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  1. #26
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    Remember Chef, your number one objective is to stay dry in the first place. Don't put on so much clothing that you start sweating. You'll regret it. Keep the on bike clothing to a minimum and you'll love the trip immensely. Put on layer after layer and you'll hate yourself for it in the long run. You don't have to dry anything out that doesn't get wet. Sure it will get damp. Heck the first half of today I was totally dry and the temps were in the upper 20s to lower 30s and I only had a long sleeve cotton tshirt and a wind jacket where the half length zipper was not zipped up. Let the heat escape and it won't build up to the point where you start sweating. Your objective is to feel comfortable...not warm. If you feel like you do right now could you keep riding for the next 3, 4, 5 heck even 6 hours. Ask yourself that question. If you are sweating and something happens you'll start to cool down very fast, sweat is designed to cool the body down, not to keep it warm. Avoid the sweat and you'll ride all day without any problems.

    I will agree with Machka on having the extra layers for evening/overnight. Use the clothing both to keep you warm and to give you something to...heck already have on coming morning so you don't have to change clothes in the AM. Remember as a normal rule that is when the temps are normally the lowest.

  2. #27
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    Like everyone has said sweat is going to be the biggest factor especially for staying warm at night. The winter camping I've done I've always planed a complete separate set of sleeping clothes and forced myself to change into them prior to getting in the sleeping bag or more importantly forced myself to change back into my day clothes before leaving the shelter. Yes everything goes in the bottom of the sleeping bag. I use to have a lightweight cover for my sleeping bag it wasn't a true bivy but it definitely gave the bag an extra ten degrees of warmth and a little extra protection from overnight moisture. Kind of like a layering system for your bag's temperature.

    Unlike Minnesota & the Northern States, there "might" be snow but most likely you'll encounter soggy ground. Maryland is a disgusting kitchen sponge during the winter months - so you might want to take a good ground tarp for your tent and take that into consideration footwear-wise walking farther into the forest for camping but hey no poison ivy. In general Maryland salts the cr@p out of the roads yet even if the roads look completely clear there are hidden pockets of black ice (normally at the bottom of a hill). Have you thought of looking at Warmshowers? Have fun sounds interesting.

  3. #28
    Senior Member Ridefreemc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
    These are general comments on winter camping. I have not done winter bike touring but do ride my bike in the winter.

    When I have winter camped in Minnesota and the U P of Michigan in December, days were extremely short. Often set up camp when it was dark or getting dark. You will be further south with longer days, but still you are looking at some of the shortest days of the year. You will want reliable batteries. Keep your cell in a pocket inside your jacket to keep it and the batteries in it warm.

    Some on this forum have said that stoves that use a butane fuel mix work fine in teh cold, but I would not go anywhere that time of year without a liquid fuel stove. A butane cartridge, even in cold weather however can give you enough hot water for coffee in the morning if you start out with a warm canister. I have had my butane stove fuel canisters in my sleeping bag so that they are warm enough in the morning for coffee water. I am assuming you are not using restaurants for all your food. But if you are predominantly using restaurants, then maybe this is not an issue.

    If you have not winter camped before, you will have great frustration trying to get the solid water out of your water bottles the next morning - if they did not split which would cause even more frustration. If you have a good water bottle that will not leak a drop (like a Nalgene bottle), I have often taken a water bottle in my sleeping bag at night to keep it from freezing.

    Butane lighters do not work well in the cold, you may need to keep them in a pants pocket to keep them warm enough to work. I usually use a Zippo lighter fueled with white gas for camping. Matches are also good provided they do not get wet.

    I used to wear a rain cover on my helmet to cover the vents. And thin stocking cap. I eventually bought a winter helmet that is warm enough that it is also sold for skiing.

    Do you have ski gloves? A friend of mine that winter commutes has some weird looking gloves for biking that I do not know what they are called, but they look like ones that Commander Spock could wear while saying "live long and prosper".

