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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 01-31-07, 05:25 PM   #1
Portis
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Winter Check In

Well it's a month into Winter and how is everybody fairing? Personally this has been one of my worst winters of riding so far. It has been colder than recent winters and more snow/ice. Around here if I can make it into mid-February I will start getting some relief from the cold. At least i will start getting some rides in near freezing at least.

For now the temps aren't supposed to top freezing here for the next ten days. I don't know how the Canadians and other harsh winter riders handle it. I think i would be crazy. I am sooooooo ready to ditch the morning layering routine and just ride. Spring will be a VERY welcome sight.
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Old 01-31-07, 06:42 PM   #2
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I'm still holding up rather well. My ride home in the mornings is in the single digits and I am quite content with it. this winter hasn't been harsh at all, just very cold as of late with little snow.
Look at it my way, once you brave a hard winter, you will be more fulfilled come sprint time. And in the spring when you se some $5000.00 worth of man and carbon rolling down the street all bundled up whil you are in shorts you can mutter "pansie" and have a good reason.
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Old 01-31-07, 08:11 PM   #3
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I'm starting to wuss a bit. I've been driving some days. Morning is the hard part, going out into single digits (F) or less, headwinds. Nights are fine, but my light won't last the round trip on low. I'm looking forward to temps in the teens on up, where I enjoy it again.
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Old 01-31-07, 08:31 PM   #4
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We've had a late winter in Toronto, very late. But it is finally here. I finally got around to installing my winter tires (studs) and had a ride across the bay. Funny thing, two weeks ago it was water and now 9 inches of black ice with intermittent snow here and there. I always loved winter, hockey, skating, skiing, etc.etc. but now it is so short that I don't quite feel the same about it. I guess I am getting old!
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Old 01-31-07, 09:00 PM   #5
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I'm doing fine, the bike is doing fine, and riding is still great, but my apartment is conspiring against me.

The easiest way in and out with the bike is via the fire escape stairs to the kitchen door. The snow melting from the roof has coated the fire escape with ice. I nearly slid the final ten steps the other day. Fortunately, the pedal snagged on my downstairs neighbor's window frame. Coming and going through the front door and stairwell is a huge architectural PITA, so I'm restricting my trips to one a day, and then only if necessary.

Hmmm, maybe a folder?
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Old 01-31-07, 09:08 PM   #6
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The Global warming terds changed their theory again to match this winter's weather. Got snowed in about 3 times and that generator has a good workout. Other than that, some good riding weather. At this rate, my rear may thaw about March
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Old 01-31-07, 09:35 PM   #7
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Icy but well

Actually, I'm one of the Canadians mentioned up top. I commute 30-50 minutes (depending on the weather) each way in the winter. It's easier than it sounds - a few layers of high-quality clothing, some hard work, and the next thing you know you're having trouble staying cool. I brag that I'm warmer on the bike than in my car because in my car I shiver for 10-15 minutes waiting for it to warm up, and on the bike my body warms up in 5!

The rides have been going very well but as the winter drags on the back streets here in Edmonton are getting icier and more dangerous. Fortunately two thirds of my ride is through river valley park trails. It's obvious I need some better studded tires - a cycling colleague has Nokian titanium-studded tires and loves them so I'll look for some of those. Still, I'm amazed at how well bikes handle snow and ice. There's the odd wipeout, but by staying away from traffic it's basically like a weird form of skiing: no harm done, just get up and keep going.

My chain and hub are a mess thanks to the sand and salt and will need to be replaced in the spring, but that's par for the course here.

I bought an HID light that I absolutely love, both to see and be seen.

One of the things I really love is that on a day like today - temperatures around -5C (25 Fahrenheit) with snow coming down - I got home way faster than the drivers all lined up at the icy intersections. Go figure.

Commuting for me is good to about -25C (-10 Fahrenheit). Below that weird things start to happen: different parts of the body goes numb, the shifter doesn't work well, the chain is clunky, etc. In short, nothing seems to work well any more.

Any advice on keeping the bike mechanically sound in these conditions, and/or on the studded winter tires you like best, is most welcome.
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Old 01-31-07, 09:49 PM   #8
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Next week will be the coldest week of the year here so far. Highs of 10-12F, lows near 0F, maybe below. As ColdCommuter mentioned, now we're getting to the point where stuff starts to break or just not work as expected. My snow bike is only a few weeks old and it's a salty mess, but cleaning it isn't an option, other than a dry rag and some WD40 in key areas, until the temps get back to at least the upper 20s or so. Stay warm and be careful out there.
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Old 01-31-07, 10:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCommuter

One of the things I really love is that on a day like today - temperatures around -5C (25 Fahrenheit) with snow coming down - I got home way faster than the drivers all lined up at the icy intersections. Go figure.
.
I thought it was supposed to be cold up there. Heck, I haven't ridden in 25 F temps this year i don't think. Maybe I ought to move to Canada to warm up.
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Old 01-31-07, 10:23 PM   #10
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Oddly everyone else at the office is sick with colds and flus that just hang on. You'd think riding in a cold car would be enough to clear out the lungs.

