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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 03-23-07, 01:11 PM   #1
DavidLee
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What I learned my first Winter.

  • Should of bought the Nokians, my Innovas are so worn that they won't make it next season.
  • You don't need THAT much clothing. Down to -6 windchill I had on a light shell with 3 layers & was very comfortable.
  • Yes, your co-workers will stare in either amazement or a "he's crazy" look all Winter long.
  • Leave earlier, especially on real cold days. I didn't think the cold would slow me down as much.
  • Make sure to really exhale hard at red lights to show the motorist what they are missing.
  • On that unseasonably warm day you dressed down for the ride in you better make sure you pack for that cold ass ride home. Once & only ONCE I made this mistake.
  • Top off your tires more often.

    I have to say that I had 1 or 2 "I must be nuts" moments but I'm already planning for next Winter.






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Old 03-23-07, 02:51 PM   #2
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Good pointers. I'm sure glad I chose the Freddies Revenz, even if they did cost as much as the bike!

In addition to those points, I've learned that eyeglasses can really be a drag due to the fog. I'm thinking about laser surgery. I'm worried about contacts, since at times it was cold enough to freeze my eyeball shut.

--Snow helmets are great.
--Polartech fleece is fantastic.
--Like you, I found that even on very cold days I only needed a few basic layers. When I tried to add longjohns they filled with sweat.
--Wind chill is not the real thing
--Keeping the bike outside helps reduce rust.
--The true cold will sap your strength like nothing else.
--Don't forget to drink a lot of water, even if you don't think you're sweating.
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Old 03-23-07, 03:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmoline
--Don't forget to drink a lot of water, even if you don't think you're sweating.
Learned that the hard way when I forgot my bottle one day.
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Old 03-24-07, 06:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidLee
Make sure to really exhale hard at red lights to show the motorist what they are missing.
I do that to exhale like a Clydesdale horse and paw at the ground with your foot. It just adds flare for those crazy looks we get..


Congrats on your first winter.
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Old 03-24-07, 11:16 AM   #5
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+10^6 on the Nokian vs. Innova

'Gratz
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Old 03-24-07, 11:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidLee
  • You don't need THAT much clothing. Down to -6 windchill I had on a light shell with 3 layers & was very comfortable.
  • Leave earlier, especially on real cold days. I didn't think the cold would slow me down as much.
My first winter too and first time realizing these things.

Also:
  • 700c racer works great (at least in this city)
  • Knits are no good, especially mittens
  • There is no 'too cold'
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Old 03-25-07, 02:01 PM   #7
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When it is -10 C (14 F) or colder, carry water inside your jacket or take a drink every 5-10 minutes to keep the water moving. Otherwise, water bottle nozzles or hydration pack tubing will freeze solid.

Last edited by Tequila Joe; 03-25-07 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 03-25-07, 07:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidLee
  • On that unseasonably warm day you dressed down for the ride in you better make sure you pack for that cold ass ride home. Once & only ONCE I made this mistake.

I've made that mistake more than once.
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Old 05-19-07, 03:59 PM   #9
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HI . i would like to add to this thread ..
I live in stockholm , Sweden . we have very long winters and a very short summer
I havent been riding in the winter at all because its so damn cold , most of the time . I hate the cold and would much rather ride in the spring /autumn . but it looks like ill be riding this next winter 2007-2008 to and from work .

so my question(s) are what type of glovves are you guys using , for cold and COLDER days , do you have a couple different pairs ?

what type of head protection ( under your helmet ) do you guys wear on cold and COLDER days .
( i have found on the 4c to 5c days a polar fleece hat is too much and i sweat like mad .)

and finally i have a pair of Sidi blaze mtn shoes ( SPD ) they are very tight and really are only comfortable with very thin coolMax socks on. what type of winter NON clip shoes would you guys recommend for winter ?


Cheers T
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Old 05-19-07, 06:10 PM   #10
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I live in Wisconsin and we also have fairly long winters. What you need to wear to keep comftable will depend a great deal on your metabolism and how far you are riding. I comute about 5 miles (8 km) each way and start around 6:15 am. Except in hot weather I ride in the clothes that I plan to wear at work. When it is below about 50F (10C) I put a long sleeved t-shirt or a windbreaker over my short sleeved (+ t-shirt) work shirt. When it gets below about 40F I go to a windbreaker with a light quilted liner over my work shirt and start using some light knit gloves. Below 30F (OC) I put the long sleeved t-shirt under the lined windbreaker. Somewhere between 25 and 20F (-5 ishC) I add a down (well acutally polyester) vest and leather gloves. I'm also dressing a little warmer for work. below 20F I add a fleece hat under my helmut. I usually don't ride when it is below 10F (-15C). I also don't ride in heavy snow or if there is a lot of ice/slush or the edges of the road. I work with other people that have studded tires and ride virtually every day, even sub zero F days.
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Old 05-19-07, 11:05 PM   #11
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To answer your questions Soder:

This is what works for me: Under my helmet I wear a sirius skull cap that is completely windproof (it's available from www.mec.ca), any temperature under 0 degrees or so.

Hands: down to -5 or -10 C I wear Nanu lobster gloves from MEC, below that I find that mittens (from REI) work better.

I wear security guard (magnum) boots with Wigwam -30C socks, or sorels when it's really cold (I've ridden down to about -30C). The nice thing about the winter boots is that they generally have a rigid sole that reduces discomfort on the feet.

Warning: I spend the last two winters riding in Calgary - it doesn't snow much there, and the humidity is very low. Stockolm's conditions may be quite different.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:25 PM   #12
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Soderbiker,

Things that I have found that work well in the cold and are also inexpensive.