    Have a positive attitude. When you pull out that Milky Way bar and find it is hard enough that it could break your teeth, you need to smile and say to yourself, one more lesson learned.
    Very good advice. I like the last part the best "...one more lesson learned." The reason being is that these types of adventures are filled with lessons and in fact they are just a series of them until it gets a little easier. You of course don't want to suffer too much (and of course want to come back alive), but that's okay if you do suffer a bit - and you will. Point being, go for it and enjoy the time doing something that is on the edge, and is filled with good lessons. It always does a soul some good to be outside!
    On the move!
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  4. #29
    Senior Member Ridefreemc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    I do have a down quilt that I use thats rated for 30 degrees. Do you all find that the degree in temp is pretty true to the manufacturers spec?
    No, especially if the humidity is up.
    On the move!
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  5. #30
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Vapor barrier lining inside the bag keeps the sleeper's sweat from wetting the Down and lowering it's loft.

  6. #31
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    Thank you all for the helpful advice. I really appreciate everyones experience and help.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  7. #32
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    Thinking about running studded tires ? Will they fit on your bike ? I commute year round north of Boston, MA and would not ride without them. You're more south so may not be an issue. They work well but are really SLOW. Something to think about.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
    Thinking about running studded tires ? Will they fit on your bike ? I commute year round north of Boston, MA and would not ride without them. You're more south so may not be an issue. They work well but are really SLOW. Something to think about.
    I live in Sunapee and ride year round, just rode 83 miles yesterday and am going to have over 85 today. August 2011-December 2012 I rode nothing less than 1500 miles each month. I've not used studded tires once and haven't had any kind of problems. Not even while riding with 3-4 inches of freshly fallen/current falling snow. The only problems I've had is always getting caught by snowplows right as I get to the leading edge of a guardrail...never fails. Fortunately, they are nice and wait for me to get past the guardrail before they pass me. I will fess I am further north and in drier snow and less ice so they aren't as necessary around here. Where you have ice to deal with I would agree with you totally on the need for them. Around here I just don't see ice very often...other than on the frozen lakes

  9. #34
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    The key to staying dry in winter cycling is staying dry. You get wet, and you will have a real hard time getting warm again. Always switch into warm dry clothing at night after you are done riding including a warm pair of slippers as your shoes will be wet and soaked in winter riding. Best wishes.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
    Here's the replies to an email Chef sent me a little while ago before I saw his posting on the forum. I've added some more to this that I didn't put in the email I sent to him. Yes, I see the flames already glowing on the horizon that big forest fire is heading straight for me. Let the flame wars begin.

    I haven't did any winter touring yet. I'm not the best person to ask. With that in mind I will offer the standard thoughts...

    1. Be prepared for winter. Big time on the camping side. Even though you are further south than I am you may still find yourself in the middle of winter conditions for camping this year. I would definitely want a 0 degree bag at least to play it safe.

    1a. The stealth campsites probably won't be as plentiful as they are during the summer months. This is something I have been thinking about quite a bit. I'm so stuck in the mentality of basebal dugout anymore...I know they are pretty much useless during the winter months. The footsteps left in the snow are a BIG giveaway, which is the number one thing you don't want to do. Finding stealth sites could be a real challenge during the winter months. I know I have decided that if I get out and do any kind of winter trip this year...I've thought about it, I will end up heading straight for the Appalachian Trail and camp out at the trail crossings. That solves trying to hunt down relatively snow free spots to camp out. Most of the spots I have used in the past I wouldn't even want to try to use during the winter months.

    1b. When looking for possible stealth sites on Google Earth think about where the snow might be and how that is going to influence the difficulty of getting to the campsite. Where might snowplows pile up snow...how is that going to influence campsite choices.

    2. Plan your mileage to be lower. The days are shorter. Your speed is going to be slower due to the lack of leaves on the trees, the increased air density, etc. Right now most of the time I'm riding under 15 mph while during the summer I'm usually 17-18 mph. Over the course of 4-6 hours that can add up real fast. Think about giving yourself a little benefit and having lighting equipment on the bike.

