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  1. #1
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    Fat guy wanting advice in riding during winter conditions

    I'm a newbie and started riding a couple of weeks ago. I'm a morbidly obese guy who decided to start losing weight. My bike is a Specialized Hardrock with the front shock. The tires I have are some knobby thingys. I do not have access to studded tires or the money to get studded snow tires.

    It has snowed last week pretty good and the roads are covered in snowy ice that has been plowed. I'm assuming that the roads will be substandard for the next week or two at the least. I will only be biking on flat level straight roads near my house, no hills or curves.

    HOw safe is it to go biking? What should I expect if I decide to go riding? Any tips for winter riding? Is it just best not to risk it?

    If I was a small guy, I wouldn't worry so much but being 350+, it is a lot scarier thought falling down.

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    Well there are certain data missing that are critical for our analysis...

    What is your primary purpose for cycling?

    I mean are you cycling mainly for exercise, recreation, or for commuting purposes?

    If you don't have to go outdoors, then just use your bicycle as a trainer inside, if it's just for exercise.

    If you're commuting and you just have to leave your home via bicycle, then we would have to have that information submitted.

    Otherwise, you could just as easily catch a cab, a bus, or drive.

    So just what is your situation?

  3. #3
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    I am riding purely for exercise. I don't have a trainer stand or whatever those things are and I don't have any money to buy one. Biking for me is the first type of exercise that has appealed to me in the least. I don't walk, run, jog, whatever because normally I hate exercise. I enjoy riding and seeing just how much I can beat the last ride.

  4. #4
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry much about falling down. Just don't ride in icy snowy conditions in the winter.

    What you should be concerned about riding in the winter is dressing appropriately. Don't dress like you normally would. Wear synthetics or wool. Dress in layers. Dress so that you're a bit chilly when you start, you'll warm up soon enough. Peel off or put on layers as needed. Don't wear constrictive clothing to include socks.
    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

  5. #5
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
    I'm a newbie and started riding a couple of weeks ago. I'm a morbidly obese guy who decided to start losing weight. My bike is a Specialized Hardrock with the front shock. The tires I have are some knobby thingys. I do not have access to studded tires or the money to get studded snow tires.

    It has snowed last week pretty good and the roads are covered in snowy ice that has been plowed. I'm assuming that the roads will be substandard for the next week or two at the least. I will only be biking on flat level straight roads near my house, no hills or curves.

    HOw safe is it to go biking? What should I expect if I decide to go riding? Any tips for winter riding? Is it just best not to risk it?

    If I was a small guy, I wouldn't worry so much but being 350+, it is a lot scarier thought falling down.

    Winter where I live (the UK) is probably very different to where you live so this may or may not be useful to you.

    Most of the time here in the winter it just gets cold. That is, cold by UK standards, if it goes below freezing people gripe and moan incessantly about how cold it is. We rarely get snow but do sometimes get ice.

    Cycling in moderate amounts of snow is something I've found isn't too much of a problem, much like walking in snow is fine. The problem comes when you get ice, especially if you don't see it before you're on top of it. What's also a problem is when you get ridged ice because if you hit the ridge at anything other than a right angle the wheel will try to slide along the ridge, and you can't turn to hit the ridge at a right angle because you can't get enough traction on the ice to steer. In conditions like that either get off and walk (very carefully) across the ice or, if it's everywhere, leave the bike behind.

    If you're talking about cycling in cold conditions as opposed to specifically having ice on the roads then what you need is layers to keep warm. Depending on just how cold it is you may also want something to cover your mouth and nose so you don't end up gulping icy air if you start to work hard, as that can chill your core fast. Before I cottoned onto that I almost made myself physically sick by cycling and it was only later I realised I'd been working too hard in cold temperatures and sucking the icy air in too fast.

    If you're riding for fun and exercise and can't afford the studded tyres the last thing you want is to take a heavy fall and do yourself an injury.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  6. #6
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    Alright!

    In that case, just find a school yard or some Mall or Plaza parking lot. Usually, the maintenance crews will keep these lots clean and free of snow, for you to cycle. Just plan it properly. Most schools don't open their doors until 7 am. You'll have to find out the exact time that your nearest school opens for their teachers. Try to beat that time!

    If teachers are allowed entrance at 7am then you must leave at 6:50 am. The goal is to get you onto the snow-free lot for a minimum of at least one hour of riding time per day, during the week. During the weekend (on Saturday), you'll put in 100 minutes of riding time. Fifty minutes in the morning and fifty minutes late in the afternoon, before dusk.

    At first, make a schedule and pace yourself. Only ride four times per week. Like maybe M-W-F and either Sat. or Sun. on the weekends. Do not ride everyday, at first!

