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Hard Core

Old 01-19-17, 07:29 AM
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Colorado Kid
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Hard Core

i saw in the news today of a commuter in Farbanks, AK who was riding in the cold. It was only -43F! Is there a limit of how cold someone can ride without suffering from the effects of the low temps.?
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Old 01-19-17, 07:58 AM
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Why don't you volunteer your time. For science. Then report back here when you thaw out.
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Old 01-19-17, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Colorado Kid View Post
i saw in the news today of a commuter in Farbanks, AK who was riding in the cold. It was only -43F! Is there a limit of how cold someone can ride without suffering from the effects of the low temps.?
Obviously it is colder than -43F or there would be an obituary rather than an article. Everyone has a different temperature threshold so it would really be hard to nail down a single temperature that is just too cold.
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Old 01-19-17, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Colorado Kid View Post
.. Is there a limit of how cold someone can ride without suffering from the effects of the low temps.?

Depends on what you mean by "suffering".


I do get some yearly exposure to well below -30 yearly, but below -40 is unusual.


Anyhow, within the range of my experiences, of course you have to pay close attention to what you do.
And returning indoors is usually a relief.


But "suffer" - no. Not as long as things go according to plan.


Riding isn't much different than any other comparable outdoors activity at that temperature.
I've ridden in pretty much all the temperatures I've skied or skated in.
It's possible to go a bit faster than on skates/cross-country skis, so you get a bit more windchill.
And you'd want to manage your breathing fairly well.


IMO, you do need a good bailout plan in case of failures.


Doing pretty much any kind of roadside repairs at those temperatures becomes seriously risky for you hands and fingers within minutes.


For that reason, I prefer a kicksled https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kicksled instead of a bike when running errands at very low temperatures. Not much to go wrong with those.
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Old 01-19-17, 10:14 AM
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Eh, I know some Canadians who love going out to play hockey in temps around that.
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Old 01-19-17, 10:20 AM
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I think -200f might be a problem.
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Old 01-19-17, 10:40 AM
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The limit of my experience -- on or off a bike -- is somewhere around -20 F. But then I figure that there are people who have to work outside at ridiculously cold temperatures, such as military and emergency personnel, Eskimos, researchers and explorers, even kids walking to school. They've figured out gear and habits for surviving it. Whatever they've figured out, should be do-able on a bike, perhaps with some minor adaptation of the bike and the gear.

I ride throughout the year, and people seem impressed, but honestly it's not all that heroic. If you dress warmly enough, your body thinks it's warm out. I think it's mainly psychological: Being mentally prepared for it, and thinking your way through your gear requirements and survival habits.
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Old 01-19-17, 10:46 AM
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I've been out and about, walking or skiing, in some really cold times. But never -43 to begin with before wind chill! And always with shelter close by. The jacket I had was very poofy and came with a stuff sack, but I think it was synthetic, not down. I've been trying to recall lately what became of it, I have a vague memory I gave it away.

Haha, it's funny what you can find in your gmail account. Bought from REI in 2007! Mountain Hardwear Sub-Zero Jacket in Lava, $109.93. But no clues where it went.
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Old 01-19-17, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
I think -200f might be a problem.
Is that the temp when hell freezes over?
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Old 01-19-17, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
I think -200f might be a problem.
I've gone sking at -30f. Some of that gear works on the bike too. I discovered that the gas shock struts that keep the tailgate of my car from crashing down on your head don't work at -30f.
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Old 01-19-17, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ptempel View Post
Is that the temp when hell freezes over?
I see you've been there too.
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Old 01-19-17, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
I see you've been there too.
Heh. Not yet, but someday. But back on topic, major chapeau to all who have ridden in negative temps. I have never seen them so never needed to plan or have the clothing for that. Respect!
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Old 01-19-17, 12:03 PM
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I've ridden snowmobiles at -24F -- interesting experience?!

I wonder, though, if there might not be problem with one's lungs when breathing heavily at such temperatures. Anyone have a clue or link? ;o)

Joe
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Old 01-19-17, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Minton View Post
I've ridden snowmobiles at -24F -- interesting experience?!

I wonder, though, if there might not be problem with one's lungs when breathing heavily at such temperatures. Anyone have a clue or link? ;o)

Joe
I've worked in -62c, last year, and it wasn't the lungs. It was you eyes freezing open or shut, you nose hairs freezing together, Snot freezing to your face, muscles working at 10% of their capacity and not being able to pee because your manly bits have retreated far beyond where a pair of tweezers can venture.

That's my 2 cents anyway.
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Old 01-19-17, 02:03 PM
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It all depends on what you're doing at a given temp but I'd rather be riding when temps are near or below 0F instead of standing at a bus stop, that's for sure. I love riding but if there's snow on the ground I'd rather get on a pair of XC skis.
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Old 01-19-17, 02:31 PM
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king boru:

Yeah, I remember feeling the moisture freeze on my nose hairs when I breathed in & melting on the way out ;o)

I threw a large glass of water up into the air and watched it turn to snow on the way down; great fun.

Also, at those temps (-24F), the air is very dry and the sky a deep and perfect blue -- quite beautiful.

Joe
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Old 01-19-17, 08:52 PM
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I've been out in -20f before, both on and off a bike. It's cold, but not the worst thing in the world...as it has been said many times before the keys are 1) layers and 2) don't stop pedaling. I haven't found the farthest reaches of my cold tolerance yet, but I'll tell you I'd rather freeze off my nuts than sweat them off in a high wet bulb index. That's just plain miserable.
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Old 01-20-17, 07:41 AM
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Another unanswered question is how far is the fellow riding at -43F? A few blocks in that temperature is different than a few miles. My cold weather tolerance diminished when a new job changed my 10 mile one-way commute to 23.
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Old 01-20-17, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
I think -200f might be a problem.
And -200C is even worse:
Air is about 78% nitrogen and 22% oxygen (the remaining components are mostly carbon dioxide, water and argon, all in very small quantities and can be neglected). First, the oxygen condenses into the liquid at 90.2 K (which is negative 182.9 degrees C) and then nitrogen condenses into the liquid at 77.4 K (which is negative 195.75 degrees C).
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