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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 11-04-07, 04:13 PM   #1
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Northern Winter Riders ?

I have been reading a lot of posts here and always find that when those southerners talk about winter riding they are often talking about something completely different... temperatures that hover just above freezing are still considered short weather here.



So who else will be riding where it gets REALLY cold ?

I'm in Edmonton, Alberta where winters are usually pretty dry but can also be freaking cold... I set up my winter gear to handle temperatures as low as -40 C which is the same as -40 F.
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Old 11-04-07, 04:58 PM   #2
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I'm in Anchorage AK. This is the sunny part of Alaska, so temps range from the 30's above to about -20f below. We're too close to the gulf to get much colder. Last year at it was 6 above, but we've got chinooks right now and it's in the high 30's which SUCKS because I've got my ice bike all ready to beta test but nothing to ride on but cold dry ground. The combination of high snowfall with periodic chinooks means we get amazing amounts of ice in an average winter. Inches thick on the sideroads sometimes.
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Old 11-04-07, 05:07 PM   #3
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I spent many years riding in Winnipeg, MB and am now doing my winter cycling in central Alberta (where it is a bit warmer than Winnipeg).

I've done commutes at -40 ... and this was my coldest "long" ride: http://www.machka.net/brevet/Coldest_Century.htm
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Old 11-04-07, 05:17 PM   #4
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Machka - Mebbe we'll see each other one of these days... I'll be the guy dressed as a ninja and will probably be riding this.

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Old 11-04-07, 07:36 PM   #5
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I ride in Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska. Temps get down to 60 below (or lower) in North Pole just south of town where I ride sometimes. I dress in layers, wear Lake boots w/ Sidi toasters and go slow (you don't have to adjust to go slow, you just do)
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Old 11-04-07, 07:42 PM   #6
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The North Pole is just south of where you ride? That's wild.
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Old 11-04-07, 08:54 PM   #7
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Riding for fun and commuting the same way all winter in Minnesota but..it just doesn't seem fun below 0 F. Especially with winds!! But then, I moved here from SW Arizona and am a cold weather wimp....
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Old 11-04-07, 09:34 PM   #8
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The North Pole is just south of where you ride? That's wild.
North Pole is a town below Fairbanks Alaska

I'm in Palmer Alaska, Matuanuska Valley. It is a drier than Anchorage as it's more inland and a little colder. We get to about 30 below sometimes. What makes it worse in my area is the winds off the Matanuska glacier. Windchill REALLY drops the temps.
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Old 11-04-07, 09:40 PM   #9
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Duluth, MN here.

Love riding in blizzards and in the extreme cold. Also, a good freezing rain makes me grin from ear to ear.
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Old 11-05-07, 12:25 PM   #10
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North Pole is a town below Fairbanks Alaska

I'm in Palmer Alaska, Matuanuska Valley. It is a drier than Anchorage as it's more inland and a little colder. We get to about 30 below sometimes. What makes it worse in my area is the winds off the Matanuska glacier. Windchill REALLY drops the temps.
"Winds" doesn't really capture it for an outsider, I suspect. For those who haven't had the pleasure, imagine standing in a NASA windtunnel with ambient air temp in the teens and then getting hit with 90 mph winds filled with razor sharp glacial sand. Back when I was doing a driving commute from Willow to Anchorage I remember one sideswipe gust out on the hay fields that picked up a fully loaded tote from the back of my pickup and tossed it far out into the frozen swamp. I can't imagine actually riding in that stuff. That was an interesting commute even by car. I'd start the morning at thirty below zero in the supercooled air around Willow, go through the brutal winds of Palmer and end up in the icy blizzards of Anchorage. Then back again at night! One of the few commutes around where one can drive through multiple red alert weather zones, each with a different terror in store. It was all fun till I flipped my truck at 45.
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Old 11-05-07, 01:06 PM   #11
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Cosmoline, that icy story made me put on a fleece jacket just reading it in the comfort of my home! That is absolutely wild and should give anyone a bit more respect for Mother Nature and her actions!
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Old 11-05-07, 01:27 PM   #12
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Spenard? Palmer? Fairbanks!! Holy clap!!

