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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-15-18, 08:14 AM   #1
xyntiacat
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When Do You Not Commute By Bike

So this seems like a weird question, but believe me there is logic. I live in a place that has pretty unpredictable weather in the springtime (tornado alley) and unbelievably hot in the summertime. I am just starting a 15 mile RT commute to my workplace that is pretty easy, but my main concern is that I don't want to get caught out when a rain storm suddenly turns nasty beyond redemption or I'm likely to get heat stroke. Are there any rules you guys have self imposed on when to ride versus not? Have you noticed that you bodily adapt to the weather while commuting?
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Old 04-15-18, 08:32 AM   #2
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Tomorrow. 3" of ice pellets on the ground and 70 km/h wind gusts.
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Old 04-15-18, 08:53 AM   #3
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In Seattle the things that prevent me from riding are snow and ice. When I was in San Diego my upper temperature limit was about 100.

As for getting used to it, yes, I think that you get somewhat inured to the weather. I think it is largely a mental thing though. If you have a set commute it is pretty easy to just get on the bike and go, as compared to a pleasure ride. At least IMO!
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Old 04-15-18, 08:56 AM   #4
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40 & rain sucks, 80 & rain no big deal. Proper clothing for anticipated conditions. I often work outside, so I pay attention to weather forecasts. Often I can find windows of clearing for the commute. Sometimes after watching the radar, I'll stay a little longer to catch a window of better weather. Having an urban commute I can usually find a building or bridge to wait out short bursts of "weather".
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Old 04-15-18, 10:16 AM   #5
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Yes my body has adapted to a variety of conditions. Weather is less annoying than it used to be, and I’ve learned to enjoy many conditions. My route is overrun with cyclists in good weather, and the additional ones are the least skilled and aware, so less than ideal weather is good for me. Getting wet isn’t always bad, because it rarely rains heavily for the whole trip. I have a complete change of clothes at the office, so if I get drenched, I can dry off and change. It’s possible to ride in just about any heat in the US, with sufficient precaution.
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Old 04-15-18, 03:42 PM   #6
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I usually don't commute if it is cold (below 40 for me) and/or wet. I used to be a year commuter, but a change in both age and jobs brought me to my current commuting style.
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Old 04-15-18, 06:43 PM   #7
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150 miles between my house and the nearest VA Md center../
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Old 04-15-18, 06:58 PM   #8
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I commute in North Texas as well. Large hail storms (like we had last week) are the big concern for me. Getting caught in a golf ball sized hail storm is a nightmare.
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Old 04-15-18, 07:01 PM   #9
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The main reason I don't ride the bike to work is when my knees are hurting too much, which is way too often lately. Weather-wise: lightening, >3 inches of snow, <10F, >20 mph winds.
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Old 04-15-18, 07:03 PM   #10
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I commute in North Texas as well. Large hail storms (like we had last week) are the big concern for me. Getting caught in a golf ball sized hail storm is a nightmare.


That's what helmets are for.
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Old 04-15-18, 07:12 PM   #11
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bodily adapt to the weather- yes. Self-imposed rules when to not commute - no. I've driven in two days in the last 5 years, and both of those were on a whim on Jan 1, kind of an anti-new years resolution.

Having lived in your general area, I can say that your weather can get more extreme than here even though on paper it looks pretty similar. I wasn't riding then, it was all motorcycle ... Tornado weather would likely be my limit.
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Old 04-15-18, 07:32 PM   #12
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The weather we've had recently in Iowa (mid-30s and rainy) is my least favorite for commuting. It's not the coldest I'll ride in (~10 degrees or so) and I'm fine with riding in warm rain. But the combination is miserable, it goes right into your bones. So I've been skipping some commutes lately. I'm not proud.
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Old 04-15-18, 08:14 PM   #13
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Tomorrow. 3" of ice pellets on the ground and 70 km/h wind gusts.
Ahhh Winnipeg... no wait! You're in Toronto. Easy mistake to make with that weather forecast.
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Old 04-15-18, 08:55 PM   #14
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I have a 20/20 rule for winter. If its gets down to 20 degrees with winds around or over 20, it's a no go. I just do not have the gear to deal with those temps. Rain is not a huge concern unless they are talking a good chance of raining all day....assuming the temps are over 50.

As far as severe weather/tornados, check out NOAA's Storm Prediction Center's website and your local forecast. spc.noaa.gov. It is an amazing resource for hail/wind/tornado. If there is a slight or better chance or severe weather and a 70% chance of rain/storms I usually pass for my safety. I have, in the past, been a lot more negligent, but it did not work in my favor if you know what I mean.

Edit:corrected SPCs website

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Old 04-15-18, 09:31 PM   #15
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I'm good down to 10F. I bought studded tires three years ago. Before that, if it seemed likely that there would be ice or snow covering most of the road, then I wouldn't ride. But now that's not an issue.

Air temperature in Colorado Springs rarely breaks 100F...it's really amazing; although at 6500ft, the sun gets really hot. On sunny days in the 90s I won't take long rides around neoon, but my morning commutes are cool, and my afternoon rides home are through shaded streets in the older sections of town, so I'm okay.

I'm done with riding in sustained winds over 25, although if I'm at work and the wind kicks up beyond what was forcast I'll do it.

