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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 02-16-07, 09:56 AM   #1
JollyMon
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Motivation??? Safety??? Wimp???

Here's the deal: I am out the door for work at 645a and usually not home until 700p. It's still dark and below freezing when I get up. It's dark and near freezing when I get home. My thought is to keep alternating rides on my rollers and trainer until it warms up or until it's lighter when I am home. I sense that those of you who ride outside this time of year are mainly doing so during the day when you can see safely -- even if it is a lot colder than here in North Carolina.

Any words of wisdom -- (as opposed to piling on us Southerners for being wimps about the cold)?

Thanks to all. This always makes for great reading and work avoidance!
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Old 02-16-07, 10:02 AM   #2
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I'm generally in the dark or in the twilight, just make sure you have decent headlights, and lots of blinkies or other high visibility stuff on your back and sides.

Edit: For motivation, sell your car. Nothing like needing to get to work to motivate you to ride.
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Old 02-16-07, 10:24 AM   #3
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Motivation? You are able to force yourself to ride an indoor trainer that doesn't actually go anywhere, and you claim you lack motivation? You have a lot more motivation than I have! No way I could ever force myself to mess with those things.

If your bike lacks lights, your "lack of motivation" to ride in the dark is simply good sense.

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Old 02-16-07, 10:52 AM   #4
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Old 02-16-07, 11:44 AM   #5
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If I only rode during the daylight, I'd never get to ride, especially this time of year. 0F and dark when I took off at 6 this morning, prolly 15ish and starting to get dark when I ride home at 6 this evening. Get out and ride, riding indoors is to cycling as spanking it to a pic is to sex.
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Old 02-16-07, 12:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyMon
Here's the deal: I am out the door for work at 645a and usually not home until 700p. It's still dark and below freezing when I get up. It's dark and near freezing when I get home. My thought is to keep alternating rides on my rollers and trainer until it warms up or until it's lighter when I am home. I sense that those of you who ride outside this time of year are mainly doing so during the day when you can see safely -- even if it is a lot colder than here in North Carolina.

Any words of wisdom -- (as opposed to piling on us Southerners for being wimps about the cold)?

Thanks to all. This always makes for great reading and work avoidance!
Dark is an extra handicap. Extreme Cold + Dark + Wind + Ice/Snow = Rough times. It ain't easy. Take out even one of those hurdles and things improve. Each additional that you take out, the more improvement.
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Old 02-16-07, 12:36 PM   #7
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Whenever my motivation wanes, I just try sitting in traffic for an hour, listening to crappy morning DJ banter and then pay $20 for parking. If that doesn't work, I get on the bus and sit next to a teenage girl on her cellphone, talking like she's an auctioneer about how Britney Spears became such a ho.

After that, riding in pitch black, -20c and 20cm of snow, feels like heaven.
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Old 02-16-07, 12:55 PM   #8
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you also have to know that since it's dark for quite an extended period of time (especially comming back home for 9to5 montrealers). you do get used to it. but then, one day, when spring arrives and you do your first ride in "cycling jersey" (on optional road bike (and mandatory shorts)) in sunlight... well, that's "priceless".
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Old 02-16-07, 12:56 PM   #9
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I also ride a lot in the dark but the streets are pretty well lit and cleared of snow here. I recently totalled my bike in an accident and in the mean time I am walking. I find it much colder and more dangerous and much of sidewalks aren't very cleared of ice and I always try to really push myself while riding so tht keeps me warm. Being on foot sucks. It's also more than freezing here (I beg for days when it reaches 0), I don't live in the coldest Canadian city but it is cold, right now it's -9C (aout 16F) plus it's really windy.

The only thing that has kept me off my bike so far this winter is not having one.
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Old 02-16-07, 01:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyMon
(as opposed to piling on us Southerners for being wimps about the cold)?
Didn't mean my post to sound this way, all I meant was, just do it, be prepared for the cold although you'll probably find it warmer than walking, and drive defensively, if there are not enough street lights to keep your commute safe, find a headlight suitable, and be very watchful for those who aren't (cagers).
Personaly I'm getting more and more depressed everyday I go without being able to ride. Take the things that keep you off the road for whatever reason as a challenge, others do it, why can't you?