I Google Map'd your locations and my screen froze.
I only need to think of you guys to motivate myself when I find it difficult to pull on the winter gear before riding into the office.

Stay warm.
Cheers!

T.J.

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Old 11-05-07, 02:05 PM   #13
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Man, I thought Rochester was northern compared to some of the people who post for advice. But clearly I am one of the southerners as compared to you guys, if I had to guess I'd think the winter average around me is right around 20F.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:10 PM   #14
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I set up my winter gear to handle temperatures as low as -40 C which is the same as -40 F.
Okay, you got me! I ride all year, but the best I've done thus far is -7F at night. I wasn't cold at all, and could have certainly gone colder. It's all about the dress, and the machine.

If it ever gets to -40F, I'll probably just stay home.

... Brad
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Old 11-05-07, 02:19 PM   #15
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The Matanuska Winds are GREAT when they are at your back, no need to pedal. Into the wind is an excercise in pain and insanity.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:22 PM   #16
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-20 f. is about as cold as I care to ride in. Last winter my left eye froze shut during a downhill stretch in subzero temps. I made the mistake of prying it open, tore the skin and got a nasty infection. If both eyes had frozen shut I would have been really hosed.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:34 PM   #17
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did you have goggles on?? Don't go out without them. That sounds awful!! I had my contact freeze in my eyes this fall. I didn't really feel anything until I got into work, I took them out and had bloodshot eyes all day. That was my wakeup call that sunglasses weather was over.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:37 PM   #18
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I really need to get some nice skiing goggles. My current set are cruddy ones and just fog up.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:52 PM   #19
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I'll pack it in around -20*f. I'll stop riding for my own amusement (but continue commuting) somewhere in the single digits above.
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Old 11-05-07, 06:39 PM   #20
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In my experience the universe colder than -20 f. starts to shift. Physics change. And they change again below -40f. and get even more surreal. I draw then line where body parts can start to fall off.
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Old 11-05-07, 07:20 PM   #21
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In Northern New York the cycling season is 10 months long, July and August is too damn hot to ride
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Old 11-05-07, 08:39 PM   #22
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In my experience the universe colder than -20 f. starts to shift. Physics change. And they change again below -40f. and get even more surreal. I draw then line where body parts can start to fall off.
Yeah, things don't work right in those temps, a geared bike becomes a single speed. People become Abominable Snowmen

I have some may layers on in this picture, I could hardly pedal. Also, the slipper boots weren't good traction...they don't call them slippers for nothing! I don't recommend them for winter riding.

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Old 11-05-07, 08:43 PM   #23
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In Northern New York the cycling season is 10 months long, July and August is too damn hot to ride
I like cold better than hot. It's much easier to get/stay warm than it is to cool off.

But when it comes to tubing, warmer is better


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Old 11-05-07, 10:59 PM   #24
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There's a good reason my winter bike (the Kuwahara) is a rigid fixed gear and has been lubed with synthetic grease...

If the weather is above freezing I'll ride almost any one of my bikes.
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Old 11-05-07, 11:24 PM   #25
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In Northern New York the cycling season is 10 months long, July and August is too damn hot to ride
Too hot in July and August? Dude, I grew up in Ballston Lake and I don't ever remember it being too hot in the summer. In fact, I don't remember it ever going above 80. Now, the black flies, that's a different story. We pretty much rode all year long, except when the snow got really deep. Really deep there is above six feet.

I live in Milwaukee now, which is gets dammed cold in the winter. In fact, sometimes in January we are colder than Alaska. Windchills can go to 60 below farenheit here. To be fair, normal winters the temp ranges from about 10 below to the high 20s. The problem here is the wind. We had gusts of 55 mph today with a falling temp.

What do you people do in high winds? they are a pain to ride in.
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