    3. Don't put everything on that you have with you. Plan your number one objective throughout the day to be...

    DON'T REMOVE ANY CLOTHING.

    If you keep that in mind you will have dry clothing for the entire trip and that will allow you to be far safer and far more comfortable than otherwise.

    Putting on everything and than having to stop and remove clothing that is now damp to wet leads to having damp to wet clothing when you go to put it back on. More than likely you will be putting that clothing on a cold, damp body and that will suck the heat right out of you faster than you could ever imagine.

    If you stay dry in the first place you will be fine. Sweat is called evaporative cooling for a reason. It is designed to cool the body down, not keep the body warm. It's a sign your body is already too warm to start with and it needs to cool itself down. Why try to warm the body up and cool it down at the same time. Stop fighting the body and start dressing smartly. You want to be cold the first 10-15 minutes. Let your body heat warm you up...not the clothing. You are constantly generating body heat. 20-40% of the calories you consume go to propel you forward on the bike while 60-80% are wasted as heat. Your number one job is to get rid of the heat...

    Unless it's a day like yesterday, 15-20 degrees, wind 20-40 mph...I don't put anything on the head other than ear protection. I want the heat that is constantly being produced to have somewhere to go to escape. The two biggest areas for heat loss are the head and the torso(behind the shoulder blades on the back). As for the torso you really need something that gives wind protection on the front but leaves the back open to ventilate. I generally don't sweat much under the arms during the winter months...at least not that I notice. It's typically between the shoulder blades. Keep the hands and feet protected. You'll probably want the booties. Right now I'm typically wearing/experimenting with a long sleeve cotton tshirt and wind jacket. Unfortunately the wind jacket doesn't have pit zips on the back so it does hold the heat in to the body. So far down even at 20 degrees I've had no trouble. The tshirt has a bit longer sleeves than the polyester shirt I always wore the last two years. Up around 40 degrees it is almost too much and I stat sweating between the shoulder blades but down at 20 I stay nice and dry. Like I said in the email to Chef earlier, since early to mid-October I have been riding at least 100k everyday clear up until a bike accident I had back on Saturday. I had 37 straight days with at least 62.3 miles. I'm out riding all the time so I see what works...FOR ME. Everybody is different and I realize that but just remember rule number one of the outdoors...Don't let them see you sweat. Rule number two is simply, put more clothes on but never take anything off...you've already screwed up if you have to take anything off...you shouldn't have put it on in the first place.

    4. Remember when riding when its snowing...stay on the snow. Granted I'm not sure if that holds to wetter snow like I have a feeling you have down your way or not. I know the snow up here(you can't make a snowball, it falls apart the second you open your hand due to the lack of moisture in the snow up here) it's vital to stay on the snow and not on the wet road surface. Wherever hasn't been plowed thus far is where you want to stay.

    5. Don't make any quick moves while on the snow and even more so when on cold, wet pavement. Just like in a car your best moves are slow, gradual moves. Sudden jerking is a quick way to end up on the ground. Ease it over, don't pull it over.


    6. Make sure the state park is open/that you will be able to get access into the state park. You might be in for a surprise, it is after Columbus Day and pretty much all state parks have closed by now in most of the non-southern states.

    7. If the fingers/toes start to get cold/don't warm up initially try going inside for a while. Let everything warm up and then go back out on the bike. Typically for me once I do this I stay warm the rest of the day. I don't know why but it seems to work quite well. I really wish I could find an explanation for this one. It makes no sense at all.

    8. Plan for long nights...your going to have them. Either plan to spend the evening in McDonalds or somewhere online and go out and set up camp when you are ready to go to bed or plan to have something with you that can occupy the long winter evenings.