Head: From 40F down to about freezing I use a standard bike helmet with a gore-tex cover. This is cheap and works really well. Below freezing I use a free ride helmet or a vented snowboarding helmet. The fuller coverage of these types of helmets is much warmer in below freezing temps. The ventilation is important but is more appropriate for colder weather with less vents.

For times when it's just really cold I wear a thin balaclava underneath the helmet. And ski goggles. This keeps the whole face warm but you have to be careful how you breath when you stop or you fog up the goggles.

Gloves. Many options will work here but it's important that you can take them apart to dry out after riding. I use a medium thickness fleece glove and a nylon outer cover.

Feet: You might try a SPD platform pedal and some oversized free ride shoes with thick wool socks. I have tried all the winter cycling shoes and they are only good for about 90 minutes at freezing temps. 60 minutes at 20F for me. I think the important thing here is having a loose oversize fit for thick socks and a large surface area for the foot against the pedal so there is better blood circulation. All the winter shoes are for SPD pedals but the cold seems to come from the lack of blood circulating in the bottom of the foot. (So long as the shoe is not too tight elsewhere). You can also install SPD clips into the bottom of a light pair of winter boots. Here is a guy with a good foul weather set up.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Dec1999_K_icebike_commute.jpg (39.1 KB, 113 views)

Last edited by Hezz; 09-10-07 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:17 AM   #13
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My main takeaways included:
  • Cheap stuff will not last as long as you expect it to. Spend the money and buy good stuff.
  • The only problem with leaving the bike out overnight is frozen cables. Be sure to test them, especially the brakes, before you need them (experience speaks). A little warm water will fix any problem you might have.
  • Booties that cover your tennies are good things unless you want to carry separate shoes.
  • Be sure to stomp your feet, make Brrr'ing noises, and shake a bit while talking about how great it was to ride in the "crisp" air that morning. Your co-workers will think you're even more loony. Getting ice water instead of coffee is bonus points.
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Old 09-11-07, 11:31 PM   #14
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keep hot shots or other chemical heat pads with you. you'll appreciate them when you're changing a flat with bare fingers or your thing undergloves in -30!
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Old 09-12-07, 09:35 AM   #15
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This helmet got me through the winter last year with great success. On even the coldest days I didn't wear anything underneath, and I don't have a lot of hair. Combined with a half-face mask my head was toasty warm.

For gloves I used ordinary ski gloves, which were OK for the most part. My fingertips still got cold, but not to the point of it being dangerous. I'd probably go with "lobster claw" gloves next time.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:36 PM   #16
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well its not winter yet here in Sweden . but its on its way ... the trees are changing colors and a lot of leaves have fallen already ..
its chilly in the mornings .
i have already bought a SKULL CAP . i really needed 1 of these things since i dont have any hair i shave my head and in the mornings its very very cold and my forehead freezes . but that should be taken care of now .
i have tyres on order for the winter ( YAY ) .
and i have all the proper clothing now , for cycling this winter .
I am in the middle of deciding on which bike i should ride .
i really dont want to beat up my cannondale bad boy this winter , and on the otherhand io dont want to beat up my peugeot ( steel ride )
and since winter is on the way , i need ot make a decision fast .

Cheers T
PS . ill be posting often once winter hits. i hope i learn something here .
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Old 09-14-07, 12:13 PM   #17
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- WET and/or humid gloves/balaclava/clothing in general (because of the morning commute) are NOT great on the commute back home... (find some way to dry these OR bring backup pair of gloves... (at least))
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Old 09-14-07, 12:24 PM   #18
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well we have and over at work . i wonder , would that dry them enough ?



Cheers T
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Old 09-16-07, 06:36 PM   #19
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cold ride and cold shower

At work the big industrial water circulation system is not up and running when I shower at 6:45 am. So I get a cold shower after a cold ride to work!
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Old 09-16-07, 07:27 PM   #20
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keep hot shots or other chemical heat pads with you. you'll appreciate them when you're changing a flat with bare fingers or your thing undergloves in -30!
Oooh! good one ! Thanks!
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Old 09-16-07, 07:28 PM   #21
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well we have and over at work . i wonder , would that dry them enough ?



Cheers T
Sorry, Translation problem? Do not understand.
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Old 09-16-07, 08:16 PM   #22
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-regular winter gloves arent very warm
-i desire wool as much as coffee in the morning
-i should have bought the helmet cover instead of just wearing a hat
-chapstick is as important as water

im looking forward to this years winter. hope to get in some good miles
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Old 09-17-07, 07:34 AM   #23
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well we have and over at work . i wonder , would that dry them enough ?



Cheers T
an oven?
if so, yes, this could be an "efficient way" to dry gloves, but then i would carry a backup pair anyway...
i guess that humid gloves are still warmer than completely burned ones.
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Old 09-17-07, 07:41 AM   #24
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an oven?
- we do not have an oven at work but we have a microwave. i'll perform tests with it and publish results in a new thread.
- we could do some tests with a regular oven... we could come up with suggestions like: if its below freezing point, put your gloves at 375 for 10 minutes...
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Old 09-17-07, 04:28 PM   #25
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- we do not have an oven at work but we have a microwave. i'll perform tests with it and publish results in a new thread.
- we could do some tests with a regular oven... we could come up with suggestions like: if its below freezing point, put your gloves at 375 for 10 minutes...
A 2"-3" lenth of PVC/plastic pipe, with some sort of tripod legging, or mounted to a wood base with a hole over it, would allow you to place your cloves on one end of the pipe and set the assembly over a heating vent.
Or do like one person on here did last year, he got a $5.00 hair dryer with the extended diffuser on it, said he could dry his gloves and wool socks in less than 10 minutes for the lot.
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