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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 10-25-07, 12:09 PM   #1
koko_t
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winters in utah

hello everyone, first time poster here.
I was about to ask this question, but found a response here:
Utah winter commuters

i've been commuting all summer, and am gearing up for my first winter. just thought I would revisit this old thread in case others have similar questions...
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Old 10-25-07, 02:58 PM   #2
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I commute twice per week as long as possible here in the Cache Valley.

I have Lake MX255 shoes with waterproof uppers purchased a full size large to accomodate really thick wool socks. Sugoi Resistor booties over the top of them gets me down below 20F but just barely. My feet are always what gets cold first.

Showers Pass rain pants over unpadded Pearl Izumi thermal tights over padded shorts and a Showers Pass rain jacket over a thermal jersey over a silkweight tank likewise gets me down to about 20F. They also work with jeans and a silkweight tank beneath a sweatshirt or similar top.

An Outdoor Research Windstopper balaclava with a little vent for breathing beneath my Bell Ghisallo helmet with the little adjuster wheel in the back beneath a Louis Garneau helmet cover. The little wheel makes it very quick and easy to adjust for different balaclavas and training caps.

Still working on the gloves thing. My ski gloves are too warm at 20F and my 661 cold weather gloves with liners just aren't quite enough to get me down there.

All this gear has been aquired one layer at a time over about four years. It's probably a $700-$800 outfit when it's all added up. I can only max out the layers like this maybe five times before the red air days here in the happy valley begin to force me inside so I couldn't have justified it all at once.
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Old 10-26-07, 11:24 AM   #3
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ah the dreaded inversion, getting a bit smoggy already out there!

on the coldest mornings so far (down to the low 40's, upper 30's), i've gotten a way with the following on my 4 mile, 2 climb commute (short by many standards).

well vented Spd shoes, wool socks, regular pants (cords, dockers, etc.), smart wool thermal, fleece midweight, Craft courier jacket, Pearl Izumi thermal fleece gloves, and a mountain hardwear microfleece beenie underneath a helmet.

Ditto on the circular wheel, those are the best for quick adjustments.

I've found that the toes get cold first.
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Old 11-25-07, 11:51 AM   #4
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We should just let that old thread die, as there were 3 posts, and 2 of them were from someone that hasn't been around in a while.

I'm going to need some pointers myself for winter riding in Utah. Not commuting, just exercise. I'm thinking it's going to be a bit different than the SoCal or Australian winters that I'm used to.

My big question is about keeping my legs warm. Last year was easy, as I rode my BMX race bike in the snow with my racing pants. Toasty warm (I'll probably do a bit of that this year as well) but baggy kevlar is probably not going to cut it on the road. So are leggings worthwhile? Or do I need proper tights? I can work out keeping my upper body and hands warm, but what works best for legs? I expect to be riding in either 30 degree weather, or else I'll have to put my bike on the trainer in my office and ride in front of the fireplace.
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Old 11-29-07, 05:38 PM   #5
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It's all experimentation, and I definitely don't have a system down yet. Some days, I get by with my REI riding pants over padded shorts. Sometimes I'll want tights under them. Sometimes I'll go back and put leg warmers on under them, and take them off. Sometimes it's so bad I wear a base layer under everything, with two long sleeve jerseys and a windbreaker. Sometimes, I have to squeeze in a hoodie, because I'm running out of jerseys. Sometimes I just grab a blanket, and sit on the porch and drink coffee and wish I was riding. I have found that expensive cycling winter gloves suck even worse than the seven dollar ski gloves at walgreens. If it's a long ride and I want the padding, I'll wear regular cycling gloves under them. I hate winter here. Stupid snow, stupid drivers, stupid layers of stupid clothes, and stupid balaclacavacacavas. Which I will NEVER be able to pronounce. Stupid girlfriend laughing at me when I say baclava.

I have taken to riding with one pannier so I always have a place to throw layers I remove, or stash extras. It's handy because sometimes the sun will drop behind a cloud, and the temperature will drop right out.