Last edited by vrkelley; 02-01-07 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 01-31-07, 10:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
Next week will be the coldest week of the year here so far. Highs of 10-12F, lows near 0F, maybe below. As ColdCommuter mentioned, now we're getting to the point where stuff starts to break or just not work as expected.
Big surprise! Though you were in Ohio? Didn't know it got so cold there. Yeah that salt and sand really wears on tires and chains.

Other comments...The extra extention on the back of the PI Thermal tights makes the tights fit well over boots. Saw a poor soul with the same tights on this AM...the zipper doesn't stay down, his bare ankle was hanging out! That 3X8" 3M verticle strip of reflectant on the back of the leg is way better than the skimpy PI silver
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Old 02-01-07, 12:09 AM   #12
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We're having ANOTHER blizzard!!!
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Old 02-01-07, 12:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
We're having ANOTHER blizzard!!!
Isn't "Canada" synonymous with "Blizzard"?
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Old 02-01-07, 03:09 AM   #14
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I feel like a wimp (wintering in Calgary this year) compared to Viper and others. So far I have missed only one day - regretted that bitterly as the train took longer than my bike commute to come...

Cold temps (-25 C - I think that's around zero F, not quite sure) are not really a big deal if you are adequately equipped. Depth of snow and fierceness of wind are probably bigger factors.

Try it, you might like it...
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Old 02-01-07, 06:57 AM   #15
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I also have to explain to co-workers that I'd be colder if I drove. I did ok on my old trek with 26x1.95 knobbies, but I reached my goal early so I bought myself a new bike. I said when I dropped below clyde status and stayed there for at least a week it was new bike time. So, day 7 at 199 I bought myself a new bike. I have to say the 700x35c studded tires handle much better than the Trek did. My only problem so far is cold toes, but that's my fault for not buying new shoes. I have holes in the bottoms and my feet get wet
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Old 02-01-07, 07:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
We're having ANOTHER blizzard!!!
Those are the fun parts of winter!
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Old 02-01-07, 08:56 AM   #17
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I am a wimp. With our incessant snow and ice I relocated to the gym. Someday it will thaw....I hope.
Before next winter I hope to add a MTB to my stable.
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Old 02-01-07, 09:20 AM   #18
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Dead in the water, or snow in this case. They aren't plowing a MUP I rely on to get to work, all the other routes I have deemed 'too dangerous' for various reasons.
Soon as it warms up and melts some of the snow, I'm back on though. The cold isn't bothering me, but a mile or two of 6 inch snow does

(at least the new road bike on the trainer is getting a workout )
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Old 02-01-07, 10:16 AM   #19
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Still no snow. My snow bike has been about 60 feet this year. (From the garage to the house).
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Old 02-01-07, 10:24 AM   #20
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It's been great lately.

Good stretch of temperatures staying well below freezing, snow staying on the ground without melting into slush, the roads dry enough to that there is little brine spray, and the MUP packed down by skiiers and hikers to near-summer ridability.

Life is good.
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Old 02-01-07, 11:52 AM   #21
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Not too much snow, but some bitter cold recently with single-digit wind chills that has kept me taking the bus most days these past two weeks. I don't have windproof gloves or a balaclava (yet) so those temps are murder. I'm headed to the LBS to see what they have to offer in terms of a better shell and gloves than I currently have, which are just normal winter wear - not athletic or cycle specific.
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Old 02-01-07, 01:23 PM   #22
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I've been on the bike once since 19-DEC-06. That was on the rollers and the belt broke about 5 minutes after I began. I have walked to work (~5miles RT) everyday except one since 20-DEC-06. Should be able to start commuting by bike again next week.
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Old 02-01-07, 02:28 PM   #23
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It's been great up 1-6-07 54F that day. Then it took a dive. The last two weeks have been brutal. Below zero most nights. 3:00am is the time I hit the road. It was hard at first, Now the body has adjusted to the temps. I've only had 2 snows to deal with nothing big by my standards. its been far warmer then it was 2 and 3 years ago. Its all good!
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Old 02-01-07, 03:24 PM   #24
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It's been an awesome winter so far. It was a late winter here in Montreal so the first 2 months were really easy.

Now we're actually getting a bit of snow and some cold temperatures, and I've been dealing with the temps much better now. I'm at the point where I pretty much know what to put on depending on temperature, conditions, winds strength and direction. I've ridden very comfortably in -22C with no problems at all (I would get frost bite last year, or used chemical warmers).
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Old 02-01-07, 03:26 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
It's been great lately.

Good stretch of temperatures staying well below freezing, snow staying on the ground without melting into slush, the roads dry enough to that there is little brine spray, and the MUP packed down by skiiers and hikers to near-summer ridability.

Life is good.
Yes it is.
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