Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

I've Sunk to a New Low...(Temperature!)

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.

I've Sunk to a New Low...(Temperature!)

Reply

Old 01-02-19, 04:42 PM
  #1  
BobbyG
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,027

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 714 Post(s)
I've Sunk to a New Low...(Temperature!)

7F!

It had been 10F for three years, and 12F for a couple of years before that, and 21F before that after slowly creeping up over 20 years. While I had ridden down to 0F in my youth and possibly into my early 30s (20+ years ago) I have not commuted below 10 ever, as far as I can recall, and definitely not in the last 25 years.

The motivation was shoveling snow the day before at 5F and being warm and comfortable wearing the same basic layers as I do for my rides in the teens.

When I woke up this morning it was 5F with an expected high of 44F. So I knew it would warm up on the ride in. It was 6F when I walked out of the house, and 7F when I saddled-up to ride. For the first 4 of my 9 mile commute the side streets were hard-packed snow with the temperature rising to 9F halfway. I rode my winter bike with Suomi/Nokian W106 studded tires. Forty sunny minutes later when I arrived at work it was 17F. Still kinda cold. I was on the warm side of toasty, but as usual my thumbs were a little cold.

By lunch it was ~40F, and for the ride home it should be ~32F.

Next goal...5F, and then on to 0F at some point, which is gonna be tough because here in Colorado Springs morning temperatures in the winter are usually above 20F except for the rare cold snap (like we just had).
BobbyG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-19, 05:51 PM
  #2  
OmegaWolf
on your lawn
 
OmegaWolf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 144

Bikes: 1995 Trek 370, 1997 Trek 800 Sport, 2013 Specialized Crossroads Elite, 2016 Trek Emonda ALR5, 1991 Fuji Roubaix

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
My lowest is 8F last winter and I'm not in any hurry to better that.
OmegaWolf is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-19, 08:33 AM
  #3  
BobbyG
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,027

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 714 Post(s)
Ride home was ~26F. Dressed a little lighter.
BobbyG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-19, 08:36 AM
  #4  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,325
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1104 Post(s)
20 is my lower limit. It rarely gets colder than that here, and I don’t want to invest in gear to make riding in colder conditions comfortable. What is the thermometer you are using?
alan s is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-19, 08:58 AM
  #5  
revcp 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
Posts: 1,023

Bikes: 2011 Surly Troll, 2015 Borealis Yampa, 1985 Trek 720

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 154 Post(s)
It's fun to hit those markers. I've done -25F. Once you get to -10 or so it's just numbers.
__________________
Don't complain about the weather and cower in fear. It's all good weather. Just different.
revcp is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-19, 09:46 AM
  #6  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 21,543

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2597 Post(s)
impressive! I think my lowest has been 17 degrees in the past. only rode in the 20s so far this winter
rumrunn6 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-19, 09:58 AM
  #7  
ussprinceton
Senior Member
 
ussprinceton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Durham, NC 27705 USA
Posts: 677
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
I've ridden a cruiser motorcycle in the lower ~20*F. I plan on riding my bicycle again starting March '19
ussprinceton is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-19, 11:17 AM
  #8  
RoadKill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 134

Bikes: Specialized AWOL, Specialized Roubaix, Niner Air9, Turner Sultan

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
It was 31 yesterday when I rode to work here in Phoenix. It took every bit of cold weather gear I own to keep warm. I had the tights, wool socks, shorts over my tights as the crotch seems to be the first area that gets cold, arm warmers, jacket, balaclava, and my thickest gloves that aren't really all that thick. To live somewhere colder would require a large investment in riding gear for me.
RoadKill is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-19, 03:51 PM
  #9  
no motor?
Senior Member
 
no motor?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 5,836

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 752 Post(s)
I kept riding a few years ago as it kept getting colder and just kept adding warmer clothes as the temperatures dropped. It didn't snow until late that year and the snow/ice/salt is what usually gets me to quit riding.
no motor? is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-19, 03:56 PM
  #10  
BobbyG
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,027

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 714 Post(s)
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
What is the thermometer you are using?
It's a unit that is made to stick on the outside of a house window. I have it lashed to the bike with a white shoelace you can see. It was ~$8 on closeout and the battery lasts ~3 years.

Originally Posted by revcp View Post
I've done -25F. Once you get to -10 or so it's just numbers.
Holy cats! THose aren't "just numbers"...they're NUMB-ers.
BobbyG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-19, 05:50 PM
  #11  
Korina
Banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 739

Bikes: 2016 Giant Live Rove Lite aka River (Tam or Song, she's badass w/a touch of crazy), 2004 Giant OCR1

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Yikes, I feel like such a piker! My coldest commute was 43F (and about 95% humidity) a few weeks ago, and the only bits that never warmed up were my knees; being arthritic, I think they enjoyed the cold. I don't have the $$$ to get proper winter gear, so I ride the bus to work and the bike home. Like today!
Korina is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-19, 09:22 AM
  #12  
BobbyG
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,027

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 714 Post(s)
Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
...the snow/ice/salt is what usually gets me to quit riding.
I used to not ride in snow and ice until I got my studded tires. Now Ice is not an issue, and I'm good with snow up to 3". At 3" snow slows me down too much to make for a practical commute. It can double my times.

