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Old 12-13-11, 12:39 PM   #1
jlstrat
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Cold!

I'm 55 and this will be the 5th winter I've cycled through. The last two days have been in the teens (farenheit). I think it's harder work, not least because of the extra clothing layers, so I think it's OK to adjust your milage down a little. In other words, I'm wondering if I normally bike 15 miles on a nice morning, would it be OK to drop to 10 miles on a really cold morn. Or am I just slacking?

Weather conditions here in central PA have been a drag this year. Lots of rain. I rode two days last week in the rain, temps in the low 40s, and at the end of that second day, I was dog tired. Part of the problem is that it's dark when I ride in and home, and visibility is poor in the rain (plus my night vision is crapping out more each year). As a consequence, I feel more bushed after those rides. Make sense, or is it just old age catching up? I'm hoping to get some easy on/off fenders for Christmas, because part of the pain of riding in the rain is having to clean the grit off everything when you get home.

My wife bought me some Endura rain pants last year. They keep me plenty warm in temps below 30. I have to say, though, that they're a little bulky and if it's a rainy day above 40 degrees, I prefer my Nashbar rain pants. Anything between high 20s to 40 degrees, a pair of tights and a base layer, even if it's long underwear, is enough to keep me warm if it's not raining.
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Old 12-13-11, 01:03 PM   #2
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I normally slow about 10% in near-freezing weather if the winds are mild. I can slow further with steady winds or if some snow and ice are on the pavement.

Not only are layers of clothing less aero during cold weather, the air itself is denser and creates more drag than warmer air.

I factor in the weather and reduce speed and distance 10 to 25%.
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Old 12-13-11, 01:03 PM   #3
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Its ok to cut back on your mileage when its cold, but when you get home you must do 100 jumping jacks for every mile you cut back.
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Old 12-13-11, 01:09 PM   #4
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Its ok to cut back on your mileage when its cold, but when you get home you must do 100 jumping jacks for every mile you cut back.
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Old 12-13-11, 03:35 PM   #5
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Any ride is a good ride, so don't beat yourself up. Listen to your body; if you feel tired, take it easy, if you have energy to spare, then ride harder or longer. But whatever you do, don't ride to exhaustion where you can't recover or lose interest.

I'm learning quickly, that winter riding is tough, it's not easy and with all the extra layers of clothing plus the extreme conditions, it takes more effort to ride the same 20 miles then it did in warmer weather.

I'm not at the point I feel or want to ride everyday in cold weather. So if you're committed to riding through the winter, I applaud you, for your dedication and determination, that's not easy.
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Old 12-13-11, 03:51 PM   #6
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You give me 10 years and I can still remember that when I was 10 years younger-Temperature didn't bother me as much as it does now. Used to put tights on when the temp got near freezing and probably a light fleece over the short sleeved jersey and a Wind proof over the top. Waterproof if it was raining. But I have matured and know the consequences of riding ill prepared for when the weather turns nasty. Feet and hands are my main problem so Water and wind-proof gloves and socks are my main priority. Keep the hands and feet warm and dry and no problems. On the torso I now wear a base layer. I always wear a wicking base layer and the winter one is a long sleeve thermal one that keeps me warm. Legs and I don't have a problem except the knees so the KNickers get worn to keep joints warm. Tights will go on when the temp gets down to freezing or it is raining. But it is the outer jacket that is important in the winter. I invested in an Assos winter jacket a few years ago and that is like riding with a Hot water bottle. Keeps the wind and cold out but unfortunately is only shower-proof. Raining and on goes the Goretex jacket to keep everything above the waist dry.

Depends on how cold- but the right clothing when it is cold and I don't feel too restricted by clothing. It is as soon as the rain comes down that I start feeling like the Michelin man. Put the rain on a cold day and it is more layers and I am so restricted that higher mileage is out of the question.

Now put a nice steady 20mph headwind into the equation and you will realise that some of us here don't ride much in the winter.
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Old 12-13-11, 04:21 PM   #7
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In really cold weather, my treadmill mile go up and my bike miles take a hit. I freely admit that I'm a wimp: I don't ride in the dark because I don't want to end up as a hood ornament and I don't ride on icy roads...anymore. I hate eating asphalt.
But in the spring the treadmill assumes its proper place as a coat rack!
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Old 12-13-11, 09:43 PM   #8
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I doesn't get cold here in the Florida Panhandle like it does where most of you live but I still have motivation problems when it's in the 40's and grey and blowing. Mostly blowing. In the winter here it seems that there is a constant 25 mph wind. Last winter I found that my rides were gearing way back, both in distance and intensity, from my summer average.

It was downright pleasant here today, springlike, so I got in a fairly serious ride.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:09 PM   #9
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You are all truly inspiring. I am usually a fair weather cyclist but I am feeling the need for some road work. I may have to dig out the cold weather gear.
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Old 12-14-11, 07:12 AM   #10
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My speed and distance tend to decrease in winter. I try to ride throughout the winter. If there's snow or ice on the roads, I don't ride because my bikes aren't equipped for those conditions. Lately, the after-work rides are in total darkness, so winter calls for the use of lights fore and aft, another complication of uncivilized weather.
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Old 12-14-11, 07:21 AM   #11
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As you can see in the photo below studded tires and enough layers let me ride all year long. This was taken last winter. The temperature leaving the house on this ride was 8 degrees F. I had six layers up top and three on the bottom. Walking was more cumbersome than riding. It was cold enough that morning that I even put a helmet cover on in addition to the balaclava. I probably had more layers on for this ride because I knew I was going to stop and take photos along the way. In any event, with that many layers there is no such thing as an aerodynamic position on the bike. However, even with the slower rides the effort seems to remain the same.
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Old 12-14-11, 08:22 AM   #12
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Living in Florida has its advantages as far as winter riding is concerned. I don't mind the cold weather but I just can't handle it when there is any kind of a wind present. In my twenties, I was stationed in Wyoming and also spent three winter months in Greenland, and the cold and wind didn't bother me that much. I stayed in Florida after I got discharged and have not seen snow since then. Yes, I'm a winter woos and if it gets in the 40's with a wind, it's trainer time.
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Old 12-14-11, 11:54 AM   #13
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Thanks for the responses. I put the studded tires on last night. Even with the temp rising to the high 30s/low 40s I hit a couple of ice patches on the way home and it seemed smart to be ready for any more freezing cold. I did do a slighlty longer ride home, since the temp rose. Of course, half the stuff I wore for the ride in ended up in my back pack for the ride home.