    9. Test the quilt before you use it in the real world. Different people sleep differently, temp/comfort wise.

    10. Don't take batteries from a warm environment to a cold environment and use them. You will 'shock' discharge a battery VERY quickly. I learnt that lesson last year with the headlight. I was always keeping it inside the library/McDonalds with me while surfing online. I would put it on the bike and then head on towards home. I would get .5 mile from where I was surfing and bam, the light would go out. After a couple of times I come to realize what was happening. Keep the batteries cold. Keep them in the same temperature as the environment where you are going to be using them. They don't like to shocked by temperature changes. At least alkaline and nickel metal hydride don't like to be shocked.

    11 .Yeah, make sure your stove/lighter works in the cold.

    12. Yes, on sleeping with the water bottle. Sleeping with the water bottle can also help to keep you warm in the early part of the evening as well as keeping it from freezing overnight. Also, sleep with any lightly damp clothing. You can dry out the clothing by sleeping with the clothing(laying beside you) or by sleeping with it on.

    13. Don't freak out about layers, remember stay comfortable, not warm. You don't want to sweat.

    14. NO GLOVES. Pop top mittens. Preferably, wool. Generally look for ragged wool pop top mittens. It's what I wear when it get much below 40 degrees. Down to 40 I will wear fleece mittens. I only wear gloves during the summer months. When the hands start to get cold you can pull the fingers inside the mittens to form a fist with skin touching skin and warm the hands back up. You can pop the top of the mitten open to have full use of the fingers without having to take them off or having to have anything go slipping between the layers of the gloves. The pop top mittens keep the skin exposed under the pop top. You can also pump the hand...making a fist and opening it repeatedly to help warm up the hands. You can't pull the fingers inside gloves very easily. You lose too much dexterity and you also lose too much warmth using gloves. Stick with mittens. Pop top preferably.

    Some good advice, but if you get hot cycling with clothing, remove it before it gets damp.

    Do not wear cotton when cycling, it holds moisture and will make you cold.

    Another one I found when I winter camped, unless you have a tent that erects really easily (like a hillberg) if your tent is wet try and wear gloves putting it up. I put up a wet tent in winter in freezing conditions and my hands were really cold within a minute (from the water) and it tooks 4 times as long to erect with great difficulty. imaging doing that in wet, cold and windy weather with no gloves?

  11. #36
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    Thank you all for the continued advice. I think I'm doing well in the planning stage and know that if it snows (or a heavy chance of snow) I will change my plans accordingly. The snow does not bother me, the ice is a different story.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephenjubb View Post
    Some good advice, but if you get hot cycling with clothing, remove it before it gets damp.

    Do not wear cotton when cycling, it holds moisture and will make you cold.

    Another one I found when I winter camped, unless you have a tent that erects really easily (like a hillberg) if your tent is wet try and wear gloves putting it up. I put up a wet tent in winter in freezing conditions and my hands were really cold within a minute (from the water) and it tooks 4 times as long to erect with great difficulty. imaging doing that in wet, cold and windy weather with no gloves?
    Actually you have a point here on setting up the tent. It might not be a bad idea to take something like leather work gloves for tent setup during the late fall-early spring periods. Something I would not have thought about until you mentioned it.

    Funny thing is I'm wear cotton exclusively this winter up top. I don't have any trouble even when temps are down into the 20s and lower. Actually the colder he better. Once the temps start to get up around 30 degrees I start getting the sweaty back, below there I pretty much stay dry. I fess I have a wind jacket that only zips up/down part way. I always keep the zipper open unless its that cold or windy. Today I left home at 26 degrees and rode 65 miles on the main ride and strangely the first past of the ride I was sweating a fair amount...I was surprised. I wasn't cold by it as long as I kept producing the body heat. After 20 miles I stopped to go to the bathroom and fill up the water bottle and the next 20+ miles I was high and dry. I dried out very nicely. By leaving the front unzipped allows the air flow to keep things cooled down enough and I think since I have a rather flappy wind jacket that is also helping with the drying process. The only ones I could that had long sleeves when I bought mine were XL or XXL. Normally I wear either a M or L. I think the oversized wind jacket creates additional drag but it also helps to keep everything dried by allowing more wind flow.

