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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 01-17-03, 09:55 AM   #1
stokell
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Try this: Biking at minus 30 C

Just got back from a 'personal best' ride. Until today the coldest I'd ever biked in was -25C. For those who still think water boils as 212 and freezes at 32 here is a conversion chart:

http://www.rduafss.faa.gov/weather/tempc-f.html

I discovered a few things to watch for. My gear shifter was frozen and so were one of my hand brakes. Even after I loosened up the shifter, gearing up was slow and there was a 2-3 second pause before I finally got the gear. Does anybody know how to fix that? I've already got everything lubed up.

I ride a Bianchi mountain bike in the winter. The only reason I chose it was because someone sold it to me at a very low price. It does have knobby tires and someone added fenders which helps me on those other days when there is lots of slush.

I did 2 20 minute sprints but they weren't that sprintish because it was so hard to get the bike moving.
On one very long hill I was in low gear (well 6th) almost immediately. I found the only pain was from my glassses. The frames got so cold, they were making my face ache.

Towards the end, I had to open my pit zips a bit because I was starting to sweat. I'm always amazed that people think I must be freezing when I bike in the winter. They stop when I'm locking my bike and ask: "Aren't you freezing". Today it was quite amusing, because I stopped outside a shop after my first sprint and a homeless man was begging out front.
He said to me "You must be freezing!" and I answered, "I'm exercising so I'm probably not as cold as you."

So everyone, got some ideas on what I can do to improve my cold weather rides?
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Old 01-17-03, 11:39 AM   #2
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Stuff freezing up is a constant problem. I rode all week with a frozen rear brake lever/cable. The bike is parked inside all day and inside all night. I haven't washed it for a week or so, I don't know how there is any moisture anywhere to freeze, but it still does. I sprayed my cables, levers and brakes with WD-40 for lubrication and moisture displacement after the wash.

I haven't had my pit zips closed yet this winter! The zippers have been all the way open, velcro tabs were closed, still end up sweating most days!
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Old 01-17-03, 12:34 PM   #3
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Maybe you should look into Gore/Avid cables.
I have Avid FlackJacket Cables on my mountain bike for both shifting and braking.
They are a little expensive to retrofit, but I put them on 3 years ago and have never had to lube or change them since.
They are weatherproof and really cut down on adjustments at the brake or shift levers to nothing.
I ride on hardpack snowmachine trails and have bailed off into 3 foot high snowbanks without any ill effects.
Don't know how they would be in the slush since I don't ride on the street very far till I get on the trail, but they must be better than regular cables.
It cost me $150 Can to do both brakes and shifters.

http://www.avidbike.com/4_cables_acc...s4_1_flak.html

Check it out.

Cheers.
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Old 01-19-03, 02:04 AM   #4
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I have, and yes everything does freeze up. I've discovered that you have to pick a gear that you like early on in the ride and stick with that. The brakes on my mtn bike were a little sluggish, but not too bad.

I know of others who chose to ride fixed gear bicycles in this sort of weather because they provide more control on adverse road conditions . . . and you're stuck in one gear anyway.
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Old 01-19-03, 03:31 AM   #5
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I put tri-flow on everything and nothing freezes up, so far this year the coldest I have riden is 5 F good luck
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Old 01-19-03, 07:24 AM   #6
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The gears in my bike develop an awkward delay when riding in cold weather. I think the cold just makes gears and brakes sluggish (even when lubed). Besides choosing a suitable winter lubricant there isn't much one can do about it. But I still have the gears, my bike has so far never frozen to a singlespeed.

Some gear shifter designs seem to be more prone to freezing than others. A friend has the pushbutton type, and he has problems in winter. His derailleurs and other mech would probably work fine, but the shifters freeze solid. I have push/pull levers on my bike and those work ok. (sorry for the inexact terms, I don't remember the set names).

I also ride purely on the road in winter. If you ride off-road, you'll probably get more snow everywhere in your bike.

