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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 11-09-12, 11:13 AM   #1
erig007
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Cold , 1hr from home and no extra layers

What you would do riding in the middle of nowhere in winter if you're cold without extra layers with you?
As it already happened to me and i'm sure to most at least once.
For instance you bring an extra jacket but your feet or hands are freezing or vice versa
Or you get a flat or any other piece fail and you start getting too cold vs what you brought with you or you get soaked and has no extra layers available or you simply didn't bring enough layers with you. Or you forgot your hand warmer or didn't bring enough etc
An infinity of possibility could result in a lack of layers

In my learning process my own decision was to go back home nearly losing my toes

What you would do then in those kind of situations?

Last edited by erig007; 11-09-12 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 11-09-12, 12:18 PM   #2
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How "middle of nowhere" are we talking?

I can't really picture a situation where I would be out in the wintertime without so much as a farm house within a few minutes ride. That's probably what I would do... seek shelter, warm up a bit, then head back out. Hop from place to place if necessary.

If there really was nowhere to go, then I'm probably out touring or something, in which case... I would have brought enough layers. I did get a flat once in the rain in the middle of nowhere and my fingers were too cold to change the tire. Fortunately, it was a slow leak, so I just pumped it back up and hoped for the best. It held on for another 20 km :-).

For the most part, my winter riding is for the purposes of commuting, in the city. I even made the decision to not bring a spare tube and pump on winter rides - I'd rather throw the bike on the train and walk it home than sit and change a tire when it's -10.
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Old 11-09-12, 12:27 PM   #3
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1. I try not to cycle in the middle of nowhere in winter ... especially if it is really cold. I try to stay within walking distance of shelter.

2. I am known for bringing all sorts of stuff with me when I ride, even on warm days. It's a rare ride that I don't have more than enough layers, gloves, headbands, neck gaiters, etc. etc. I've even been able to hand some out to other riders when they've turned up for events without that sort of thing.


Get a Carradice or other trunk bag, and put spare mitts, head band, neck gaiter, wool socks, leg warmers, and booties into it. Those will stay there until needed in emergency situations. Then when you leave home for a winter ride, wear other mitts, head band, neck gaiter etc. .... so that you've got 2 of everything with you at all times.
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Old 11-09-12, 12:41 PM   #4
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How "middle of nowhere" are we talking?
I was hoping for your own experience it's easier to picture. As we probably all have experienced this situation. Maybe i could have deals with the situation in an other way. Macgyver/DIY way for instance. I don't know.
And regarding middle of nowhere. Even a 20min ride through a park/forest can lead to an hour walk so there is no need to be really the middle of nowhere. And not necessary like a life threatening situation
When i was getting frozen toes i was in the middle of the city. So feel free to share.

Last edited by erig007; 11-09-12 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 11-09-12, 01:21 PM   #5
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Plastic bags can be real life savers. I remember riding home woefully under-dressed one night last year. Stopped at a park, grabbed some dog poop disposal bags, and put them between my socks and shoes. Definitely helped. Same with my hands (gloves I was wearing were quite thin). To keep the wind off my chest, I found a couple of real estate flyers and put them between my two outer layers. Not elegant, but better than being 100% miserable.
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Old 11-09-12, 01:35 PM   #6
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Hi,

MileHighMark's suggestions are very good if you are indeed in this situation. But don't put yourself in this situation. As has been suggested above (Machka and others), carry extra clothes with you. A little extra weight isn't such a big deal. Getting frostbite or worse is.

Ow... Doctor, it hurts when I do this...

Then don't do this.




Cheers,
Charles
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Old 11-09-12, 02:09 PM   #7
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Get off the bike and start pushing it while jogging its way warmer but slower then riding
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Old 11-09-12, 02:19 PM   #8
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better planning, carry extra stuff incl chemical hand, toe and body warmers
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Old 11-09-12, 02:20 PM   #9
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You shouldn't let yourself get into this situation in the first place. Add a windshirt and a pair of wool socks to your tool bag. The socks can double as emergency mittens. A hooded unlined windshirt like http://marmot.com/products/trail_wind_hoody weighs less than 5 ounces, and packs small enough to fit in most under-stem or under saddle bags while still leaving room for a spare tube and tools. It will increase your windchill tolerance by at least 20F and works even when wet. Wear it between your base layer and whatever jacket you're wearing. The hood fits under your helmet, and has a drawstring so it won't interfere with rearward visibility.
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Old 11-09-12, 02:24 PM   #10
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always be prepared like everyone has posted,

but what's one hour from home in winter? 10-15 miles? ditch the bike and start double timing it home or to someplace warm. you'll be there in a few more hours.

if you have to shelter in place, find evergreen boughs or dry forest material (moss under snow, leaves) and add dead air space under clothes.