    The secret as gpsblake put it is to stay dry. If you don't get wet it doesn't make a difference what kind of clothing you have on. You don't need the wicking clothing, you need the ventilation clothing. I will fess I'm a 40 year old and I'm out on the bike all the time so I'm in good shape and that may be helping to give me increased metabolism that helps to keep me warmer...I don't know. I just know when I listen to most people talk they totally hate the thought of going out and doing any winter riding. It normally boils down to not liking riding in the cold. I guess its because they can't stay warm...because they don't stay dry.

    In all avenues of life it's the same philosophy...Less IS more.

  13. #38
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    I do have a down quilt that I use thats rated for 30 degrees. Do you all find that the degree in temp is pretty true to the manufacturers spec?
    I don't have direct experience with quilts, but I know from my sleeping bags that the ratings are not true to the comfort level except under ideal conditions: new bag, wearing warm base-layer and wool socks, covering the foot end with a jacket, sleeping on an insulated pad, in a small tent. My kids from personal experience say if you expect temps around 30 degrees F, get a sleeping bag rated at zero degrees. Their reasoning is that over time the insulation loses its loft and provides less insulation. Be sure to pack the bag or quilt loosely when it's stored between trips rather than in a compression sack. I use a cotton laundry bag for that storage. I have been testing a 30-deg rated bag and a 0-5 degree rated bag. I'm still a little cold in the 30-degree bag when temps are in the low 40's. So, I say, go for more insulation than a 30-degree quilt if you really expect temps near 30. And get some warm base-layer clothing, wool socks, and a balaclava.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    I don't have direct experience with quilts, but I know from my sleeping bags that the ratings are not true to the comfort level except under ideal conditions: new bag, wearing warm base-layer and wool socks, covering the foot end with a jacket, sleeping on an insulated pad, in a small tent. My kids from personal experience say if you expect temps around 30 degrees F, get a sleeping bag rated at zero degrees. Their reasoning is that over time the insulation loses its loft and provides less insulation. Be sure to pack the bag or quilt loosely when it's stored between trips rather than in a compression sack. I use a cotton laundry bag for that storage. I have been testing a 30-deg rated bag and a 0-5 degree rated bag. I'm still a little cold in the 30-degree bag when temps are in the low 40's. So, I say, go for more insulation than a 30-degree quilt if you really expect temps near 30. And get some warm base-layer clothing, wool socks, and a balaclava.
    It really varies person to person. I bought, kinda on a whim, a 32 degree down bag from Walmart. The outer and inner material are of thin quality, could probably rip rather easily. I tested it out right after I bought it. All I had on was a long sleeve cotton tshirt and a pair long johns. I don't remember if I put a winter hat on or not. I went outside and spent the night outside in my side yard. I woke up to 34 degrees and other than the upper(when laying on my side) hip, the rest of me was nice and warm. I could have easily spent the night out with it at 32 degrees and not have had too much to even think about. Different people have different comfort levels, that's why you always test any bag out before taking it out into the extremes.

  15. #40
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    Wow, some great advice here!
    I am planing on doing some traveling in a week and I have a couple of questions (figured there is no point in starting a new thread).

    Do I need to worry about any bike parts freezing overnight? I am expecting anything from -15 C to -25 C ( 5 to -13 F)

    For sleeping bags: I have a -5C rated one (but I can borrow a quilt rectangle bag which I can use to double up). Do you think that is a good idea?

    Tires: unfortunately I am stuck with 32mm's, but I will be on the trans-Canada HWY so I am sure there wont be too much snow (and I can take a day or two off if its too bad)

    I did 160km ride to Niagara falls a week ago (I plan on doing 90-100 per day on my trip). Is that a reasonable expectation?

    About water: I assume snow (not yellow snow, lol) is perfectly fine, I am planing on bringing two 600ml thermoses and one of my cycling bottles which I can keep in my sleeping bag overnight.

