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Extreme condition challenges--winter

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Extreme condition challenges--winter

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Old 01-22-19, 05:40 PM
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mcours2006
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Extreme condition challenges--winter

Can't remember if there was a similar thread lately, but it bears rehashing if there isn't. The temperature yesterday morning was -25*C with 40 kph winds and packed snow and slush on the roads that haven't melted at all due to the low temps. I did not ride.

This morning the temp was only at -20*C with no wind, but the road was still covered. I did ride. Multiple layers on my legs, dedicated winter shoes with chemical heat and neoprene covers, multiple wind layers, including a down vest under jacket, multiple face covers, extra wide 45-mm studded tires for the anticipated rough surface, even riding on sidewalk as it was better plowed. It wasn't the most pleasant but I got there and back without much drama.

So the question is what sort of challenges have you faced when it comes to gear/clothing/etc in these extreme conditions? And what solutions, creative or otherwise, have you come up with to make the commute a successful one?
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Old 01-22-19, 07:01 PM
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The biggest challenge is to find alternate routes when some of my regular routes have too much snow and are unsafe to ride. Some of the MUPS and sidewalks which I use in between to connect with roads and streets are impossible to ride when too much snow accumulates, so I have to find some alternative way which often adds extra time and distance and complexity to an already challenging commute. I've had a few " hike-a-bike" situations over the years and also had situations where I had to take a risk and ride on major arterial roads. The weather is not the main danger, I don't care how bad the weather is, the main danger is cars.
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Old 01-22-19, 07:48 PM
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My major issue is a lack of road maintenance. I've noticed that bike lanes (and parking lanes) on arterial streets do not get maintained, which results in a very narrow right lane. Side streets get scraped (not salted), and this is done overnight - which can make for an interesting riding experience if it snows during the day.

Morning/daytime commutes are usually fine on side streets (due to the overnight scraping), so it's the evenings that pose a challenge. Fortunately, I do not work a strict 9-5 - my hours are a bit later - so I can leave work later and avoid the drivers out doing whatever they are doing. In a town of 50,000 things get pretty dead pretty early, so I'll sometimes take an arterial, gun it, and pull over occasionally to let cars pass, or ride the middle of a side street (and similarly wave cars around). A few times, I've ended up on the sidewalk, but that gets scary.
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Old 01-22-19, 08:58 PM
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A big issue for me is tire ruts in the slush that freeze in place. Especially when they're covered with a thin layer of snow so I don't see them until I hit them.
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Old 01-23-19, 08:28 AM
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Extreme condition challenges--winter

I ride well-tended, paved roads on studded tires for a commute of either 6 or 14 miles,with good cold weather dress for (rarely) under 20° F (-7° C). My watchword for Winter is “Gear and Gumption

I wear prescription eyeglasses, and with goggles, fogging is a dangerous situation.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I perennially post about my winter eyewear for my 14 mile year-round commute, from about 35° down to as low as 0°. I must wear my prescription eyeglasses, and fogging is one of the worst dangers of winter riding.

I am entirely satisfied with my system
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Old 01-23-19, 08:37 AM
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I got bar mitts (to be exact the rockbros knockoff) in the mail very recently and am very happy with them. I can now wear one layer of thin gloves at -20C and not worry about the wind! And for longer rides, adding a second glove is more effective because the heat doesn't get blown away.
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Old 01-23-19, 08:51 AM
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the one winter I bike commuted I was lucky enough to have a boiler room at work to hang all my stuff to dry before the ride home at the end of the day. so that's one challenge, what to do with all the extra clothing which can be messy, once you get to work
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Old 01-23-19, 11:13 AM
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Thread? there a whole section .. https://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/
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Old 01-23-19, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
The biggest challenge is to find alternate routes when some of my regular routes have too much snow and are unsafe to ride. Some of the MUPS and sidewalks which I use in between to connect with roads and streets are impossible to ride when too much snow accumulates, so I have to find some alternative way which often adds extra time and distance and complexity to an already challenging commute. I've had a few " hike-a-bike" situations over the years and also had situations where I had to take a risk and ride on major arterial roads. The weather is not the main danger, I don't care how bad the weather is, the main danger is cars.
Pretty much my predicament as well. Yesterday on the ride to work my usual MUP through a park was not plowed so I had to backtrack onto a sidewalk to get where I needed to go.

No, the weather isn't the danger, but it causes issues that may put one in danger.
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Old 01-23-19, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
My major issue is a lack of road maintenance. I've noticed that bike lanes (and parking lanes) on arterial streets do not get maintained, which results in a very narrow right lane. Side streets get scraped (not salted), and this is done overnight - which can make for an interesting riding experience if it snows during the day.
I encountered that during yesterday's commute as well. In the morning riding down the centre of the road is not so much a problem, though I do have a rear-mirror to see traffic coming behind me, but there's not much option in the afternoon ride. There is much more traffic. The problem with this week's snowfall was that the temperature was so low that none of it melted with road salt.
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Old 01-23-19, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
I got bar mitts (to be exact the rockbros knockoff) in the mail very recently and am very happy with them. I can now wear one layer of thin gloves at -20C and not worry about the wind! And for longer rides, adding a second glove is more effective because the heat doesn't get blown away.
I may have to look into this bar mitts idea. The problem is that I have drop bars and I often use the drops, especially when there's a head wind.
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Old 01-23-19, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
the one winter I bike commuted I was lucky enough to have a boiler room at work to hang all my stuff to dry before the ride home at the end of the day. so that's one challenge, what to do with all the extra clothing which can be messy, once you get to work
I don't normally sweat much during the winter commutes, so drying clothes is not an issue. But when my clothes do get wet from rain I have a washer/dryer set at work that I have used on a few occasions. Most times in the winter the air is so dry in my building stuff dries out quickly if you just hang it up or lay it out.
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Old 01-23-19, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I may have to look into this bar mitts idea. The problem is that I have drop bars and I often use the drops, especially when there's a head wind.
Yeah, that would indeed be an issue.
Aside from that, they also keep my hands dry when there is rain. Ebay has them for $20-$25 for straight and drop bars (only hoods are covered, but I think you can still use the drops without brakes...)
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Old 01-24-19, 05:14 AM
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When it's below -15 C, I don't ride. If it's not (and there's no blizzard), I ride. The limiting factor is that I don't wear/have any special gear - just skiing jacket and gloves, and below -15 C my face and thighs start to freeze (on >1h rides the feet get cold too). I have ridden a couple of times at -20 C, but that wasn't an enjoyable experience without dedicated gear. The biggest concern usually is stretches of unmaintained roads - bumpy, uneven, rutted ice which may be covered by snow or slush.
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Old 01-24-19, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Thread? there a whole section .. https://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/
Yeah, but folks here in the commuting section are a hardier bunch and would endure more extreme conditions. Plus, some folks think riding in 40*F is considered 'winter cycling'.
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Old 01-24-19, 08:28 AM
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Extreme condition challenges--winter
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Can't remember if there was a similar thread lately, but it bears rehashing if there isn't. …