*This may not sound like great advice for someone who just totalled his bike this week but my accident was non-weather related and was fully my fault.
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Old 02-16-07, 04:43 PM   #11
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The best thing that I ever did to solve all the issues brought up in the OP was to bike commute. It forces you to make peace with all kinds of stuff that otherwise can keep you from a ride.
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Old 02-16-07, 05:38 PM   #12
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I only have my bike. So, I ride at night a lot. However, I am very thankful that 80% of that ride is on a path well away from the crazy cagers. I use CatEye LED's, seem to work if I keep 'em warm in the day to get that elctrochemical reaction started.
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Old 02-16-07, 05:41 PM   #13
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With good lights you can see safely and be seen safely. Probably be seen better than the day time.
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Old 02-16-07, 06:21 PM   #14
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I'm a graveyard shift worker. My ride to work has light, but coming home between 3am and 6am it is pretty dark, and damned cold. My coldest commute home so far this year was -17oF, not sure of the windchill.
A good light is a must!! I'd sacrifice one of my brakes before I'd give up my light.
And always have a backup plan. At any given moment I can walk 1.5 miles to a bus stop and wait for the metro transit.
As for motivation, just look at all of us "yankees" and tell yourself that no self respecting southern boy will ever be one-upped by a northerner, nor will he eat a chicken any other way thatn fried!
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Old 02-17-07, 09:58 AM   #15
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I'm a graveyard shift worker. My ride to work has light, but coming home between 3am and 6am it is pretty dark, and damned cold. My coldest commute home so far this year was -17oF, not sure of the windchill.
A good light is a must!! I'd sacrifice one of my brakes before I'd give up my light.
And always have a backup plan. At any given moment I can walk 1.5 miles to a bus stop and wait for the metro transit.
As for motivation, just look at all of us "yankees" and tell yourself that no self respecting southern boy will ever be one-upped by a northerner, nor will he eat a chicken any other way thatn fried!
CrosseyedCrickt <-- Former Kentuckian
Ironic, My girlfriend's main reason for commuting by bike was to AVOID SMART and Detroit City busses.

I'd have to agree on a light being worth more than a brake, especially around here. Having had to ride once or twice without a light due to extenuating circmustances I understand why some of the folk in our area ride the wrong way... sure does make it easier to swerve out of the way when you have a crazy driver.
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Old 02-17-07, 10:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyMon
Here's the deal: I am out the door for work at 645a and usually not home until 700p. It's still dark and below freezing when I get up. It's dark and near freezing when I get home. My thought is to keep alternating rides on my rollers and trainer until it warms up or until it's lighter when I am home. I sense that those of you who ride outside this time of year are mainly doing so during the day when you can see safely -- even if it is a lot colder than here in North Carolina.

Any words of wisdom -- (as opposed to piling on us Southerners for being wimps about the cold)?

Thanks to all. This always makes for great reading and work avoidance!
During the winter months November to January, it's dark all the time when I ride except for the weekends.


You have nice riding area in NC, it's a shame to spend it on a hamster mill Get a set of good lights and it will add a new and fun dimension to your bike riding.
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Old 02-17-07, 01:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squegeeboo
I'm generally in the dark or in the twilight, just make sure you have decent headlights, and lots of blinkies or other high visibility stuff on your back and sides.

Edit: For motivation, sell your car. Nothing like needing to get to work to motivate you to ride.
I agree. Good headlight. Good blinkies. Reflective clothing (I use an ANSI Class-2 lime vest like the ones construction workers use). Warm clothes. You'll be fine.

And I love saying, "Yeah, I rode in today. Can you believe some idiots actually drive cars in weather like this?"