    Just looking at the map though: I may be able to stay at warmshowers host every few days - so hopefully I won't be spending 20days outside.
    www.bikewanderer.com

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    Unless the sleeping bag is a typo I would say YES you need something better. If the temp is looking to be -15 to -25 and you only have a -5 sleeping bag. You're heading for big trouble. Ya gonna freeze your bippy off.

    As for bike parts freezing. I've never had it happened. I would say it will depend on how much snow you have falling while your out. The wetter the conditions, even snow melting on the roads the better your chances of something freezing over. Look at the bike each night and see if you have any kind real build up of salt/sand/snow on the bike. Knock/wipe it off and keep the bike clean. That helps more than anything else. If nothing is covered with salt/sand, it gets kinda hard for anything to freeze.

    The past two days I've ridden around 80 miles each day, unloaded. That's with average 50 feet of climbing per mile. It all depends on how good of shape you are. I've ridden 130+ miles on the first day of winter a few years back here in New Hampshire...again unloaded. It all comes down to your fitness level.

    While winter backpacking I've just used snow for water...not much else you can use. If you are going through towns you can fill up there otherwise you have to rely on snow. Should be plenty of it up your way.

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    sorry, i probably didn't word that right: I am putting a second sleeping bag on top of mine (I am used to lugging extra stuff where I was in yukon/NWT so it should be about the same since I don't need to carry so much food/water).
    www.bikewanderer.com

  18. #43
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iohan.gue View Post
    Do I need to worry about any bike parts freezing overnight? I am expecting anything from -15 C to -25 C ( 5 to -13 F)

    For sleeping bags: I have a -5C rated one (but I can borrow a quilt rectangle bag which I can use to double up). Do you think that is a good idea?

    Tires: unfortunately I am stuck with 32mm's, but I will be on the trans-Canada HWY so I am sure there wont be too much snow (and I can take a day or two off if its too bad)

    I did 160km ride to Niagara falls a week ago (I plan on doing 90-100 per day on my trip). Is that a reasonable expectation?

    About water: I assume snow (not yellow snow, lol) is perfectly fine, I am planing on bringing two 600ml thermoses and one of my cycling bottles which I can keep in my sleeping bag overnight.
    First of all, have you ridden in temps as low as -25?
    Here's a little story about a century I did in those temps a few years ago: http://www.machka.net/brevet/Coldest_Century.htm

    It is possible things may freeze up a bit. When I rode in those temps, I kept my bicycle inside where it was warm, and I had about 10 or 15 minutes to change into a comfortable gear, and then I had to stick with that gear for the rest of the ride because shifting was really difficult. So if you are riding in temps that cold, you may be doing it on a bicycle that is for all intents and purposes a single speed. Can you do 90-100 km/day on a single speed?

    Have you ever had to do repairs on your bicycle in temperatures that cold? That would be my main concern. When I rode in temperatures that cold, I stayed close to shelter ... commuting through the city, doing short loops quite close to the city, etc. What will your shelter options be? Will you encounter a town ever 10 km or so? Will you be able to walk to shelter if you happen to get a flat or something?

    As for the sleeping bag, if there is a chance that the temps will drop to -25, you'll want something rated to -40 or -50.

    And as for water ... snow takes a long time to melt, if it melts at all, and only produces a small amount of liquid. If the whole trip is going to be in below freezing temps, there's almost no point to bringing a bottle at all because any water you put into the bottle will freeze. You can slow the freezing process a bit by putting the bottle in a sock, but unless the temps come above freezing, the water will still eventually freeze.

    When I've done long rides in cold temps, I've planned them so that I drink quite a bit in the morning before I go. Then I stop in a town after an hour or two and drink quite a bit there. Then I stop in a town after an hour or two and drink quite a bit there. And so on until the end of the ride. I haven't relied on my water bottles at all.

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    Member iohan.gue's Avatar
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    That was a good read. I am not expecting such low temperatures during the day (just when it gets colder at night). With a loaded bike I may need to walk up some hills, otherwise one gear would be okay.

    I've never had to do repairs, but that definitely sounds like a difficult task, can't imagine taking out my tire from the rim (especially if its frozen). There seem to be towns every 10-15k for a good portion and at most 30-40km in few areas.

