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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 02-24-07, 12:58 AM   #1
bentstrider
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Best, low-cost setup for a winter ride/commute.

Per the title, I'm tired of encountering weather that either leaves me too sick, or discouraged to ride.
I drive a bigrig, so I'm going to be encountering questionable conditions wherever dispatch forces me.
One area could be calm and sunny, another could have 40 days/nights of snow and cold.
I just want keep the clothing load relatively light, but not bare bones.
Because if it were my typical SoCal weather everywhere, it would be wifebeater and Dickies shorts.
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Old 02-24-07, 01:44 AM   #2
RomSpaceKnight
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MTB, cheap front and rear fenders, light bright enough to be legal on lit streets, long johns and fatigues, windproof, water proof, jacket, rear blinkie, snowmobile gloves, water proof shoes and toe clips, bandanna for ears and a helmet.
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Old 02-24-07, 06:49 AM   #3
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Thanks for the shopping list.
No, seriously it helps alot.
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Old 02-24-07, 08:12 AM   #4
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In general you want to stay away from bike-specific stuff for heavy winter. Few people bike in these temps, so things like snowmobile or ski gloves work much better for much cheaper (check out Altrec, REI, Campmor, etc.).

The core and legs easy to keep warm...you're exercising. Keeping hands/toes/face warm is harder. OTOH, head is basically covered because of the "styrofoam beer cooler" (as one site puts it) on your head. Those thin polypro balaclavas you can get for $10 do just fine in keeping face/nose/ears warm. Doesn't seem like they'd do the trick, but since you're breathing into it they work fine.

Also if money's tight it's probably not worth getting winter-specific bike shoes. Performance and Nashbar both have some good neoprene booties that make a huge difference for regular bike shoes. Try to get your shoes a half size too big so there's room for wool socks inside.

--Ari
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Old 02-24-07, 02:28 PM   #5
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The core and legs easy to keep warm...you're exercising. Keeping hands/toes/face warm is harder.
Ditto this. Even at subzero temps longjohns are too hot for riding. Think clothes for other winter sports. Polartech fleece is awesome. Good wool gloves with poly liners. A good bala. I use an insulated sking helmet for riding in the winter.

For equipment, just about any sturdy bike will work so long as the tires are good. For lots of ice good studs are a must.
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Old 02-24-07, 06:02 PM   #6
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how about a folding bike, like Xootr ?
plus regular non bikey clothes everyone else suggested.
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Old 02-25-07, 10:37 AM   #7
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I can also recommend the MTB for all conditions just need the right multi condition tires. The clothing recommendations are only good for short rides in really cold conditions.

I used to be a OTR trucker and I am an avid recreational cyclist. So I think I know about your what you are up against. I take it that you want to take your bike with you around the country. So you are going to be seeing a lot of different weather patterns.

Because of this you will not be well served by gear that only works passably well in really cold conditions.

I would recommend the following to get started.

Don't spent too much on the bike. Especially if you have to mount it on the outside of the truck where it will get constantly covered in gunk. Aluminum frame would be better for corrosion resistance and most new bikes nowadays are aluminum anyway.

I would get the following bike and ski gear and you will be set for all conditions hot, temperate, and cold.

Pair of Lycra bike shorts or mountain bike shorts.

Pair of winter weight bike or cross country ski tights to go over shorts. If you only have mountain bike shorts you can wear tights under the shorts instead of over them.

Some kind of breathable wind/water resistant shell pant.

Short sleeve cycling jersey. Or synthetic running shirt.

Long sleeve heavier weight cycling jersey or running shirt.

Polar fleece jacket. Snug fitting. Front full zip.

Good quality cycling jacket.

Ski gloves. Breathable.

Free ride bike helmet and regular bike helmet. Or regular bike helmet and helmet cover.

Two pair of bike shoes. One for warm and temperate, one for cold. Cold weather bike shoes can be just hikers with firm sole. Shoe choice depends on pedal type. Bike specific ones work best in the long run.

By arrainging this clothing in single and multi layers you can deal with all conditions comfortably.

Last edited by Hezz; 02-25-07 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 02-25-07, 12:07 PM   #8
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Go to the thrift stores, Salvation Army etc. especially in the better neigborhoods. If you know what to look for, you can get a lot of cold weather stuff for pennies compared to other retail stores.


Gas, the price of a can of beans.
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Old 02-25-07, 02:29 PM   #9
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Ski goggles are a must when temp drops below -10 F. Cheap set only costs $20.
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Old 02-26-07, 12:04 PM   #10
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If you use toe-clips/straps you can make cheap toe covers by cutting up a pair of old socks and covering the toe-clips with them. Then take your duct tape and cover the whole sock. Voila! Ghetto toe-covers! Disposable too! I used these for Boston winters and they actually lasted two seasons.
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Old 03-11-07, 07:10 PM   #11
James H Haury
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Folder.

I use a dahon classic 3 converted to a fixie. I Swapped out the 3 speed wheel for a 16 inch bmx wheel with a track cog secured with loctite red. Tires are 16 by 1.75 knobbies rated to 65 psi .Available at k mart.
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