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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 12-20-08, 12:54 PM   #1
Dangerous Dave
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What kind of temperatures do you guys encounter?

Where I live, it is typically never less than 25, and under 30 is rare, but I have read around a little and get the impression some of you are much more hardcore, ride on feet of snow, and cycle win well below 0F. What coping mechanisms do you use? How many clothes do you guys that cycle in under 0F wear. Is it true that supercooled bikes become so brittle that bits fall off?
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Old 12-20-08, 02:15 PM   #2
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I have commuted in -40C/F, but this ride was in -32C/-25F ... I talk about my coping mechanisms, what I wear, etc.

http://www.machka.net/brevet/Coldest_Century.htm

I've heard that plastic parts can become that brittle, but I've never had any bits of my bicycle fall off.
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Old 12-20-08, 04:02 PM   #3
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Man alive, that's jolly cold. -25 is incredible. I'm suprprised you still sweated enough to have to change your third layer all the time. I hope that sweat didn't freeze. If you had to change your top jersey every few minutes, wouldn't two have been sufficient?
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Old 12-20-08, 04:10 PM   #4
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Here in Cincinnati, the temps stay around 30 F for winter average, we get blast down to teens and an odd day below zero. I ride mostly at night on my commute so it's normally around 20-25 F. It gets easier and much more comfortable as the season continues; after a couple of days at low temps, 30 F feels nice...
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Old 12-20-08, 05:08 PM   #5
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We've hit -14 with windchill of -35 so far this winter in Minneapolis, and it's only gonna get colder. Honestly though, once you hit 0, anything below feels pretty much like the same ol' thing. Thankfully those kinds of temperatures don't last, either, and are more a once every other week sort of thing.
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Old 12-22-08, 04:42 AM   #6
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-35 is cold. I find with a waterproof jacket, that's also windproof. Do you still account for windchill even if your top layers are waterproof. A 21 degree difference is quite a lot and surely layering too much underneath could result in excess sweating/ hypothermia if you have to stop?
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Old 12-22-08, 08:27 AM   #7
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typically its single digits to teens in the morning in the winter here.

last monday it was 18 below.

that was rough.
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Old 12-22-08, 09:01 AM   #8
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Right now it is -8F with a wind chill warning of -25 to -35F.

I will wait until noon or so before I head out shopping. I want it to warm up a bit.
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Old 12-22-08, 10:43 AM   #9
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Where do you guys all live where you have it so cold? I feel bad moaning about English weather and having to wear long trousers.
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Old 12-22-08, 11:43 AM   #10
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I went out last night, about -25C with the wind chill. It was fine. Windproof is the key for me. My only problem lastnight was my head was too warm and was sweating.
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Old 12-22-08, 11:44 AM   #11
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wisconsin is damn cold. i think theres something wrong with me when it gets up to 20'f and i think its warm out
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Old 12-22-08, 11:49 AM   #12
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-3 c was the worst ... like ever

It does not get that cold here.
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Old 12-22-08, 02:11 PM   #13
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wisconsin is damn cold. i think theres something wrong with me when it gets up to 20'f and i think its warm out
Yup. I live in west central Wisconsin and we have had a bit of cooler weather this week. I understand we are looking at a snow storm again tomorrow.



Sheboygan? I grew up in De Pere.
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Old 12-22-08, 02:43 PM   #14
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Yup. I live in west central Wisconsin and we have had a bit of cooler weather this week. I understand we are looking at a snow storm again tomorrow.



Sheboygan? I grew up in De Pere.
actually im 15 miles west of sheboygan. de pere isnt too far away bout an hour. i wonder when this snow madness will end. or atleast just the frickin wind! snow removal is pointless when every thing drifts over in an hour and my yard looks like it has white sand dunes on it. its like -4 now before windchill.
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Old 12-22-08, 02:51 PM   #15
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With the wind it was a -20C ride into the wind this morning, arrived somewhat sweaty. It's always a tradeoff but at that temp, windproof is the boss. I am riding in the city with plenty of options in case of breakdown. If I were all alone out in the middle of nowhere, I'd be somewhat differently geared.

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Old 12-22-08, 03:12 PM   #16
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Ha Ha Ha im glad I wasnt there The longer thay build bicycles the crazyier the rider's get[under statement of the year?/Kenkayak
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Old 12-22-08, 03:16 PM   #17
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I had my first 0 degree ride (not including wind chill) this morning and my kona jake the snake was creaking like an old tall ship in the movies. I haven't had time to properly go over my bike to see what the issue may be but it seemed to be coming from the crankset/pedals/bottom bracket area. Do any of you experience something similar in the somewhat extreme cold or should I be expecting a more general issue?
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Old 12-22-08, 03:28 PM   #18
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Oh yea, things creak that don't creak in the summer. On the bike too.. . Give it a good going over and it should be fine. Some stuff does contract in the extreme cold. I had an older worn front der shifter that wouldn't engage once it got to -15 and the guts contracted. I also shattered wireless computer fork mount while bombing/snowbanks last year in a fit of whimsy/fun. Remove such things before heading out for snow fun rides.