Selling a car helps, too.
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Old 02-17-07, 02:05 PM   #18
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It isn't quite so dark anymore when I commute but in the deeper parts of winter it was. Besides that, I have certainly gone on lots of rides in the dark, both in the summer and winter. Keep yourself visible, wear a hi-visibility vest (these are awesome, really it changes drivers attitudes I think on a subconcious level, they are just a bit more careful) and lots of blinkies and it shouldn't be a problem.

Here, sometimes I have gone out in the dark for longer rides (not my commute) in the snow around the city. It's very beautiful when you are in a secluded, dark, quiet place with snow all around and stars above you.
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Old 02-17-07, 03:31 PM   #19
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My ride into work is in morning daylight, my trip home is in darkness. Since October, half of my bike riding has been at night.That's the way it always is from the start of Standard Time to the end. Of the two rides, the most enjoyable is the night one. I always look forward to it.

If you have proper lighting, night cycling can be really beautiful. You see much more of nature and the sky than when you are driving. The moon is particularly beautiful on winter nights. You may come round a corner and come face to face with a possum, deet, or fox.

For trips of up to perhaps a half hour, cycling is much warmer than driving. That's because you warm up much faster than does the heater on your car does. Therefore, if you value comfort above all else, take your bike, as long as the trip is not too long.

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Old 02-17-07, 04:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TO11MTM
Ironic, My girlfriend's main reason for commuting by bike was to AVOID SMART and Detroit City busses.

I'd have to agree on a light being worth more than a brake, especially around here. Having had to ride once or twice without a light due to extenuating circmustances I understand why some of the folk in our area ride the wrong way... sure does make it easier to swerve out of the way when you have a crazy driver.
holy ljkasnkasjhdfkasj!!!!!
another metro detroiter???
I thought I was the only one!
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Old 02-17-07, 10:25 PM   #21
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Two things bother me...

Low temperatures (single digits) + wind because of the level of exertion.

Snow on the road. I'm not afraid to ride in snow, I just don't like to ride in snow when cars are driving in snow.
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Old 02-18-07, 09:32 AM   #22
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don't let yourself wimp out!!! take care of safety issues!!! then you'll find your motivation!!!

and you're welcome

ps. 12 hours is a heckofa long day.
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Old 02-18-07, 06:44 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by JollyMon
Here's the deal: I am out the door for work at 645a and usually not home until 700p. It's still dark and below freezing when I get up. It's dark and near freezing when I get home. My thought is to keep alternating rides on my rollers and trainer until it warms up or until it's lighter when I am home. I sense that those of you who ride outside this time of year are mainly doing so during the day when you can see safely -- even if it is a lot colder than here in North Carolina.

Any words of wisdom -- (as opposed to piling on us Southerners for being wimps about the cold)?

Thanks to all. This always makes for great reading and work avoidance!

You should check out the commuter thread. There are people riding in nearly all conditions even in the dark.

Personally, I would rather go to the gym and mix it up on the treadmill, recombent stationary bike and upright stationary bike plus do a core upper body at the same time than get on a trainer.

I find riding in snow fun but all the extra clothing a pain which lowers my motivation to go out. I generally don't enjoy stationary equipment but if I have to use it I want variation. That is why I go to the gym. I say if you are happy keep doing what you are doing but add some core body conditioning with it during the winter.

If you really would rather be riding to work even in winter then go for it. Winters in North Carolina are rather mild most of the time so good lighting is going to be the only real challenge.

I would say that many would say you are wimping out. But the increased safety issues are real things you have to deal with. So your fears are not unjustified. It comes down to where you have to ride. In some busy traffic locations riding at night might not be worth the risk but alternative routes are often available. You have to evaluate the risk for your own situation and riding skills. Combined with dealing with cars. In some places the risk is much higher due to weather patterns.

However, the bottom line is that the majority of winter cyclist are riding in the dark most or much of the time if they are commuting to work.

Last edited by Hezz; 02-18-07 at 06:52 PM.
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