Originally Posted by Korina View Post
I don't have the $$$ to get proper winter gear...
Except for my helmet and sun-sleeves I wear no bike-specific clothing. It's all inexpensive generic athletic gear from Wally-World and the like. I do have a Halo headband (the 'sweat gutter' is a miracle) but I don't know if that's bike-specific
BobbyG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-19, 10:05 AM
  #13  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 14,114

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 52 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2297 Post(s)
I have the perspective that under 10 it starts to get "serious", as in you're taking a serious risk if you mess up. I can go entire winters without it ever getting that low, and then some few winters I'll have a week or two where every day is colder, so I don't have gear specific to near zero either. Just more layers.
wphamilton is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-19, 05:47 PM
  #14  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 5,349

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1183 Post(s)
The lowest for me has been minus -25 C ( minus -13 F). Not only commuting but also mountain biking. At those temps things start to get serious... This is no time to experiment, you need to have things figured out and be sure what works and what doesn't. The best part comes after the ride is over, the feeling of happiness and satisfaction is so strong I feel like a million bucks.
wolfchild is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-19, 09:11 PM
  #15  
BobbyG
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,027

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 714 Post(s)
Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I have the perspective that under 10 it starts to get "serious", as in you're taking a serious risk if you mess up.
I agree. I usually have an extra layer in my backpack, and my street clothes, and since I ride through town, I'm never more than a mile from stores and restaurants. In a real emergency, I'm never more than 3 blocks from a residence.

Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
The lowest for me has been minus -25 C ( minus -13 F)
I know people do it, but I can't imagine doing it myself.
BobbyG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-19, 10:55 AM
  #16  
no motor?
Senior Member
 
no motor?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 5,836

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 752 Post(s)
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I agree. I usually have an extra layer in my backpack, and my street clothes, and since I ride through town, I'm never more than a mile from stores and restaurants. In a real emergency, I'm never more than 3 blocks from a residence.

I know people do it, but I can't imagine doing it myself.
I carry an extra layer too, and the one time I ended up walking home in the cold I ended up taking it off along with some of the clothes I wore to ride in after getting too warm.
no motor? is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-19, 11:18 AM
  #17  
Korina
Banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 739

Bikes: 2016 Giant Live Rove Lite aka River (Tam or Song, she's badass w/a touch of crazy), 2004 Giant OCR1

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Except for my helmet and sun-sleeves I wear no bike-specific clothing. It's all inexpensive generic athletic gear from Wally-World and the like. I do have a Halo headband (the 'sweat gutter' is a miracle) but I don't know if that's bike-specific
Me either; all my cycling clothes are from Target's athletic department. But a warm, windproof, not-bulky jacket is expensive; at least, to my budget. I should go look more thoroughly at the men's department (women's dept. is more "stylish" and less "functional").
Korina is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-19, 11:31 AM
  #18  
bent-not-broken
back in the saddle
 
bent-not-broken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central WI
Posts: 633

Bikes: Raleigh Olympian, Trek 400, 500, 1500, 6700, Madone 6.9, Sekai 2400, Schwinn Passage, KOM, Super Letour, Nishiki Sport, Vision R45, Bike E, Volae Team

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I'm retired now, but my coldest commute was -17 F, four and a half miles each way. At that temp all skin must be covered. Hands and feet need special attention. Toughest issue for me was protecting eyes while wearing prescription eye glasses.
bent-not-broken is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-19, 04:32 PM
  #19  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 5,349

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1183 Post(s)
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post

Except for my helmet and sun-sleeves I wear no bike-specific clothing.
I also don't wear any bike-specific clothing, I also don't use goggles and never used any chemical warmers.
wolfchild is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-19, 04:48 PM
  #20  
Archwhorides 
Senior Member
 
Archwhorides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Boston
Posts: 672

Bikes: Death machines all

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 189 Post(s)
Below 18F my layers are the same as back country skiing gear, with the alteration of Lake winter boots and a good balaclava . Around here -5F is about the minimum, benefit is these are clear days. I keep a down puffy in my pannier in case of surprises.
Archwhorides is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-19, 03:06 PM
  #21  
RidingMatthew 
Let's Ride!
 
RidingMatthew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Triad, NC USA
Posts: 2,121

Bikes: --2010 Jamis 650b1-- 2016 Cervelo R2-- 2018 Salsa Journeyman 650B

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 179 Post(s)
my coldest ever is 13F! My coldest in 2018 i think was 17F. i am not sure what this year will bring.
__________________
"Work to eat. Eat to live. Live to bike. Bike to work." --Anonymous ||| "late & alive > early & dead." ~Steely Dan
RidingMatthew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-19, 10:26 AM
  #22  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 4,783

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 810 Post(s)
I bottomed out at 14F for some years, because that was the coldest we got. I gradually acquired enough layers to stay comfortable, and even warm, at that temperature. A couple years back it went down further, to 7. I decided 14 was a good place to stop.
pdlamb is offline  
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service