Winter sucks. I would like to try a looping self supported century here in Salt Lake one of these weekends, though. Just to see if I can do it without getting hit by a damn UPS truck.
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Old 11-29-07, 05:49 PM   #6
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Dude, let's do the Alpine Loop in the snow!
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Old 11-29-07, 05:53 PM   #7
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Holy crap. That sounds like pure hell. okay. I'm not sure I could climb that beast without the snow, but I would be up for the attempt. Besides, they would probably have to rescue me with a helicopter, and I could be on TV. Just say when and I'm there.
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Old 11-29-07, 05:57 PM   #8
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Just kidding. My new bike doesn't have a triple, so I would be coughing up a lung roadside in no time. We got caught in the rain on our Goldwing doing the loop once. Sucked. But I am looking forward to doing some winter rides, once I work out the clothing.
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Old 11-29-07, 06:20 PM   #9
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I know winters can be wicked in SLC. I remember how bad the fog gets.....London has nothing on that valley on certain days. I also remember an extreme "thunder snow" experience out on the Salt Flats several years ago. In January. More lightning than in most summer storms and the whole sky was an emerald green color.
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Old 11-30-07, 01:36 PM   #10
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I know winters can be wicked in SLC.
Y'all can come up and ride with me in Logan if you think SLC is bad. The inversions get worse, it's 10 degrees colder, and the fog gets thick as pea soup. At least I don't have to fight as much traffic and urban sprawl. Although I will get in a few rides between December and February, I believe the Fort Beunaventura cyclocross race on December 8th will represent the official end of my cycling season. The forecast still looks OK, about 20F at 8AM, for another commute come Tuesday or Wednesday.

Leggings? Do you mean leg warmers/knee warmers? I hate them. They never stay up and I don't mean pull them back up every 20 miles. It's more like every 20 minutes. I can't even get across town.

I'll be going after the Alpine Loop before they open the road to cars next spring. I'd prefer to make a weekend out of it since it's more than an hour away though. PM me if you'd like to get together and do it.
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Old 11-30-07, 02:00 PM   #11
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My new bike arrived today.
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Old 12-01-07, 09:50 AM   #12
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Brian tell us about your new bike.

And holy crap, talk about SLC Winter weather!! This is insane. I thought it would be fun to ride in this blizzard, and got out the mountain bike. I couldn't even stay upright, let alone turn. So then, I thought I better buy a snow shovel, being a relatively new home owner. I couldn't even drive straight. So now, I'm sitting here with coffee, bored out of my head, wondering if I should build a snowman or what.

Maybe I should look into getting cross country skis!
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Old 12-01-07, 09:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Aloyzius View Post
Brian tell us about your new bike.

And holy crap, talk about SLC Winter weather!! This is insane. I thought it would be fun to ride in this blizzard, and got out the mountain bike. I couldn't even stay upright, let alone turn. So then, I thought I better buy a snow shovel, being a relatively new home owner. I couldn't even drive straight. So now, I'm sitting here with coffee, bored out of my head, wondering if I should build a snowman or what.

Maybe I should look into getting cross country skis!
I'll grab my shovel, throw it in the Jeep and drive on up. We'll make a snow man army.

I jumped on the BikesDirect bandwagon, and got myself one of these:

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Old 12-01-07, 09:57 AM   #14
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Sweet! I expect a full report, once this weather gives you a chance to ride.

And wow. You are fast.
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Old 12-01-07, 10:04 AM   #15
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It's a hot cocoa kind of day today.
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Old 12-01-07, 02:25 PM   #16
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I tried to ride. It didn't work so well. I got so bored I did this.


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Old 12-01-07, 02:44 PM   #17
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I'm going to go to the bike store. What do you think of layering lycra, long johns, then a pair of these?



I raced in pants like these, and they're about eleventy billion degrees.
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Old 12-01-07, 05:43 PM   #18
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ummmm.... you should be plenty warm. I was. It was the staying upright part that gave me trouble. The only plowed roads up here are the busy ones. The others have nine inches of white stuff.
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Old 12-01-07, 05:47 PM   #19
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It hasn't stopped yet.
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Old 12-01-07, 10:37 PM   #20
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I went out there today on my MTB, and you're right. It was hard to stay up. Thankfully, I did switch out the clipless pedals so that I could ride in my boots. 3 miles in 7-8 inches of the stuff and I was ready to go home.

I found that the trick to staying upright was to not make any sudden front wheel adjustments. If I did, I'd start to tip over to the side and then I was doing doughnuts until I fell over.

Keep it as straight as possible so that the rear tire rides in the front tire's tracks, and it's kinda ok. Until you get to wet slush-then you're walking.
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Old 12-02-07, 01:26 PM   #21
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Hey! here's an idea.

Zed, a guy in SLC that does the saltcycle blog came up with this one. He used zip ties, 8mm, one between each spoke, all the way around the tire and rim. Kind of like chaining up, for your bike. He said he had a LOT more control even in deep snow, and had very little trouble riding around. Has anyone else tried this? I'm going to pilfer some zip ties at work tomorrow and keep some around for the next blizzard.
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Old 12-02-07, 03:39 PM   #22
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I'm thinking I'll swap out the clipless for some big BMX platforms. As far as the zip tie suggestion, I'm not sure I could do that to my new Vuelta wheelset. But I got a pack of 500 on ebay for $11, so at least I'm prepared, should I decide to give it a go.
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