    Sample Schedule:

    If the school opens to teachers at 7:30 am, then you get there at 5:50am. Ride in the lot for 15 minutes continually and then break for 7 minutes. Do this 4 times. When it gets to the point where you feel that you no longer have to take a break, then don't take a break. Just keep on going! Leave ten minutes before teachers are suppose to arrive.

    Once you've cut your weight down to about 270lbs and riding has gotten easier, keep riding. However, now extend your rides. Plan trips. Try to find a riding buddy for security reasons.

    Find a bicycle co-op, so that you can learn how to fix a flat, or anything else on your bike.

    Once you're working. Save up enough money to buy a really nice bike, like a Jamis Quest, or a Cannondale CAAD 10, or something. Join a road bike club and become a weight weenie, just like the rest of 'em! Take pictures of yourself now. Then after you lose weight, show your roadie club members those same pictures. Show them how much tenacity and determination you have!

    They'll respect you! They'll respect you both, for your level of determination and your relentless ability to accomplish your goals!

    Good Luck!

    PS.

    At your current weight, I wouldn't advise you to ride on slippery surfaces. Either walk the bike to the school yard or plaza, or stay home and wait for the weather to break. Always ride on sturdy ground. Never ride under slippery conditions!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 01-23-12 at 05:29 AM.

  7. #7
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    Does your bike have disc or rim brakes? If it has disc brakes, you can try the zip-tie trick for a little extra insurance in slippy conditions. Not perfect, but better than nothing.

    http://www.dutchbikeco.com/_blog/Dut...Snowpocalypse/
    Last edited by bendembroski; 01-24-12 at 03:22 PM. Reason: disc brakes, not rim! Sheesh!

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    If it is icy and you are a novice rider, you are going to fall. No question. Falling at 350 lbs? I have no experience there. Studded tires are your best bet for ice although they do nothing in snow.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    If you're riding in dark conditions, you need lights, which can also get expensive. It's no problem riding when roads are dry, but if they have ice and snow, stick to the wheel ruts. Not only will that place you where you're most visible, that'll be where the road surface clears first. If you try to get out of cars' way, it'll put you in the slippery stuff and make you more likely to go down. The biggest problem with falling isn't the landing, it's the possibility of sliding out into the cars' paths.

  10. #10
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    Hey there Bobotech!

    Have you ever driven a car?

    Do you currently possess a driver's license?

    Have you ever owned a driver's license?.....If not, you should get down to the BMV right away and start reading about your state's driving rules on the road!

    Always abide by the traffic rules, just the same as any other vehicle. Know your road signs and symbols!

  11. #11
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bendembroski View Post
    Does your bike have disc or rim brakes? If it has rim brakes, you can try the zip-tie trick for a little extra insurance in slippy conditions. Not perfect, but better than nothing.

    http://www.dutchbikeco.com/_blog/Dut...Snowpocalypse/
    Don't zip ties need disc brakes to be effective? I can just see rim brakes catching on the ties.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  12. #12
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    If it's just snow, then knobby tires can be effective. Crossing ruts requires skill and technique, practice is required. Going faster can help, but getting up a bit of speed in rutty snow can be challenging, and scary as hell. At some point, there is a good chance of falling. However, the deeper the snow, the less damage there is likely to be. The big thing is falling in traffic.

    Ice is a different matter, home made studs are possible, starting from some pretty cheap tires, $10-$15 each, but it's bit of a project, there are videos and instructions out there.

    If it's just for exercise, the good news is riding in 2 inches of snow can be a major workout, do not expect to beat your good weather times.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    The only thing that will hold a mountain bike back is ICE. Snow is no problem. I'd ask about trails in your area and ride them. Falling on the road is no fun at all! Plus all the stuff that gets sprayed up from road riding is a pain and road riding is a LOT colder than trail riding. Find some easy trails and start with them and work your way up to harder stuff as your riding skills progress.
    Riding in the woods is down-right warm. No wind.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Around here, the roads are pretty clear a day after it snows ... maybe 2 days if it's a storm. I ride if the roads are wet, but not when there's snow/ice on the road. You might want some cheap full fenders to keep the spray off your feet and back and bike when the roads are wet.
    Last edited by Homebrew01; 01-24-12 at 02:04 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Riding in snow takes much more skill, experience and judgement than normal riding.
    You need to be able to judge the surface condition and react accordingly, to correct front wheel slippage and to use brakes and steering with finesse.
    As a newbie, you haven't yet learnt to ride on autopilot and take normal dangers into account.
    You have enough to think about and your brain will easily get overloaded by extra hazards.
    Leave the bike alone until the roads clear up.
    If cycling is going to become a permanent part of your lifestyle rather than a 3 week fitness fad, then it really doesn't matter if you start now or later when the snow clears.
    The downside of a bad fall on ice with your weight are too high to risk.

