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  1. #1
    Senior Member fujibike's Avatar
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    Cold Weather Riding

    I've been an avid spring/summer rider but this year I'm vowing to carry on into winter when the weather is cooperative. I'm not so concerned about the cold, but the winds and the precip have and will keep me at bay. Anyway, I've been riding in these cooler temps - upper 30s/lower 40s. I'm layered but otherwise riding in favorable conditions (<15 mph winds). I honestly haven't been riding as much with mileage falling off from about 130/wk to 70/wk. Part of that is time/conditions but the other part is I just don't seem to have as much energy in the cold weather. Does the body use such resources to maintain warmth thus draining my capacity for longer rides?

  2. #2
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    Take it one day at a time, the easiest way to ride in winter is just not to stop. Your body will adjust with the weather and you can adjust what you wear slowly as the temp. drops. Try riding in different conditions it is not as hard as you imagine to ride in the conditions winter throws at you, plus the winter world is beautiful and riding in it gives a great sence of satisfaction. It is harder because cold air is thicker than warm air, baseballs don't fly as far and you will not ride as fast, keep it up, don't get discouraged if your milage drops as long as you continue to ride your in good shape.

  3. #3
    One less car Jay H's Avatar
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    yeah, the body should be using more calories to keep warm in the cold versus summertime, but I don't think you can (or should) use that as an excuse not to ride It's not that significant and it's not really like we don't get enough calories in our daily lives.

    After the first few miles when you warm up, you'll find riding in the cold is pretty fun. Remember to dress in layers and it might be useful to carry a messenger bag for the first bunch of rides so you can layer and delayer, eventually you'll get the hang of dressing properly and may be able to go with a large saddlebag or just bear the cold for the first few miles. You just have to get out there and learn from yourself how you feel.

    Liner gloves and windcovers for the feet are generally the standard warm weather gear, check out the winter cycling forum for more info anyway..

    Happy riding!

    Jay

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    Senior Member RobRyb's Avatar
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    Dropping from 130 to 70 miles per week is consistant with my own experience. I base my rides on time, not distance. It's just a lot harder to move fast when I'm cold. I've learned to drop my pace and enjoy the scenary more during the winter months. Besides, winter is the time to develop a foundation, not speed.

    Try riding as soon as you can after a snow! Once they've cleared the roads, the miles of white fields are beautiful.

  5. #5
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Eat an extra engery bar.

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    cold weather means much less daylight and much less riding time. Thats not good.

  7. #7
    Look Ma, NO hands!
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    Less time! This is the very reason I got a light system and an old mt bike with slicks and finders. Ride, ride, ride!
    I did 30 miles last night with the geese honking the whole time, that's sorta strange. I find the cars give me more room at night than in the daytime. I have also found that the wind is often light to nonexistant at night here.

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    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Quote Originally Posted by uciflylow
    Less time! This is the very reason I got a light system and an old mt bike with slicks and finders. Ride, ride, ride!
    I did 30 miles last night with the geese honking the whole time, that's sorta strange. I find the cars give me more room at night than in the daytime. I have also found that the wind is often light to nonexistant at night here.
    Did you also notice how much darker it is?

  9. #9
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    This being my first cold-weather season I can do nothing but agree with everyone else based on my observations.

    I ride with a rack trunk so I can keep extra layers handy, and be able to remove layers as I go. I have noticed a marked decrease in speed, but have also noticed more weight loss consistent with calories burned for heat as well as energy. Weight for me won't be an issue for another year at least so the more I loose the happier I am. With the excpetion of last weeks 35 mph plus winds, the 10-15mph are not an issue at all. Don't ride in the rain, but will probably try the snow. Have only been out down to 17F so far, and the only problem was a frozen water bottle. Got the new Night Rider HID system, and have lasted 4 hours so far with enough light to get home too so the major obstacle (Darkness) has been over-come. I also agree that the cars are very respectful at night with enough illumination I don't catch them by surprise. For me longer rides haven't been a problem but I have resigned myself to duration instead of speed in the cold.

