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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 09-15-11, 10:41 PM   #1
gbiker
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Ugh, Not Another Winter of Cycling!

I biked all last winter and can't say I'm looking forward to it again. I was really glad when spring came around and I didn't have to spend all that time dressing/undressing for rides. I biked every 2-3 days, thru 20F and even 0F, thru snow, and on ice (had some wipeouts).

So, what's an enjoyable alternative? Rec centers around here offer spinning classes, but that just doesn't seem that appealing. But maybe I should try it. I think I'd rather bike on the frozen roads though. Or I could get a trainer and do the same thing in my house, but for presumably cheaper.

What I'm really thinking about is taking up cross-country skiing and/or snowshoeing. Cross-country skiing probably sounds the most ideal, and the most like bicycling, with its fast descents. I think there's an extensive network of trails here, like the hut-to-hut system. It'd be cool exploring new areas.

And I may also try winter mountain climbing -- 14ers.
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Old 09-16-11, 02:02 PM   #2
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Well, one alternative would be light weight clothing and a jacket to keep you comfortable on your way to Hawaii or Florida, with the bike in the hold of the plane...

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Old 09-16-11, 02:05 PM   #3
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I'm good to 20F and then it becomes too much of a PITA
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Old 09-16-11, 03:17 PM   #4
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I ride during lunch since I work from home during the week. If it takes too long to get dressed due to the temps or the road conditions suck I run instead.
Though I think I could use a pair of trail running shoes for running in the snow. Anyhow I have yet to encounter temps too cold to run. Cycling in the cold gets old after a few weeks.
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Old 09-16-11, 04:12 PM   #5
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Hahaha, be a snowbird! Arizona might work.

I'm seriously thinking of taking up cross-country skiing. Biking the passes and canyons this summer, I really enjoyed exploring new places.

Other ideas are swimming and ice skating.
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Old 09-17-11, 02:03 AM   #6
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Hahaha, be a snowbird! Arizona might work.

I'm seriously thinking of taking up cross-country skiing. Biking the passes and canyons this summer, I really enjoyed exploring new places.

Other ideas are swimming and ice skating.
I decided this year to ride ride when it is under 50 outside and bought a Computrainer instead. I really like it neat to race against a virtual rider. Tons of courses to pick. And there is no excuse not to ride.
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Old 09-17-11, 02:33 AM   #7
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I moved to Australia. Spring has started ... leaves are coming out on trees, flowers are blooming, the temperature today hit 23C ......
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Old 09-17-11, 03:49 AM   #8
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"There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing"

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Old 09-17-11, 04:20 AM   #9
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I moved to Australia. Spring has started ... leaves are coming out on trees, flowers are blooming, the temperature today hit 23C ......
That was uncalled for.
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Old 09-17-11, 09:38 AM   #10
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If I lived in an area like Denver, I'd definitely do x country skiing and downhill as well. I am not looking forward to another winter on the plains of Illinois. 7 months of severe depression coming up...........
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Old 09-17-11, 11:27 AM   #11
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How about studded tires on your bike? I'm almost nearly looking forward to winter because I'm finally getting a set of studded tires that'll handle the slip and slide of icy roads and trails. I'm with you on the tiresome changing in and out of clothing in winter. Especially boots. Oh I hate wearing winter boots.
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Old 09-17-11, 11:29 PM   #12
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to rough for the rest just right for us lol
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Old 09-18-11, 01:45 AM   #13
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Before moving to Australia, I lived on the Canadian prairies ... bitterly cold, lots of snow and ice.

During the winters there, I ...

-- attended spinning classes. Get a good one, and they're a great way to keep fit during the winter. They also get you out of the house and with other people.
-- attended yoga classes. Get a good one and you can work on your core strength and flexibility.
-- rode my bicycle at home on my fluid trainer.
-- rode my bicycle outside on weekends, and commuting most of the time.
-- weightlifted at home (and some winters I'd join a gym and weightlift there).
-- snowshoeing
-- cross country skiing

And sometimes, I would go to a warmer place to do some cycling. In 2004, I spent October, November, and December cycling in Australia. In 2007, I went to Vancouver Island for a week to do some cycling. In 2008, I came to Australia for a couple weeks in February and did a lot of cycling.

In fact, we did the same thing this year ... to break up the long, cool, wet Australian winter, we came to Canada for 3 weeks in August. We got in 675 km of cycling in lovely Canadian summer weather, and then returned to Australia just in time for spring.
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Old 09-18-11, 06:47 PM   #14
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I envy the Canadian in Australia, ho hum.............
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Old 09-18-11, 07:39 PM   #15
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I year round, every day. My mileage does drop in the winter though.