When it's really cold, you'll be warmer inside the snow. find a treewell drift, and dig in.
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Old 11-09-12, 02:54 PM   #11
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Forgot to mention that a plastic garbage bag/liner makes a good emergency shell. Weighs virtually nothing, and packs up small. Latex or nitrile gloves are also worth carrying (keep your hands clean during a repair, and makes good emergency glove liners).
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Old 11-09-12, 02:54 PM   #12
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Wow with all this solutions i feel really for the great adventure....in the city.
Thanks you!
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Old 11-09-12, 02:56 PM   #13
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What you would do riding in the middle of nowhere in winter if you're cold without extra layers with you?
In winter time I am always prepared by carrying an extra layer or two. If I am going to be in the "middle of nowhere", then I also carry a firestarter with me, just in case I get stuck and can't go back. Now if I was in the situation that you describe, ie unprepared.. I would get off my bike and walk at a fast pace pushing my bike and jogging on/off until I reach safety.
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Old 11-09-12, 03:56 PM   #14
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I thought i was prepared too until i experiment the domino effect. One problem lead to another who lead to another etc.
2 days ago I went from wonky gears to 2 rear wheel cap nuts broken followed by a chain jumping every 1/4 mile. I experiment that too with my computer from 1 wrong mouseclic to a broken computer at the hardware level. There are lots of examples in the world : sandy's storm, economical downturn, tchernobyl, fukushima etc.
So preparation OK up to a certain point. I take both preventive and corrective measures

Last edited by erig007; 11-09-12 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 11-09-12, 04:11 PM   #15
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You can vigorously stomp on the ground to warm up your feet, or go for a jog. Swing your arms around to force some warm blood to your fingers. I usually bring a pannier with me with some warmer gloves, a warm tuque, another top, sometimes extra pants if I'm going to be away for a few hours. The pannier is also used to store insulating layers if I overdressed.
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Old 11-09-12, 04:19 PM   #16
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During my first year winter riding, my feet would always get cold. On the way home during one ride my toes were getting very numb, so I diverted to a nearby hockey rink to go inside and warm up. Another ride during university break I rode to the university expecting to warm up for a while before heading home, but most of the doors were locked. I eventually found one that was open. Failing that I would have gone across the street to the McDonalds.

As long as you aren't truly in the middle of nowhere, just go to the nearest coffee shop, restaurant, convenience store, etc to warm up. I doubt they would have any objections, and chances are you could use something warm anyway.
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Old 11-09-12, 04:49 PM   #17
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Once it gets cold enough, I always bring a pair of hardcore mittens with me, just incase. I find if my body gets too cold, I can usually just ride harder to warm up, but that doesn't help hands and feet. I ride with lake winter boots so my feet never really get too cold, but I'm going to carry a set of chemical toe warmers with me this year.

In the past, if my hands/feet were cold, warming up in a store or something would be nice, but if my whole body was cold, stopping to "warm up" usually backfired.
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Old 11-09-12, 04:56 PM   #18
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Try spinning your crank at 110rpm+.
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Old 11-09-12, 09:30 PM   #19
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the bottom of my messenger bag always seems to have extra socks / glove liners / poo bags / heavier balaclava along with my tool kit.

based on the above, i'm going to add some chemical toe and hand warmers to the mess down there.
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Old 11-09-12, 09:46 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
What you would do riding in the middle of nowhere in winter if you're cold without extra layers with you?
As it already happened to me and i'm sure to most at least once.
For instance you bring an extra jacket but your feet or hands are freezing or vice versa
Or you get a flat or any other piece fail and you start getting too cold vs what you brought with you or you get soaked and has no extra layers available or you simply didn't bring enough layers with you. Or you forgot your hand warmer or didn't bring enough etc
An infinity of possibility could result in a lack of layers

In my learning process my own decision was to go back home nearly losing my toes

What you would do then in those kind of situations?
Many good suggestions have been made. The best advise is to not get into that situation in the first place. As a practical set of suggestions:

1. Don't go out riding this time of year with shorts and short sleeve jersey. Even if it is a warm day. Wear light tights and a long sleeve jersey even if it is temperate. You are not going to overheat in them by much if they are not layered.