--J
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Old 01-21-03, 02:51 PM   #7
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Thanks Stokel for the conversion chart, now I can be sensative to my Celsius brothern when I post a Fahrenheit temp.
--Mark T
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Old 01-22-03, 07:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by mtessmer
Thanks Stokel for the conversion chart, now I can be sensative to my Celsius brothern when I post a Fahrenheit temp.
--Mark T
The best conversion site I have found is:

http://www.speedygrl.com/conversion.html

And yes, I think all us folks here in the US should try to post metric units also.
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Old 01-22-03, 09:39 AM   #9
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Thank you and if we think it is cold where we live, try Grise Fiord in Nunavut (Canadian Arctic) where it is dark all winter.

http://weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/script...CDN_e&city=WGZ
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Old 01-22-03, 01:49 PM   #10
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Well,i used to drive my bike in severe Montreal winter days,there's not much to do about slow gears,except maybe going to a bike shop and having your bike cleaned troughly and re greased,wich costs about 1o$.It helps a bit.As for the sunglasses,i use ski goggles they cover a large surfage of my face and they dont get steam frosted.The turnoff is that they narrow your angles.
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Old 01-22-03, 04:22 PM   #11
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I was going to post about frozen glasses hurting your nose but there is nothing to do about it.

I live close to New York City and had NO problem shifting gears at all this winter. Seriously. My bike shifts all the time without any problem and yesterday was 19F in the evening.

My solution is simple. I've been riding a 3 speed Sturmey Archer (AW 3) hub gear that works without fail for the past 2 1/2 years.

I don't know why others won't try it. Beats using one gear that's for sure.
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Old 01-23-03, 08:00 PM   #12
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I found this conversion chart...simple and tidy http://www.rduafss.faa.gov/weather/tempc-f.html

I rode on my coldest days yet. The 22nd was -4 f and a bit windy (wind chill of -22 or so). It was a rush......breathing was a trick and keeping my glasses from fogging was too. I wore goggles to keep the wind off and the glasses fairly fog free.

Today was out of the question.......-9 f with a -32 f wind chill.......I thought about it but..........

But it's supposed to warm up over hte next couple of days...any thing over or near 0...and I'm out there.
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Old 01-24-03, 09:13 PM   #13
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Why not ?

Just pull the scarf up, pull the bandana down, wear the jacket with hood, wear 2 pairs of gloves... jump on the bike and ride.

Only problem, at -30 C, I can't ride more than 1.5 hours or ride downhill for more than 15 minutes, whichever comes first.

Regards,
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Old 02-16-03, 12:50 PM   #14
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only -11 today.. but snow pellets hurt.. a lot
rode at -27 before and had no problem shifting but i wasn't doing anything that resembled hills.... only problem i had was the salt and sand the city puts down for the cars, by the time i get to the lakeshore my bike is crying.
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Old 02-17-03, 02:30 AM   #15
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WOW, -30 degrees F. That is incredible. You are my hero.

It is interesting how sluggish the machinery gets when the temperatures are below freezing and especially when they are below zero. Grease turns to soap at those temperatures.

I got a kick out of your comment about the glasses feeling so cold to your face. I had the same problem too. Now, I wear contact lenses. I just couldn't keep my glasses from fogging and then freezing in the sub-zero temps.
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Old 02-25-03, 02:29 PM   #16
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Heh, I ride at -25 quite often here in Ottawa.. my biggest things to worry about is the Air in my fork and Shock (Make sure to add a few kg), and the oil in my hydraulic brakes.. since I have an closed system (Hope C2Pro), I can close the brake before riding, then loosen again before bringing into the house.

The biggest thing to Remember, when it's that cold, let you bike sit out for about 20 minutes in the cold before riding... that way everything has a chance to cool before you beat on it!

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Old 02-25-03, 08:14 PM   #17
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Good advice.....I've snapped a couple of plastic parts so far this winter. Most notably my front derailleur shifter. Then again I suppose that it might have snapped whether or not I let it cool down first or not.
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Old 02-25-03, 09:56 PM   #18
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Just did a century on Saturday that started at -32C/-25F and reached a high of -20C/-4F! That was one long, cold century (100 miles)!

It took me 15 hours and 20 minutes because I just couldn't get any speed up - my gears froze so I rode the whole thing on a single speed, and one of my brakes froze. I had to do the ride using platform pedals and my Sorel winter boots - how uncomfortable!

I posted the story under February Century.
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Old 02-25-03, 10:09 PM   #19
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Been there... done that. I went to college in Grand Forks, ND. It got down to subzero temps for weeks on end sometimes. I used to ride my bike between my apt. and campus (1.5 miles), around campus between classes and oftentimes to the airport (10 miles) for my flight classes. One time, it was -25F (w/o windchill) and I rode out to GFK for an early morning flight. At least I was wide awake by the time I got to the airport. The temperature was too cold for us to fly right away although we would have gotten great climb performance. Some of the hangar doors were frozen stuck and they had to use one of those dragon heaters to melt the ice. The only nice thing about it was that "flying the dawn patrol", we got to do our preflights inside.
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