Honestly though, riding through blowing snow with some friends to a restaurant is great. You get all kinds of crazy looks. Oh, and I love my studded tires.
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Old 09-19-11, 06:37 AM   #16
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Is there some reason why you abslolutely need to turn cranks in the winter? I ended up burning out and hating biking for a few years because I felt like no matter what I had to ride and had to maintain some high level of biking fitness. When I got sick of dealing with clothing I bought a trainer and became a hamster. Finally I just couldn't do it anymore and quit for a while. Eventually I came around and started riding again because I do really enjoy it.

If you aren't feeling it, I say don't do it. Take the entire winter off, or else just leave the clothes and bike available should you feel inpired to ride at some point. If you've been riding a while and have a solid base you really won't loose much in a few months even if you do nothing at all. Seriously, I was suprised at how long after I was biking regularly I was still able to put a decent ride in on occasion.

If you feel you must do some kind of excercise, do something completely different than biking. Something that you are interested in or maybe haven't tried before. Myself, I really like yoga, but do what calls to you.

Then again, perhaps you'll find that once you do not have to ride, you'll realize how much you enjoy it. So remember it's not a job you have to do and there are other ways to excercise. Bike because you like to bike.
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Old 09-19-11, 06:48 AM   #17
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It kind of depends how long your winter is. Winnipeg winters were a good 6 months long. Alberta winters were a good 7 months long. If I took the whole winter off, that's at least half a year. If your winter is short (like a couple months), then it would make sense to take the winter off and do something else. When I lived in Winnipeg and Alberta, I usually ended up taking about 6 weeks off to rest ... and then I got back into it again, in wintery conditions.
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Old 09-19-11, 07:43 AM   #18
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Is there some reason why you abslolutely need to turn cranks in the winter? I ended up burning out and hating biking for a few years because I felt like no matter what I had to ride and had to maintain some high level of biking fitness. When I got sick of dealing with clothing I bought a trainer and became a hamster. Finally I just couldn't do it anymore and quit for a while. Eventually I came around and started riding again because I do really enjoy it.

If you aren't feeling it, I say don't do it. Take the entire winter off, or else just leave the clothes and bike available should you feel inpired to ride at some point. If you've been riding a while and have a solid base you really won't loose much in a few months even if you do nothing at all. Seriously, I was suprised at how long after I was biking regularly I was still able to put a decent ride in on occasion.

If you feel you must do some kind of excercise, do something completely different than biking. Something that you are interested in or maybe haven't tried before. Myself, I really like yoga, but do what calls to you.

Then again, perhaps you'll find that once you do not have to ride, you'll realize how much you enjoy it. So remember it's not a job you have to do and there are other ways to excercise. Bike because you like to bike.
Well, I don't "train". I just ride. I also use the bike for nearly all of my transportation. I also enjoy a nice long rural ride, even during the winter.
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Old 09-19-11, 08:24 AM   #19
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If you're fed up with biking, definitely try XC skiing. You'll get a whole new perspective to snow.

That said, +1 on dcrowell. I too ride for transportation, so my xc skiing is for fun only.

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Old 09-19-11, 10:27 AM   #20
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So, what's an enjoyable alternative? Rec centers around here offer spinning classes, but that just doesn't seem that appealing. But maybe I should try it. I think I'd rather bike on the frozen roads though. Or I could get a trainer and do the same thing in my house, but for presumably cheaper.
I don't like indoor cycling either, at least on anything stationary. This winter I plan to get back into cross-country skiing. We have fantastic trails where I live. I used to enjoy them, and I want to get back out this winter.

I don't plan to give up the winter bike though. I slacked off last winter on the bike, but this year want to ride more. It's all good fun. I don't commute to work or anything, but I do enjoy running errands around town by bike in wintertime. But mostly, I'll be skiing -- at least, that's the plan.
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Old 09-19-11, 10:34 AM   #21
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Once you get all dressed up, it is pretty cool biking around in 0-20F at speeds of 20-30 mph and being totally impervious to the cold. Well, except around my eyes, but I don't think I can bring myself to wear ski goggles while biking.
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Old 09-19-11, 02:09 PM   #22
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HTFU, for me it beats sitting in the car stuck in snow/ice/slush traffic jams with all the other cagers.
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Old 09-19-11, 02:23 PM   #23
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Another interesting sport is long distance skating. It does require a body of (frozen) water and not too much snow on top of ice.
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Old 09-20-11, 06:23 AM   #24
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OP you might relate to Nina Simone:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2BwEf8EIDo
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Old 09-20-11, 12:08 PM   #25
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I like winter riding. Actually I look forward to getting the winter bike all ready and then not having to share the pathway system with too many pedestrians, inline skaters, moms with strollers, etc...You get bored of the road bike and it's nice to have a change. I look forward to the changes in spring in the same way.

I do it for commuting mainly, and it's way more fun than sitting in a car or bus or train.
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