2. Always take with you a good cycling windbreaker in cool conditions. 6-8 ounces is no big deal. With just a windbreaker and long sleeve jersey you can ride in pretty cold conditions without freezing for an hour.

3. Best to wear full finger cycling gloves in cool weather that are a little warmer than you think you need. Your whole body will not overheat if your hands are a little warmer than normal.

4. Put on some of those thick lycra cycling shoe covers when you start your ride. They won't over heat you but will keep your feet warmer if it turns cold. And they weigh very little.

5. Take a thin cycling balaclava or scull cap to put on if necessary. Weight is inconsequential and can fit in jersey pocket.
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Old 11-10-12, 11:37 AM   #21
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You were lucky. Don't get yourself into that situation again. There are a lot of good suggestions in this thread; take as many of them as you can.

I cycle year round in Calgary; even in summer we can experience temperature drops of 20 degrees (Celsius) in a day. I've been snowed on in June - twice! A balaclava, full-finger softshell gloves, rain shell, knee warmers, lightweight fleece or merino sweater, and wool socks LIVE in my bike pannier year round, along with the first-aid kit, multi-tool and spare tube.

My current favourite item is a tube of fabric that can be a neck warmer, beanie, face mask, headband or hair elastic depending on how you fold/twist it. Ski shops often sell them as they've become really popular on the slopes. A couple of brands are Chaos and Buff; I have a merino one from Chaos and a synthetic, slightly lighter weight one that was a promotional giveaway from a bike manufacturer. They fold down to almost nothing and they can make *such* a difference when you're caught out; keeping your head and neck warm can be the difference between getting home chilly but unharmed, versus a bout with hypothermia and its attendant poor decisions that amplify risk.

Also, bring extra food. And money, and a cell phone.
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Old 11-10-12, 12:11 PM   #22
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I went through a little emergency few years ago. I went trail riding with my mountain bike and studded tires. After riding trails for about two hours I decided to have some last minute fun and ride on some large frozen floodplain/marshy type of an area. Temperature was -14 celsius below zero. Ice broke and my front wheel went in, I fell in the water just past my knees... boots got soaked, gloves got soaked, pants got soaked. I was about 45 minute ride from home. What to do ??? I knew it was too cold to stand around...adrenaline pumping I just got on my bike and peddaled like crazy. I was warm, I didn't suffer any frostbite, because I was dressed right and I peddaled very intensly... but my pants, gloves and boots were solid sheet of ice. It was a fun experience, a little scary, and I learned my lesson..never ride on a frozen floodplains and marshes.
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Old 11-10-12, 12:47 PM   #23
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Experience is the best teacher - but it does not have to be your experience.

Bad experiences make for great stories - if you live.

To my mind, having enough gear with you is much better than not having enough gear.
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Old 11-10-12, 01:29 PM   #24
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Bad experiences make for great stories - if you live.
Haha! Here is what i have understood from this:

Doesn't matter if you die but at least leave something for us (video, diary,drawing whatever). As we need some stories.

I believe (hope) you didn't mean that but i'm alive anyway

Last edited by erig007; 11-10-12 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 11-10-12, 01:37 PM   #25
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Always be prepared.

My panniers always seem to have too much in them but in the winter those extras could make the difference between me having to hike or bike.

Since we get harsh winter weather I am always dressed for the occasion but carry extra socks in case mine were to get wet, if it is warmer I pack an extra mid layer as our weather can change on a dime although we usually get a little more warning than my friend in Calgary.

Money, a cel phone, bus tickets, and food are a constant.

Now... if you are unprepared and forgot to dress right, left your cel phone, money, and spare bus tickets at home then you need to make due with what you have.

I carry nitrile gloves in my repair kit so they can be put on to form an excellent protective layer for my hands, plastic shopping bags could be used as an extra layer in a boot, garbage bags are an excellent quick poncho.

Mind you, if I found myself in this unlikely position on a ride I'd be kicking my own ass to stay warm.
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