    And for the water: in a thermos I was able to keep it for 4 hours (and it was still warm when I finished my water), even with colder temperatures I am hoping to be able to store some water in it between towns.

    I'll definitely look into those hand warmers you mentioned in your century ride story, they seem like a great idea. (so is the cream)
    www.bikewanderer.com

  20. #45
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    30-40 km is a long, long way if you're suddenly faced with bitterly cold temps, blizzard conditions, freezing rain, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iohan.gue View Post
    Do I need to worry about any bike parts freezing overnight? I am expecting anything from -15 C to -25 C ( 5 to -13 F)
    You might have some moisture freeze where slush is thrown up on places like that little plastic thingy under the bottom bracket. But a tug on your shifter should solve that. Other than that, as long as no moisture gets into your cable housing, you should do fine.

    Road salt causes corrosion, when you get home, wash your bike down with fresh water. I would only do this with a frame that has had frame saver applied. If you have rims with a hollow section, there will be salt in there too.

    Quote Originally Posted by iohan.gue View Post
    For sleeping bags: I have a -5C rated one (but I can borrow a quilt rectangle bag which I can use to double up). Do you think that is a good idea?
    A light sleeping bag like a 40 degree down bag inside your regular bag may help instead of buying a new warmer bag - if there is room for it. I did that for a few winter camping trips until I could afford to buy my 40 degree below zero bag. Try it outside one night at home first to make sure it works for you.

    Use a vapor barrier liner if you are going for 5 or more days. Your body gives off moisture, that moisture starts to pass thru the bag to the outside - but some of that moisture will freeze onto your sleeping bag insulation. Steger and Schurke when they went to the North Pole had some sleeping bags that accumulated many many pounds of moisture in the insulation, more than half of the weight of the bag was water. A few days, no problem but my experience was that after 5 days my bag had a lot of ice crystals in it. That is why I say use a VBL if the trip is 5 or more days.

    Quote Originally Posted by iohan.gue View Post
    About water: I assume snow (not yellow snow, lol) is perfectly fine, I am planing on bringing two 600ml thermoses and one of my cycling bottles which I can keep in my sleeping bag overnight.
    If there is any chance your cycling water bottle may leak, do not bring it in your bag. Better to melt new snow the next morning - or invest in a reliable non-leaker.

    The thermos in my water bottle cage was too small to fit in the cage well, but one of those neoprene soda can holders made it fit my water bottle cage perfectly. See photo. It was not winter, the thermos was for my coffee in the morning.

    20IMGP4225.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by iohan.gue View Post
    Tires: unfortunately I am stuck with 32mm's, but I will be on the trans-Canada HWY so I am sure there wont be too much snow (and I can take a day or two off if its too bad)
    If you have studded tires, they are slow. If not studded, good luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by iohan.gue View Post
    I did 160km ride to Niagara falls a week ago (I plan on doing 90-100 per day on my trip). Is that a reasonable expectation?
    The day will be very short. If there is snow or slush, that will slow things down too. Only you will be able to determine how many miles you can do, but if it was me I would assume half the miles that I would accomplish in summer. It may be prudent to carry extra food in case you get stuck for a few extra days. You will burn thru a lot of calories so bring plenty of high calorie foods.

    Will a weather band radio work where you are going? Once you are stuck out there, it might not tell you anything that you do not already know. But, if a storm is a couple days away, that may be nice to know.

    Matchka had a good point on working on a cold bike. See if you can find some nitrile work gloves that are big enough that you can put some wool or polartech gloves inside them. If you have to repair anything, you may want some waterproof gloves that have some insulation inside them. I used to have a pair of neoprene work gloves that were loose enough that I could fit wool gloves in them, they came in handy for cold weather camping around the kitchen when I might get my hands wet while cooking. Not very good for dexterity, but working on cold metal that is grimy and greasy when it is below freezing is not fun. You might try changing a rear tube at home to see how it goes before you start your trip.

