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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 10-31-05, 02:50 PM   #1
Florentin
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Gettin' Sick Riding

I don't really mind riding in the winter.
The crisp, cold air... the dark night... the warm hat... the fireplace smell on the street...

I just get sick a lot. I guess it's the cold air I breeth in. Do many of you get sick while you ride in the winter? I do dress warm, but, like I said, I think it is the air I breeth.

Your thoughts?
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Old 10-31-05, 02:55 PM   #2
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the weather shouldn't matter. getting sick is more a function of where you picked up the virus.
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Old 10-31-05, 02:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florentin
I don't really mind riding in the winter.
The crisp, cold air... the dark night... the warm hat... the fireplace smell on the street...

I just get sick a lot. I guess it's the cold air I breeth in. Do many of you get sick while you ride in the winter? I do dress warm, but, like I said, I think it is the air I breeth.

Your thoughts?
I do ride in the winter, so to speak. Most wouldn't think Winters in Soutehrn Arizona amount to much though

I've never subscribed to the notion that cold temperatures by themselves can make you sick. I believe a virus or bacteria has to be involved. I suppose though, that overdoing one's exercise program could reduce resistance to "bugs" which might be in the air at home, school, work or elsewhere.
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Old 10-31-05, 03:07 PM   #4
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By "sick" what exactly do you mean? Do you mean ... fever, throwing up, aching body (flu), or do you mean coughing and becoming congested?

I sort of suspect you mean coughing and becoming congested ... from breathing in cold air. If that's the case, go to the Dr and get tested for Exercise Induced Asthma. If you test positive for it, the Dr will prescribe an inhaler, and if this is your problem that inhaler will feel like you've been given a new lease on life.

I've got Exercise Induced Asthma and since I've gotten my new inhaler ... cycling has been wonderful!
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Old 10-31-05, 03:10 PM   #5
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Odd. I've been getting sick quite a bit less since I started commuting with a bike. Still, since this is my first winter I really do not have an informed opinion....yet.
Maybe try and take vitamin supplements? I usually take 800mg of vitamin c as a minimum. When my family starts getting ill I double it.
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Old 10-31-05, 05:50 PM   #6
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I think I had the same thing going on last winter. Breathing hard lots of cold air (30F is as cold as it gets here) would often make my throat a bit scratchy, and then within a day or 2 I got a full blown cold.

As others have said, it is the virus, not the coldness, that makes you sick. But in winter, I think we're exposed to viruses all the time, and the cold air in the throat lowers resistance. That's my theory, anyways, so this winter I'm going to always wear neck warmers whenever the temp is below 50F. I'll let you know this spring how it goes
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Old 10-31-05, 06:17 PM   #7
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I don't think the cold weather will make you sick by itself but it might make it harder to fight off a virus or bacteria. I have ridden a couple of miles in 25 degree temps wearing jeans and a tee shirt and it has never made me sick. I have started coughing after breathing in a lot of cold air during a short sprint but it only lasted a couple of minutes. I wish I had a dollar for every time somebody told me I was going to catch a cold.
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Old 10-31-05, 06:28 PM   #8
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I hear this Virus comment a lot but my experience is what happened this Sunday:
Temperature was well < F 50. I had two shirts on. Also had to add a light rain jacket because it was raining intermittently.
I was also biking quite hard at close to 20 MPH average for 50 miles with a lunch stop.
My shirts were soaking wet. I stopped at a Subway and felt chilly. I had no dry shirts with me. That resulted into nasal congestion immediately and chilly feeling upon return to the car. Improper dealings with that have resulted into sinus conditions in the past. Very hard to get rid of!
Therefore I had dry clothes in the car and I also had a lot of hot tea with food.
On previous trips I did get flu like symptoms when I did not take above measures.
IMHO a body defense system can be weakened by what I am describing, resulting into easy target for virus or whatever.
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Old 11-02-05, 10:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florentin
I don't really mind riding in the winter.
The crisp, cold air... the dark night... the warm hat... the fireplace smell on the street...

I just get sick a lot. I guess it's the cold air I breeth in. Do many of you get sick while you ride in the winter? I do dress warm, but, like I said, I think it is the air I breeth.

Your thoughts?
My first year commuting in the winter I got a few colds. I also ride the train(Lot's of sick folks, coughing, wheezing, blowing noses). I haven't been sick for 1 day in the last 3 years. Knock on wood. I do ride with a balaclava or scarf covering my mouth/nose on the colder days. This warms the air coming into the mouth/nose. Also try breathing through the nose as this warms the air before it hits the lungs. Charlie
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Old 11-02-05, 11:15 AM   #10
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It's pretty well accepted that cold weather doesn't make you sick. Like someone else said, viruses make you sick. There are more viruses spread around in cold weather because more people are in close contact with each other. IOW---> more people inside presents more oppurtunity for viruses to spread.

I used to discount this. I used to say, "well I'm not really inside all that much even in the winter." Or, I would say, "well it really hasn't even been cold here yet, so why are some of the kids getting sick already this Fall?"

Then I got to figuring that it is probably just about simple math. Percentagewise, there are more people staying inside in the FAll longer hours than in the middle of the Summer. Even if it is only 5 % of the people it still makes a huge number of potential virus sharers. If there are 50,000 people in your city that makes 2500 people who are at a much higher risk for sharing viruses than normal. (like in the Summer)

Of course they can quickly spread the viruses to those of us who may not consider ourselves in the risk category. (Insiders) Then of cours we spread it amongst ourselves and BAM you have an epidemic of viruses.

I actually feel better when i ride in the winter. That is not to say that i haven't gotten a bug or two, but on interesting thing is that even if i do, i kick it very quickly. I used to be sick for days, when i was out of shape. Now it seems like i can overcome any virus more quickly.

Cold doesn't make you sick and toilet seats don't get you pregnant!
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Old 11-02-05, 03:40 PM   #11
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In the fall, all of the kids are in school, and if they miss a day of school it can be tough to catch up, so parents send them to school even if they're a little sick. Nice Petri dish. Sick kids make their parents sick, but they go to work anyway because otherwise it can be tough to catch up, so then their colleagues and fellow train/bus riders get sick. Etcetera.

As to cold weather making you get sick, I do think that breathing hard in really cold air challenges your immune system, so any incipient virus has more of a chance of really taking hold. I used to always get colds from winter riding until I bought a heat exchanger face mask (www.psolar.com, particularly the pSolarEX). I usually only find that I need it for the first 20 minutes or so, or in case I'm making a really hard effort. Makes a nice neck warmer even when you're not breathing through it. Easy to take off while you're riding and hang on the handlebars if you need more ventilation. Yeah, you look like Darth Vader, but then you can tell your son, "Son, I am your father" and make heavy breathing noises :-)
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