There are non-weather related reasons also, but those get complicated.
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Old 04-16-18, 07:24 AM   #16
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Like most others, my big thing is cold and wet. I'm good into the 20s if it's dry or light snow, but if it's 30s and raining, I'm gonna opt out. I'll also bail if the wind is going to be above 20 most of the day, since my route almost always makes it a headwind. Otherwise, I'll ride in most conditions.
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Old 04-16-18, 08:30 AM   #17
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This ****ty weather for the last two days. Pouring now. Snow is another thing I avoid.
Cold, and heat as long as it is mostly dry is okay. But man I hate the heat.
It will be barely 40 degrees and sunny and people say isn't it tough to bike in this weather. I tell them no, July is what makes it tough.
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Old 04-16-18, 08:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xyntiacat View Post
So this seems like a weird question, but believe me there is logic. I live in a place that has pretty unpredictable weather in the springtime (tornado alley) and unbelievably hot in the summertime. I am just starting a 15 mile RT commute to my workplace that is pretty easy, but my main concern is that I don't want to get caught out when a rain storm suddenly turns nasty beyond redemption or I'm likely to get heat stroke. Are there any rules you guys have self imposed on when to ride versus not? Have you noticed that you bodily adapt to the weather while commuting?
Today's weather here in New York City made me think of your post. We are having torrential rain all day today and even a little lightning. The streets and sidewalks are like rivers. Many New Yorkers have no choice but to take the subway. There are millions of us walking in the rain, some with umbrellas, some without. I don't have much need for umbrellas, especially since wind often accompanies rain. I don't know what it's like where you are, but I lived in the New Jersey suburbs for years where everyone goes everywhere by car. There, the attitude is that it's deplorable to subject your body to the natural conditions. When I told people I was walking or riding my bike, they either expressed deep sympathy for my plight or offered to relieve me by driving me, even when there wasn't any severe weather. Now that I'm back in the city, I realize that the human body is perfectly well suited to tolerate cold, heat, and water. They may not be comfortable, but we don't melt or anything. I decided against riding to work today. I walked to the subway and then from my station near work to my office. I was out in the rain maybe 20 or 25 minutes total. My trousers got pretty wet, so when I got to my office, I changed them. I also took off my boots and put on a dry pair of shoes. I'm fine. You can do what you want, but whatever you choose, you won't suffer unduly. Just dress for the conditions. As they say in Minnesota, there's no bad weather, only bad clothing. Look at the videos of people commuting by bike in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. There are more bike commuters than car commuters there, and they have real winter. They wear heavy overcoats and hats.
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Old 04-16-18, 09:57 AM   #19
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I commute 17 mile round trip 2-3 days per week and move those days around based on weather and other non-weather reasons. I usually won't ride if it's below 40 (I'm in Phoenix, it happens maybe 10 days a year so I don't own proper clothes for it), I won't ride if it's raining in the morning (2-3 days a year, again clothing issues) or if it's going to be over 115 on my ride home (another 5-10 days and there is no such thing as proper gear to make that comfortable).
Last week one day my rode home had 25mph head winds and 40mph gusts, If I had known the afternoon was going to be so windy I might have reconsidered, but it was calm in the morning so probably wouldn't have believed the weather report.
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Old 04-16-18, 10:46 AM   #20
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I've learned to embrace weather variances and commute year round regardless of weather. Temp range 15F - 115F, rain or shine, windy or calm. That said, I'm more fortunate than most.

I have access to a locker/shower at work
I live where its sunny 300 days a year
It rarely ever snows and besides the summer heat, no extreme weather
Even the worst storms pass through fairly quickly ... I just wait them out

It can run 110F for a month straight here in the summer ... getting caught in a sudden downpour, priceless.

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Old 04-16-18, 11:09 AM   #21
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Like most others, my big thing is cold and wet. I'm good into the 20s if it's dry or light snow, but if it's 30s and raining, I'm gonna opt out. I'll also bail if the wind is going to be above 20 most of the day, since my route almost always makes it a headwind. Otherwise, I'll ride in most conditions.
Same here, plus I don't like to ride when there's still salt out on the streets. I park indoors at home and work, and don't want to bring a mess in with me. Plus, I want to avoid salt damage (rust).
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Old 04-16-18, 11:44 AM   #22
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150 miles between my house and the nearest VA Md center../
It shouldn't be a problem. I ride to Portland semi-regularly.

I suppose it could be an issue if you broke your leg before the commute
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Old 04-16-18, 11:52 AM   #23
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A 7-8 mile ride isn't likely to do you any real harm, at least if you're riding at a decent clip. Even when it's 100F, grab a big swig of cold water before you leave, put ice water in your bottle, and take off.


Real thunder and lightning is a good reason to delay leaving work. It's funny, though, how many times I can commute two ways on a "rainy" day and stay dry. Leave 15 minutes early or 20 minutes late and you can often miss the storms. Day-long rains are possible, day-long thunderstorms are pretty rare -- like one or two a year.


Ice and lightning are my no-go's. If we're going to play bumper cars, I want 3,500 pounds on my side.
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Old 04-16-18, 11:56 AM   #24
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I don't have a set commuting schedule, so I tend to avoid the snow and ice days, which fortunately tend to be rare.

One thing that has stopped me is when I must do something with others that is generally beyond my control. For example, picking my mother up from the hospital a few weeks ago, the bicycle was handy because she drove to the hospital, had surgery, then I met her at the hospital with the Bike Friday, put it in the back of her car, and drove her home.

So far I've avoided riding the 350 mile or so trip between my house and my brother's house, but will probably try it eventually. Probably not going by a straight line, so it could be as much as 1000 miles RT And, if I do it right, will have a couple hundred miles of ungroomed railroad ballast.



I do a lot of hauling by bike, but I've also not towed a horse in a horse trailer with my bike.
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Old 04-16-18, 12:17 PM   #25
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It shouldn't be a problem. I ride to Portland semi-regularly.

I suppose it could be an issue if you broke your leg before the commute

the 1700 foot pass on 26 is rather sketchy in the winter, I bring street crampons now , to not fall on black ice
on the rest area parking lot Again.


30 has 2 summits of 700 & 600 feet on either side of Clatskanie ...
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