    As for uciflylow's observations of the geese, have to second the "strange" feeling. One of the tow-path trails goes through a beaver marsh, and the flocks of geese landing can be very disconcerting. Looks like the flying monkeys from the wizard of OZ, and the noise is tremendous. Won't be long even the geese will be gone. Last night's ride was mostly rabbits, the deer must have been off in the woods rutting, just what we don't need around here, more deer! Other great observations, without the trees, a fox and at a couple of coyotes, the beavers of course, I get great skyline views of downtown Cleveland from 20-30 miles off, clear skys and great moons, lunar eclipse, mars for a week or so, and the space station so far 3 times this year. Night rides for me result in a child-like wonderment and so far this year, that wonderment has been better in the clear winter skys than it was in the warm muggy summer.

  10. #10
    Senior Member fujibike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohio Trekker

    As for uciflylow's observations of the geese, have to second the "strange" feeling.
    Speaking of strange feelings with our avian friends.... On an early morning ride this past weekend, unbeknownst to me, I scared up a heron. Needless to say he scared the wits outta me when flying about 5 feet over my head. It's a big bird if you haven't seen one - wingspan about 6' ??? As for geese, if I don't see scores of them a day I think something is wrong.

    I just can't seem to bring myself to ride at night. Too many close calls for me during daylight hours and I'm am very cautious. I wear highly visible clothing, obey traffic laws, stick to the right as much as possible, select routes with wide shoulders or bike lanes, and go out of my way to give drivers the right of way at intersections. But, I've been hit once and nearly hit a couple of other times. I think night riding might turn the odds further against me.

  11. #11
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Night riding is fun and it also gives you the perfect reason to visit your LBS and spend some money in quality lights. If you need an additional reason, that is .

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  12. #12
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    I seem to be able to keep relatively warm until temps approach 0. I can keep everything warm except for my forehead and eyes. With the wind chill effect I get what I call 'Brain freeze". Have tried glasses and goggles but don't like them. Any suggestions???

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    i have to ride to school four miles every morning at 6:30 and its pretty much night at that time. anyways, i dont have any lights on my bike, and i think im missing a couple reflectors too. i never make an effort to wear colorful clothing either. in fact just this morning i took notice that i was wearing dark blue pants and shirt, with brown shoes and a dark red bike.

    i like in sortof a city area, so the street lighting is sufficient for me to see, but cars have trouble seeing me. basically i just go out assuming that i am invisible unless i make eye contact with a driver. i take sidewalks most of the way, despite their terrible condition, and i make pretty good time too.

    as it gets colder i plan to make no changes besides clothing and tires. i just changed my tires today to some knobby ones. i rode through cleveland winters for several years, so i think a columbus winter should be a breeze. as for the really cold days, what i used to do was just ride through it, but it was really hard and it was only like a mile and a half. i think this winter ill buy myself a full face mask thing with holes only where the eyes are.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I think it is just hard to get motivated to do anything when it is dark and cold outside for weeks and months at a time.

    No matter how much it seems like a physical problem, I think the biggest problem is in one's head.
    Mike

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    I think it is just hard to get motivated to do anything when it is dark and cold outside for weeks and months at a time.

    No matter how much it seems like a physical problem, I think the biggest problem is in one's head.
    Mike, VERY well said indeed!! This time of year gets so depressing, but moreso for me being back on my bike again. It is all in the head, but for me preparing for cold and snow is one thing, but preparing for cold AND rain, an entirely different one, and one I am not prepared for. Been looking at rain-pants, but having been out in the rain so I know that it's going to run down my helmet-neck-and into my thermal layer, giving me yet another chanel to block. So rain-pants are only one part of the puzzle.

    Maybe someone could share some clues on riding in the rain while trying to stay warm too.