    Many years ago, one time repairing my motorcycle in winter, I set up my camp stove and every few minutes would thaw out my hands over my stove so that I could get back to repairing my motorcycle with hands that worked.
    Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 12-14-13 at 07:24 AM.

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    In the UK we have a clothing system developed for mountaineers in Scottish winter conditions, where you get lots of freeze-thaw actions, high winds, wet ground, ie perfect conditions for hypothermia and a lot trickier to handle than cold, dry continental winters.
    It consists of a single-sided fleece (ie pile) with a Pertex nylon face. It is not waterproof but dries rapidly and keeps you very warm. I have used the jacket for cold-weather touring and rate it quite well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    And as for water ... snow takes a long time to melt, if it melts at all, and only produces a small amount of liquid. If the whole trip is going to be in below freezing temps, there's almost no point to bringing a bottle at all because any water you put into the bottle will freeze. You can slow the freezing process a bit by putting the bottle in a sock, but unless the temps come above freezing, the water will still eventually freeze.

    When I've done long rides in cold temps, I've planned them so that I drink quite a bit in the morning before I go. Then I stop in a town after an hour or two and drink quite a bit there. Then I stop in a town after an hour or two and drink quite a bit there. And so on until the end of the ride. I haven't relied on my water bottles at all.
    Interesting. I hadn't heard of not being able to melt snow. I do agree it doesn't give much liquid on the end, unless you are in an environment, eastern midwest US that generally has a lot of heavy, wet snow. There you would get quite a bit more water out of snow.

    I agree with you totally on not planning on taking water with you. Whenever I head out to do a winter century ride or even shorter rides I take an empty water bottle with me and it always leaves anywhere empty. I drink while I'm there and make sure to empty the bottle out before I leave. Not only does it save weight on the ride but it prevents the frozen water effect as well. The only trouble with doing that can be unplanned on dehydration effects. I finally come to realize last winter, thanks to a posting here on the forum what one of my problems had been. I knew it only happened on long ride and only during the winter months. Someone asked a question about giddiness he was experiencing. Someone made mention of dehydration, even though he was only riding 5-10 miles to work. I thought about what was being said and the light bulb went off. You may think you can't get dehydrated during the winter months but it's probably even easier to get dehydrated during the winter months than it is during the summer months...simply because you think it can't happen and as a result you don't drink enough to keep yourself hydrated.

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    I did a tour last winter - temps down to -30C. Loads of great advice here so far.
    For what I wore / slept in, I wrote a blog post with all my lessons learned...
    Clothing advice
    Equipment (sleeping) advice

    I had a -40C rated bag, and used a vapour barrier system (recommended if multi-day camping and unable to dry out your bag) - and was way too hot unless the temp dropped below -20C and I bivvy'd out. But better hot than cold!

    Top tip from me - when you take off your gloves, stick them inside your jacket - they'll stay dry and warm then. If they get damp from snow/ice and are left out they soon freeze, which results in frozen fingers when you have to put them back on again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
    You might have some moisture freeze where slush is thrown up on places like that little plastic thingy under the bottom bracket. But a tug on your shifter should solve that. Other than that, as long as no moisture gets into your cable housing, you should do fine.
    One thing that could happen depending on the weather you end up encountering is having trouble 'keeping the chain on'. I had it happened to me locally last winter. I had ridden 6 miles into town after a snow storm. Everything was fine. I went to turn into a parking lot to go back to the grocery store and all of a sudden my chain started skipping on me left and right. I was puzzled. I wasn't trying to shift or anything but the chain was skipping. I hadn't had any problems to that point. I looked down and saw what the problem was. My cassette was caked in snow and the chain had nothing to 'bite' into. I got off the bike and fortunately I had the allen set with me and I was able to use it to knock the snow out the cassette so the chain could rest/ride on the teeth once again. Make sure and take something with you that is small enough, width wise, to go between the teeth of the cassette or you may get left stranded someplace thanks to riding in snowy weather.

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