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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 08-08-10, 06:44 AM   #1
Machka 
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Sub-freezing temps vs 5C and rain

I have now experienced two different types of winter ...

1) Sub-freezing temps, piles of snow in the ditches, patches of ice on the roads etc.

2) Cool temps (0C to 10C) and lots of rain.


An observation ...

I rode outside more in the first type of winter ... even when the temperatures got quite cold. There was an element of challenge dressing up in warm clothes and taking on the cold. And there was an element of desperation to get out of the house and ride outside in any conditions by about mid-January.

Now that I live in an area where the winters are cool and rainy, I'm having trouble motivating myself to ride on cooler, rainy days. Being soaked at 5C is just miserable, and I keep thinking that tomorrow will be a better day, so I'll ride then ... but of course, it rains then too.
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Old 08-08-10, 10:50 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I have now experienced two different types of winter ...

1) Sub-freezing temps, piles of snow in the ditches, patches of ice on the roads etc.

2) Cool temps (0C to 10C) and lots of rain.


An observation ...

I rode outside more in the first type of winter ... even when the temperatures got quite cold. There was an element of challenge dressing up in warm clothes and taking on the cold. And there was an element of desperation to get out of the house and ride outside in any conditions by about mid-January.

Now that I live in an area where the winters are cool and rainy, I'm having trouble motivating myself to ride on cooler, rainy days. Being soaked at 5C is just miserable, and I keep thinking that tomorrow will be a better day, so I'll ride then ... but of course, it rains then too.
Hang in there, your shadows are getting shorter. I know, because mine are getting longer.
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Old 08-08-10, 11:25 AM   #3
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I'd much rather ride in sub-zero temps that on cold, wet days.
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Old 08-08-10, 11:29 AM   #4
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you just need to get good rain gear just like you had the perfect gear for the cold..right? I agree that I would take the cold but if you have no other choice...
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Old 08-08-10, 01:37 PM   #5
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Agree, wet and cool is the pits. I much prefer a dry, bitterly cold winter day to ride in.
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Old 08-09-10, 03:07 PM   #6
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I agree that it's often easier to deal with the cold.

But good rain gear does work for those conditions. "breathable" rain gear is both waterproof AND windproof, so it keeps you from getting wet and also when it drops below freezing keeps the wind off you. Not cheap though, but my better winter gear isn't cheap either. Actually - I use my rain jacket for winter riding in all conditions. :-) So not already having the jacket, it's worked for both.
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Old 08-09-10, 03:41 PM   #7
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I presume that this is a matter of adaptation. You have been riding in cold dry weather and you have learned how to cope with it, but not with periods of cold wet weather. In general I agree that the cold wet weather is more challenging. My way of dealing with it is a ski helmet with a visor protecting the face and holes in the helmet closed off. Otherwise, I use a rain cape and a rain cover for the gear I am carrying. In the upper parts of my body I have layers that can be closed or opened, regulating the amount of heat I retain. In practice there is hardly any weather during which I might not look forward to riding.
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Old 08-18-10, 11:18 PM   #8
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I agree, cold rain is worse than sub-zero temps. My rain experience improved a lot when I stopped trying to keep my legs dry, focussing instead on keeping them warm. My winter cycling pants are almost like tights and are part neoprene, and they get wet but not cold, and dry quickly enough to be OK by the time work is over.
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Old 08-19-10, 07:02 PM   #9
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You're not having fun yet... put on a rain jacket, a warm wool shirt, etc and then just go for it.
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Old 08-23-10, 07:03 AM   #10
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I actually like the cold rain more. I found out, though, that I REALLY need to keep my hands and feet dry. I also found that shoe covers aren't good enough because they don't stop water from seeping in through the cleat holes.
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Old 08-23-10, 08:34 PM   #11
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I actually like the cold rain more. I found out, though, that I REALLY need to keep my hands and feet dry. I also found that shoe covers aren't good enough because they don't stop water from seeping in through the cleat holes.
I have head people use wetsuit sealing rings for the top of a water-proof bootie, are you sure that isn't how your feet are getting wet?
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Old 08-24-10, 04:18 PM   #12
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I have head people use wetsuit sealing rings for the top of a water-proof bootie, are you sure that isn't how your feet are getting wet?
I could feel the cold water seeping in from the bottom.

It went away when I got the winter cycling boots. I got the Shimano MTB ones.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:04 PM   #13
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Cheapo water repellent microfiber jacket. Heavy poly jersey. Craft long sleeve undershirt. Non-waterproof gloves. Lake boots, with the wet suit seals over the top of the cuff. Smartwool socks. Carry a windvest for an additional layer. Have had great fun riding in the rain in such gear, probably thousands of miles. The Lake boots and seals are a huge improvement over shoes and booties.

Did I mention fenders? With wide mudflaps that come within 2" of the road surface on both wheels.

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Old 08-26-10, 07:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
I agree that it's often easier to deal with the cold.

But good rain gear does work for those conditions. "breathable" rain gear is both waterproof AND windproof, so it keeps you from getting wet and also when it drops below freezing keeps the wind off you. Not cheap though, but my better winter gear isn't cheap either. Actually - I use my rain jacket for winter riding in all conditions. :-) So not already having the jacket, it's worked for both.
I use my rain jacket as a winter jacket all winter too. So far, I have been comfortable down to 0 Fahrenheit.
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Old 09-02-10, 06:46 AM   #15
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Machka, it's a long time since I've logged to bikeforums, didn't know you'd moved to oz (I'm from WA). Took a peek at your blog, shocking to read about your husband getting caught up in the fires. I've spent many hours as a teenager covered in black ash, toting a waterspray and rake, battling fires on my parents farm.

Anyway, back to cycling. Victorian winter is similar to autumn in Yorkshire. Cool, very wet and windy. You can't really remain dry - lots of audaxers and long-distance commuters here have adopted shimano sandals because of this. With overboots, you can keep warm and dry the sandals out quickly. When it's a bit warmer, just use the sandals barefoot.
The montane velo jackets are popular for the same reason - sure you still get damp, but you stay warm.
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Old 09-20-10, 05:31 AM   #16
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My favourite jacket for cold, rainy conditions is Paramo. I've been riding all day in the heaviest of rain (so hard it hurt my face) and still feel comfortable.
A merinio wool base is recomended, the NZ ones are very good. You dont need a cycling cut with rear pockets, just a plain T shirt.
Feet are the biggest problem Sealskin socks have worked well for me but recently the failed leaving me reverting to plastic bags.
A neck tube is useful at lover temps.
I only use a head covering at near zero C. The helmet keeps me warm enough. Dont use an expensive heavily vented one.
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