  16. #16
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how much worse falling for the heavier person is, either way it's not fun and could be dangerous. If you're not comfortable riding in winter conditions, than don't. I've been riding for many years but don't feel safe riding in slush and icy conditions, I also don't like breathing in icy cold air, so I don't ride.

    If I can suggest a few things that are free and you can do every day for excercise.
    Go for brisk walks, brisk enough to get your heart rate up. I assume the sidewalks will be cleared where you live, start with 30 minute brisk walk and keep increasing the distance.
    Maybe you can walk to get your groceries and carry them home? That's cardio and weight training.
    Walk up and down the stairs instead of taking elevators and escalators.
    Most people don't think about simple things we can change every day to be more active. Even standing on the bus is better than sitting.

    I see that you're fairly new, so not sure if you have found the Clydesdales/Athenas sub-forum here. http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...00-lb-91-kg%29 Check it out, you may find information that's relevant and support from other folks.

    Good luck!

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    If you are not going to equip yourself or the bike to suit the weather conditions,
    of winter..

    Park it until spring thaw.

    snow shoe , or XC skis for exercise , then,
    and be careful walking.. falls on Ice are always a surprise.

  18. #18
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    Doh! Fixed.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Fixed.
    , vasectomy?

  20. #20
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    Well I have decided not to go riding on the ice and snow but I have gone the last 2 days. Yesterday it warmed up to around 35-37 and was very sunny so the roads were just wet, no ice or snow for the most part. I was just riding in my neighborhood and not on the main streets so I didn't have to worry about potential snow/ice hazards on the main street.

    When I did drive over the few little snow/icy patches, I just was very cautious and went slowly and smoothy and didn't hit my brakes or steer at all. There were only 3 or 4 of those small patches. When I had to turn, I made sure and avoided any ice/snow at all.

    I won't go riding if the roads have any real ice or snow on them.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
    Well I have decided not to go riding on the ice and snow but I have gone the last 2 days. Yesterday it warmed up to around 35-37 and was very sunny so the roads were just wet, no ice or snow for the most part. I was just riding in my neighborhood and not on the main streets so I didn't have to worry about potential snow/ice hazards on the main street.

    When I did drive over the few little snow/icy patches, I just was very cautious and went slowly and smoothy and didn't hit my brakes or steer at all. There were only 3 or 4 of those small patches. When I had to turn, I made sure and avoided any ice/snow at all.

    I won't go riding if the roads have any real ice or snow on them.
    Good for you, Bobotech!

    Just remember that it's very important to get your riding time in every week. Approximately, five hours per week should be fine for now!

    Don't ride at dusk or dawn and wear bright colors!

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  22. #22
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdon View Post
    If it is icy and you are a novice rider, you are going to fall. No question. Falling at 350 lbs? I have no experience there. Studded tires are your best bet for ice although they do nothing in snow.
    That's what I think too. You'll be surprised at how quickly you can go from vertical to horizontal when you hit an unexpected patch of ice. Personally I wouldn't do it because I'm already recovering from a broken hip.

    I don't know how cold it gets in Spokane but another hazard is iced over rims. Rim brakes will warm up enough to melt snow. Then the wet rim will refreeze and your brakes won't do anything at all.

  23. #23
    Mixte Power! Arrowana's Avatar
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    I highly recommend getting at least a front studded tire, it will greatly reduce the risk of you falling down. You can follow these directions to make your own for cheap.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-Studded-Tyres

    As long as you have the right tires, putting the screws at an angle to the tube as shown on page 2 will prevent you from getting cut up, and you don't need the tire liner. I've got a set of them on my cruiser, and aside from the occasional pile of compacted snow/slush I have great control.

  24. #24
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    I used to MTB riding in the winter, when I was young and I thought that falling down was funny. I'm well into middle age now, and won't go bicycling at all when the temperature drops below freezing. ...UNLESS I have studded tires on the bike, which I don't have at the moment.

    You can have no snow on the pavement (especially in the mornings) and still get frost, and not see it. Until you're lying face-down on it.

  25. #25
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    I avoid riding in winter. Here in upstate NY, they paint the roads with salt. Since my bikes are 99% aluminum or steel, salt is BAD. And its too cold out. But, I have an exercise bike in the basement, not the real thing, but more comfortable for me.

    I applaud anyone getting out in the snow on a bike. Me, I walk if I want to get outside exercise in the winter...Or XC ski, and snowshoeing as well.
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