  16. #16
    Passing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by fujibike
    Speaking of strange feelings with our avian friends.... On an early morning ride this past weekend, unbeknownst to me, I scared up a heron. Needless to say he scared the wits outta me when flying about 5 feet over my head. It's a big bird if you haven't seen one - wingspan about 6' ??? As for geese, if I don't see scores of them a day I think something is wrong.
    We have a heron rookerie on one of our rides, and they are amazing birds. They seem like a throw-back to prehistoric times, and I'm always thinking pteradactyl when I see them. Can't imagine one getting that close to me though.

    I can understand your not wanting to increase your odds, and respect your not wanting to ride at night, I actually prefer the trails at night, since there are very few people around, and I don't have to worry about cars, but I am finding myself enjoying the road at night more and more since I seem to be getting much more respect on the road at night with all the light, than I get in the day when I should seemingly be more visible. I am lucky to have a nice paved trail a short road ride away for the nights I don't want to think about traffic.

  17. #17
    Got Jesus? bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
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    This article is written primarily from an MTB perspective...but much of the advice should port over to road riding as well...

    bikeCOLORADO Winter Riding Tips

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    Instead of a mask, you might try a thin layer of Vaseline (i.e., Petroleum Jelly) on your face, lips, and hands. It blocks the wind and reduces skin dryness. This method seems to work well when the temperature ranges in the mid-30's and low 40's.

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    I agree with a couple of others above who said that it is more difficult to motivate oneself to ride in the wintertime. It's true. At least, it's true in my own case. Something about the early nights, the cold weather outside, the snow; it all tends to incline me toward retirement.

    But, just as in the warm weather, I have *never* gone on a bike ride and regretted it. I try to bear that in mind as I get ready to go.

    If I had my choice, I would prefer that it never get cold and snowy. I prefer riding in the warmer weather, other things equal. But the fact is that it does snow, and I certainly won't get off of my bike because of it. As the weeks go by, furthermore, I find myself looking forward to braving the weather. It becomes another occasion for cycling masochism, like hard hills or a mean sprint or anything else that is part of one's routine. It's fun.

    It's true that it's slower in the wintertime. I am slower, anyway. The cold air, the extra clothing, and (often) the snow all conspire to slow us down. C'est la vie. You can't always choose your riding conditions. Even in warmer weather, there are days when you're slower because of wind or what have you. Not every day is ideal, in other words, and the wintertime is just another non-ideal set of days. But so what? It's still bike riding, and just as riding is fun in the summer even with a headwind it's fun in the cold, too. The point is to be out riding, and doing what you want.

    Winter riding, especially at night, can bring solitude and peace like at no other time of the year. So, that's nice. The downside is that sometimes it's a bit gloomy out there. I try to get in as much daylight riding as I can as the winter goes by. I find I look forward to riding more that way. Night riding is fun, though, and I do a lot of it in the wintertime simply because there is so much night this time of year.

    Bringing extra clothes is a good idea. I bring a set of rain gear whenever I go out, in case it starts snowing. Then I can ride whenever I like and forget about the conditions.

    Goggles, good gloves, all the clothing discussed in great detail on this forum all go a long way.

    A big snowstorm blew through here tonight; I had to make sure I had gloves and goggles handy. But it was fun to get out there, and more fun still to roll by cars slowly making their way out of the snowy and crowded lot.

    Snow and cold is like having a time share on the world, with you getting it almost all to yourself in the winter time. I doubt I'll see but a handful of cyclists again until March.

  20. #20
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    I enjoyed a nice brisk ride yesterday evening along the Chicago Lakefront.
    A 27 degree windchill...i was warm and toasty from cranium to ankle.
    The problem was with de feet----I think i'm gonna invest in (make that, convince my wife to purchase )the Lake MX300 biking shoe...I had to cut my excursion short because of cold toes.