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Old 12-22-08, 04:27 PM   #19
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Here in the Louisville area we had single-digits this morning. It was 6 degrees (F) when I left this morning. This is not normal for the area, but happens sometimes.

I was somewhat prepared, but I'm not sure I want to repeat the experience. Despite working to find stuff to keep my feet warmer, they were still painfully cold.

Another oddity: My cell phone battery (freshly charged) went dead in the cold. It perked up later once it warmed up. Luckily, my DiNotte lights worked just fine.
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Old 12-22-08, 06:23 PM   #20
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Another oddity: My cell phone battery (freshly charged) went dead in the cold. It perked up later once it warmed up. Luckily, my DiNotte lights worked just fine.
You must be new to the cold ... batteries die when they are cold. Cameras don't work, lights don't work, cell phones don't work ...

You have to carry anything with batteries in an inner pocket, next to your body, to keep them warm.
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Old 12-23-08, 10:24 AM   #21
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My front light didn't work two weeks ago in 28 degrees. Thankfully, there were no police and the area was well lit, so I could see. The red light still worked, so I could thankfully be seen. I looked at the light next morning and it was working again in the 37 degree weather. The light has worked perfectly in 31 degrees, so it seems there is a cutoff around 30. Maybe something or other freezes, and at 31 it hadn't quite had enough time to freeze. I also forgot my hat that 28 degree evening, which meant my ears hurt a lot by the time I got home.
I have been follwing Northern USA/ Canada weather and it has looked unseasonably cold.
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Old 12-23-08, 12:01 PM   #22
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if anyone cares, ive found that the cygolite dualcross holds up pretty well in the extreme cold. my commutes around and hour and i've been able to get two days on one charge when its really cold, usually get 4 or 5 hours.
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Old 12-23-08, 12:04 PM   #23
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Here in Buffalo the Winters are milder than one would expect considering the reputation we have. Thanks to the Lake Erie (primarily and occasionally minor influance from Lake Ontario) the temperature extreams are limmited till the lake(s) freeze over. During the Summer we have a hard time getting over 90F and during most of the winter the morning temps tend to be mostly between 15F and 32F. The only time things get REALY cold is when we get the air coming straight from the North (AKA from Northern Canada). That is when the temps can over in the single digits for a few days. I will admit... that is COLD. I call is crispy cold. At those temps the snow under foot just sounds different. You also can tell because you practically feel the moisture in your nostrils start to freeze if you breath in through you nose.

15F to 32F is no big deal. I wear a T-shirt and my Foxwear Evap coat. On my legs I wear Foxwear Power Shield pants. For shoes I wear my summer walking shoes. My riding shoes are almost all mesh... that works great at preventing hot sweaty feet in the Summer, but they are completely incapable of holding in any heat. I put on pedals with clips in the Fall. For days that I know the temps are going to stay in the low Teens or colder I'll wear my winter boots. They don't make the best riding shoes, but for 5 miles each way they will work just fine.

Hands - An old pair of Kombi Gortex Ski gloves work pretty well. The biggest problem I have with the gloves is that they don't let anywhere near enough sweat out and they get damp after longer rides. I am going to look into getting some pogies in the next few weeks and see how that works out.

I just wear a beenie cap hat most of the time. That work fine except my face starts to get pretty cold at 15F or lower. I just got a balaclava (I have to wait till tomorrow to officially unwrap it. That will provide my cheeks with more protection. For realy cold weather (low single digits) I will wear a PSolar face mask. It does add a little more resistance to breathing, but pre-heating the air you breath at those temps is VERY nice. Your lungs are much happier. I do have to "suck" the air a bit to get a full breath, but compared the the lung burning effects of 2F air, that is worth the effort.

I normally just wear my Tifosi glasses (clear lenses most of the Winter as the light is either low or completely gone when I ride). These don't fog up during riding except if I have a long stop at a traffic light. For realy cold days I will use my Ski goggles to ensure that I have every square inch of ski covered. At those temps + my riding speed the wind chill gets to be pretty crazy and it would take very little to get frost bite on any exposed skin.

The bike itself doesn't seem to mind much. It helps that my garage keeps the temps around freezing, and then at work I defrost the bike completely. That helps as I usually get most of the wet road conditions during the morning commute (thanks to lake effect snow).

Happy riding,
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Old 12-23-08, 12:18 PM   #24
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I have been follwing Northern USA/ Canada weather and it has looked unseasonably cold.
Yes, unfortunately, it is.
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Old 12-23-08, 12:28 PM   #25
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Honestly though, once you hit 0, anything below feels pretty much like the same ol' thing.
I can't agree with this. I can tell the difference between 0F and -15F. I can commute my 5 miles to work wthout completely covering my face down to -5F. Once it gets any colder or any significant wind chill I need goggles for the area my perscription glasses don't seal to. I give up trying at any windchill below -25F. So far this year we are averaging 10F colder than a normal December. I can't wait for January.
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