to keep from freezing. That's my story and I sticking to it!!


    Tomorrows 04:00 a.m. commute will be in the mid 20's. Bluejeans, regular socks, steel toed work boots, a "T" shirt, a flannel overshirt, a winter jacket, a hi-vis rain jacket over the winter jacket, dew rag and ear band under the helmet, helmet liner, winter work gloves will be worn to...during...and back from the job. I'll ride slow..about 12 mph, yet I'll be sweating by the time I get to work.

    This combination has worked well for me for over 20 years. It's my low-budget, poor-man, winter cycling kit!!

  17. #17
    Member hiltonhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
    The faster one rides in the cold, the more wind chill one subjects their exposed skin to.

    I ride slowly in the cold to keep from freezing. That's my story and I sticking to it!!


    Tomorrows 04:00 a.m. commute will be in the mid 20's. Bluejeans, regular socks, steel toed work boots, a "T" shirt, a flannel overshirt, a winter jacket, a hi-vis rain jacket over the winter jacket, dew rag and ear band under the helmet, helmet liner, winter work gloves will be worn to...during...and back from the job. I'll ride slow..about 12 mph, yet I'll be sweating by the time I get to work.

    This combination has worked well for me for over 20 years. It's my low-budget, poor-man, winter cycling kit!!
    I wish I had your nerve. It'll be cold here in the AM but not that cold and I'm still trying to work up the nerve to ride to work. I recently retired from a job I had for 40 years (Porsche tech / shop foreman). They took me back part time MTW 8 to noon and I started riding my bike (10 miles mostly bike trail) each way. It was alot of fun when it was warmer but now I'm getting nervous about it. I HATE being cold and the older I get the more I hate it. On the good side, the bike path probably won't be as crowded.--Dave

  18. #18
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
    Tomorrows 04:00 a.m. commute will be in the mid 20's. Bluejeans, regular socks, steel toed work boots, a "T" shirt, a flannel overshirt, a winter jacket, a hi-vis rain jacket over the winter jacket, dew rag and ear band under the helmet, helmet liner, winter work gloves will be worn to...during...and back from the job. I'll ride slow..about 12 mph, yet I'll be sweating by the time I get to work.
    Just to show it can be done other ways too (and any way you choose is fine, BTW), on this morning's 4:30 AM commute at 27°F, I wore full roadie splendor. Windfront bib tights over my regular cycling shorts, regular socks, my three-seasons clipless shoes with booties, long-sleeve t-shirt under my hi-viz hardshell cycling jacket, cycling skullcap under the helmet, and windfront cycling gloves. You'd hardly think Cranky and I live in the same city!
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  19. #19
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by trek330 View Post
    What'll I do when it really gets cold?!?
    Studded snow tires.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  20. #20
    Senior Member MorganRaider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Just to show it can be done other ways too (and any way you choose is fine, BTW), on this morning's 4:30 AM commute at 27°F, I wore full roadie splendor. Windfront bib tights over my regular cycling shorts, regular socks, my three-seasons clipless shoes with booties, long-sleeve t-shirt under my hi-viz hardshell cycling jacket, cycling skullcap under the helmet, and windfront cycling gloves. You'd hardly think Cranky and I live in the same city!
    Bruce - you are my hero when it comes to cold weather riding. I am gearing up for this Saturday - should be a balmy 40 deg F, but first time out in that cold so I am bracing myself.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by trek330 View Post
    What'll I do when it really gets cold?!?
    Don't listen to the local news show. they have a tendency to over dramatize everything, even the weather. Watch the weather channnel, keep good notes on previous experience in the cold weather. The local news show will have you over-dressing.

  22. #22
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganRaider View Post
    Bruce - you are my hero when it comes to cold weather riding. I am gearing up for this Saturday - should be a balmy 40 deg F, but first time out in that cold so I am bracing myself.
    Aw, shucks. Thanks.

    There are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, everyone's different. Not only in different clothing and cycling styles (compare Cranky and me, for instance) but also in tolerance for cold and how much... erm... "insulation" we carry. So what works for someone else, may be too much or too little for you.

    Second, I guarantee you'll get it wrong a few times. It's a process of experimentation. Me, I overdressed considerably that first winter a few years back. It was a knee-jerk reaction to having to dress to stand in a snowbank waiting for a bus. (That and flashbacks of childhood admonitions to bundle up.) Since I'd sweat through everything, I got real cold, real fast. It seemed counter-intuitive to wear less to stay warm. But that's eventually what I figured out worked for me.

    The rule of thumb that works for many (but not every) cyclist(s) is this: You should feel cool when you first step out the door. If I think I need another layer when I step outside, it's just about right. After two or three miles, you'll warm up. If you still feel chilly after this, you've worn too little. If you warm up before then, you've worn too much.

    It's a balancing act too. You'll need to retain some heat and dissipate some. What seems to work best for me is windfront stuff instead of insulation. I crank along and make a lot of heat, so I need to dissipate that. Meanwhile, the wind blocking stuff keeps me from dissipating too much.

    That said, my first winter, I used regular street clothes and by March had it figured out pretty well. I just had to factor in how breezy jeans are at speed in the headwinds, and that sweatshirts really do make you sweat.

    Go out, ride your bike and have fun. Without that third part--have fun--you'll always feel miserable.
    Last edited by tsl; 11-02-10 at 10:38 PM.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  23. #23
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by urban rider View Post
    they have a tendency to over dramatize everything, even the weather. Watch the weather channnel(
    Which I refer to as The Hyperbole Channel™. As in, "OMG! A snowflake! Quick, run to the store! Stock up on bread, milk, bottled water and canned goods! Buy it all! Don't forget batteries! Lots and lots of 'em too"

    (And onions. IMHO, life without onions isn't worth living.)
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Billy Bones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
    always slower because the body gets colder and it's harder to work, all the rest of the reasons are secondary to that primary truth. . . .
    Agree, whatever constitutes the "warm-up" phenomenon, it takes much longer to get there in the cold and some days one just never attains the conditions of good muscle action. In my experience, the 50+ thing doesn't help much either.
    AUDENTIS FORTUNA IUUAT
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  25. #25
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    Before cycling, I spent lots of time hiking year round in New Hampshire - snowshoeing in winter. I warm up slowly but some of my hiking pals wear shorts down to the low 20's F. However much we would start out wearing, we were all cool at first and within 10 to 15 minutes be up to a nice operating temperature. This worked whether the temp was 20 F or -20 F. The condition to avoid is being so warm as to perspire heavily which when your clothing gets wet will make you very cold very fast.

    I began my cycling career early in March as the ski season wound down. What worked hiking worked cycling. On the bike I use a rear rack and trunk for extra layers, heavier or lighter gloves, face mask and neck gaiter, fleece wind stopper peruvian style hat and whatever. You need not wear what's in your trunk storage but it's better to have it available. I wear cold weather tights over cycling shorts but may carry wind proof layers for top and bottom if it's very cold. For some of us who play outdoors year round, there is a certain pleasure, once you build up to it, in clean, cold air.

    This is my first year of cycling and I'm still learning as I go, just as I have every year of my life, and I've learned much about cycling here. Thanks to all for that.

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