    I had woolsocks covered by a polypro liner---with roadshoes covered by a waterproof,windproof cover.
    that configuration didn't quite work.
    I was pumped for the ride but i did have to battle mind fatigue during the bus ride home.
    I got sleepy and thought of nothing more than a warm room.
    I fought off the ez way out and hit the path...it was cold but relaxing..very few skaters,dog-walker,joggers to navigate.
    I bundled up--took my minidisc with me with some of my fav music and went for a ride...

  21. #21
    contre nous de la tyranie
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    I'm more subject to face freeze

    Quote Originally Posted by lowell
    I seem to be able to keep relatively warm until temps approach 0. I can keep everything warm except for my forehead and eyes. With the wind chill effect I get what I call 'Brain freeze". Have tried glasses and goggles but don't like them. Any suggestions???
    I refuse to give up though! I'm ordering Outdoor Research "gorilla" face mask/ balacalva. Contact me in a few weeks if you want to know how this works out. Of course we will be lucky if I get to test it in sub-zero temps. Its been almost tropical lately!

  22. #22
    Friend of Jimmy K naisme's Avatar
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    One of the things I've done in the sub-zeros is getting a balacava, and wearing a hat. The balacava pulls down to about my eye brows, and the hat gives that added extra insulation. I've tried goggles, but they take too long to de fog, so I've *** three different pairs of glasses, well, six, cause the smith's have interchangable lens. And I also have a pair of safety glasses if it is really nasty out, and I don't want to crud up my regular glasses. The safety glasses are scratched up nicely thankyou, and there was one ride where they even iced up on me. It wasn't in sub-zero weather, it was in a MN spring rain that wasn't snow and it wasn't rain. There was a sheet of ice over me, the bike, the road, I was riding in bike shorts, and the sleet bit into my legs. What a miserable ride that was!

    One other piece of clothing I made form an old T-shirt. I cut off the sleave, along with material from the shirt so I could fashion a "dickie" out of it, looks like a turtleneck, but it's just a T-shirt sleave. I can pull it up over my nose, so with the head encased in the balacava, the neck and face in this "dickie," my eyes behind glasses, and my head iwth a hat on it well, I'm toasty.

    Lastly. I found that if I am wearing glasses in the colder temps I need to make sure the ear pieces stay on the out side of the layer closest to the skin. I've made the mistake of putting on the glasses and then the hat and freezing my ears because the wind follows the ear pieces. It feels goofy the first few times, but the warmth is immeasurable.
    Last edited by naisme; 12-04-03 at 11:30 AM.
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  23. #23
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naisme
    I found that if I am wearing glasses in the colder temps I need to make sure the ear pieces stay on the out side of the layer closest to the skin. I've made the mistake of putting on the glasses and then the hat and freezing my ears because the wind follows the ear pieces. It feels goofy the first few times, but the warmth is immeasurable.
    Good idea - I'm going to try that. I get tired of the wind and the extra wind noise comming in around my glasses.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  24. #24
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Man you guys are crazy This is really my first winter riding experience. They are never too horible in the Mts of Virginia but it gets cold and windy. Anyway I cut down my weekly 150 mile average to about 30. But 10 miles three times a week doing 45 - 60 minute cyclocross intervals makes you feel like you rode 60 miles on the road. This works for me just fine and keeps me plenty warm in just 2 poly pro layers and tights. The property I rent a house on has 65 acres of farm land that I ride on and last nite it was snow melt slop. I did 4 miles in one hour and almost puked but it was a hell of a lot of fun. The red necks are hostile around here so I like being off the roads for awhile plus it is dark when I go to work and dark when I get back and I don't like being on the road in the dark but in a field is just fine

  25. #25
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    needed gear.

    I got stuck riding far later than planned yesterday. I was pretty cold..The area I felt it the most was about my neck.Today I have a sore throat.
    Anyone seen like a gore tex scarf..Was not so cold I needed a baklava.sp? Anyone notice how sensitive your throat is to the cold...Throad, then hands and feet..I have the needed gear for the last two mentioned areas , but nothing for the throat..
    The extended ride I found myself in yesterday, the night air was probably in the mid-40's...

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