So the question is what sort of challenges have you faced when it comes to gear/clothing/etc in these extreme conditions? And what solutions, creative or otherwise, have you come up with to make the commute a successful one?
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Thread? there a whole section .. https://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Yeah, but folks here in the commuting section are a hardier bunch and would endure more extreme conditions. Plus, some folks think riding in 40*F is considered 'winter cycling'.
Good answer.

Besides the entire Winter Cycling Forum, there was this more focused thread “
Emergency Winter Cycling Kit?"
Originally Posted by Obeast View Post
Does anyone have one? I want to carry all the stuff in my car but of course it΄s not practical so maybe a 1kg kit with the most important things you would need to take care of the bike and yourself in -C temperature on a 20km commute?
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Old 01-27-19, 07:02 PM
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I tried to ride on Wednesday - turned back and got the car. The deep powder on top of the hardpack from the last few days was just too bad, I couldn't ride. Fatbike might have been able to go, but neither the road nor the path were cleared well enough to ride on, and I wasn't going to carry my bike for 17km.

Friday I rode - still a bit slippery in spots, and the warm Thursday with rain turned into frozen footprints and tracks by Friday morning. Rough ride, maybe the only time I've really wished I had suspension or tires (much) wider than the Schwalbe Winter 700x35.
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Old 01-27-19, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Viich View Post
I tried to ride on Wednesday - turned back and got the car. The deep powder on top of the hardpack from the last few days was just too bad, I couldn't ride. Fatbike might have been able to go, but neither the road nor the path were cleared well enough to ride on, and I wasn't going to carry my bike for 17km.

Friday I rode - still a bit slippery in spots, and the warm Thursday with rain turned into frozen footprints and tracks by Friday morning. Rough ride, maybe the only time I've really wished I had suspension or tires (much) wider than the Schwalbe Winter 700x35.
I rode on Friday as well, but perhaps conditions for me were better than you. I do have 45 mm Nokian W106's, but I am thinking that I have the pressure too high to make use of the wider profile.

This upcoming week is going to be challenging with the snow and cold, again!
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Old 01-27-19, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I rode on Friday as well, but perhaps conditions for me were better than you. I do have 45 mm Nokian W106's, but I am thinking that I have the pressure too high to make use of the wider profile.

This upcoming week is going to be challenging with the snow and cold, again!
Just came home. Cycling with 35-40 PSI on 26x2 SWM's is no fun, but necessary right now. Other than that, let's keep it going! We're cycling to be out and in touch with the environment, and not constantly shielded by steel, walls and windows. Let's squeeze the last snow flake of fun out of this ;-)
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Old 01-28-19, 01:33 PM
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No go today with the temperature at -21*C and forecast 5-10 cm of snow beginning at noon. It would have been fine to ride in but the ride home with four hours worth of snow already fallen would have been dicey, to say the least. If I had all MUP's I might have considered it, and it would still have taken twice the time. No, today I begrudgingly took the car.

With snow expected to continue to fall during the over night period, it's likely going to be my steel and glass cage again for tomorrow.
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Old 01-28-19, 01:44 PM
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Most of the roads I ride are cleaned off so that's not a issue. The NW wind gusts is what gets me. Just can't handle it on the way home every night. Beats me down quick. Tonight when I leave 22 - RealFeel 0 with NW winds 24mph and gusts up to 41mph. When it gets to swirling around the west bottoms add another 20 to it.. too dangerous to ride adding that in.
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Old 01-28-19, 02:05 PM
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that old polar vortex is supposed to lash out angrily the next cpl of days ... good luck to you die-hards. don't die hard
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Old 01-28-19, 04:03 PM
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Yippee kai yay!
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Old 01-28-19, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
No go today with the temperature at -21*C and forecast 5-10 cm of snow beginning at noon. It would have been fine to ride in but the ride home with four hours worth of snow already fallen would have been dicey, to say the least. If I had all MUP's I might have considered it, and it would still have taken twice the time. No, today I begrudgingly took the car.


With snow expected to continue to fall during the over night period, it's likely going to be my steel and glass cage again for tomorrow.

Yeah it's very nasty out there...I have to drive every Monday so I missed the bike commute...Tomorrow morning looks pretty bad too, my routes are snowed in, with deep snow drifts all over. If I ride tomorrow I would have to take major arterial roads which are very dangerous, I think I'll drive on Tuesday.
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Old 01-28-19, 07:23 PM
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Probably a good call. I'm hoping I can bike to my evening events tomorrow again.
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