NOS88's pic is great. He's almost next door to me, but it's a gas to hear from folks in other parts of the US and the UK.

Man, I had forgotten how heavy those studded tires were. Plus, they're like riding in a halftrack. We'll be in Minneapolis for Christmas and I was tempted to take my now-winter-outfitted bike, but I think I'm going to take a week of to rest.
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Old 12-14-11, 12:20 PM   #14
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I'd say it's OK to cut your miles all the way down to zero if you don't want to ride in the cold. It's supposed to be fun, right?
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Old 12-14-11, 01:57 PM   #15
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I don't have enought posts to respong to private messages, so I'll let you know I live near Harrisburg PA...
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Old 12-14-11, 02:20 PM   #16
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It was unseasonably warm here in the Ohio Valley, 48 when I started my ride and 62! when I finished.

I had the day off, but if I hadn't I think I would have called in sick and hit the road on general principle.
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Old 12-14-11, 02:55 PM   #17
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Questions on this topic:
1. Is winter riding time well spent, ie does it make a big improvement in your riding as the year progresses?
2. Does winter riding make you a tougher rider?
3. I gather many riders are more modest in their expectations during the winter, and tend to ride slower shorter rides. Is this a fair statement?
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Old 12-14-11, 03:11 PM   #18
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Questions on this topic:
1. Is winter riding time well spent, ie does it make a big improvement in your riding as the year progresses?
2. Does winter riding make you a tougher rider?
3. I gather many riders are more modest in their expectations during the winter, and tend to ride slower shorter rides. Is this a fair statement?
1.Is winter riding time well spent, ie does it make a big improvement in your riding as the year progresses?

For me, yes. Two days a week of solid exercise will maintain my existing fitness level and help me avoid weight gain. Three days allows small progress towards better fitness. Two weeks off is a setback and taking the winter off would be a disaster.

2. Does winter riding make you a tougher rider?

No, but you will learn to dress properly and to be prepared for darkness. A well-prepared & reliable Touring, Cyclocross or MTB with studded tires will improve safety if you live in the snow-belt.

3. I gather many riders are more modest in their expectations during the winter, and tend to ride slower shorter rides. Is this a fair statement?

Yes, the added bulk of dressing in layers will add to the effort.
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-14-11 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 12-14-11, 03:58 PM   #19
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Thanks Barrettscv and Dudelsac for the questions/responses. One thing that I sometimes forget is that as long as I'm still riding, it doesn't matter if in cold weather I don't get 150 miles in for the week. Last year on a 10 degree day I pushed to get extra miles in and a hill climb and that was just dumb. Tell ya, though, I'm not doing snow this year. Drivers just panic and I could choose to ride roads with less traffic, but the truth is that a ride to work is going to involve riding through at least some high traffic roads. Better to just hit the trainer and burn some calories that way.
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Old 12-15-11, 07:22 AM   #20
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The matter of getting some riding would seem the best view. As JohnV said in Florida we do not have much worry. We are further North than John here but it is just some cold days ~25F in the mornings and up to the high 40F during January and February. Never prolonged and many times like this week with lows in the upper 60F and lows in the high 50F. Layers do the trick for us but I am a cold weather wimp from all these years in construction and working no matter what the weather. Never had to go through what you guy do, even boot camp in January in South Carolina was not too bad, even had a few snow days!

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Old 12-16-11, 12:04 PM   #21
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I certainly can't ride as far in the winter as I do in the summer. I switch from a road bike to a single speed 29'er with 55 mm studs. I've got lots heavier boots and clothing on. Half the distance of a summer ride with all that is a plenty good workout. I don't think any winter ride is a waste -- you can sure tell who was riding over the winter when April comes around!
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Old 12-17-11, 07:25 AM   #22
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I still commute in winter. I like the fitness to stay up. The Saturday club rides disappear. My buddies don't ride as much outdoors in the winter. But we have only had one day around +14* F. here so far. It even got into the 50's this week.
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Old 12-17-11, 07:45 AM   #23
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I still commute in winter. I like the fitness to stay up. The Saturday club rides disappear. My buddies don't ride as much outdoors in the winter. But we have only had one day around +14* F. here so far. It even got into the 50's this week.
Right now it is 30F and in an hour the Yellow lot ride starts, I'm told, no matter how cold it is. I'll be there.

Why, I'm not sure.
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Old 12-18-11, 09:19 AM   #24
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31 frosty miles. Booyah.
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Old 12-18-11, 09:45 AM   #25
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The plan was to winterize my all season bike and install the studded tires last week, but a mild dose of pneumonia interfered with the plan.
Hopefully, next week i'll get that done and be ready for another winter of riding.
I love riding in the cold.
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