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What's it like commuting at 0F?

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What's it like commuting at 0F?

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Old 01-24-07, 04:23 AM
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What's it like commuting at 0F?

Haven't done a commute in several months due to major surgery. I have an opportunity to get one in on Friday. Of course it's going to be the coldest day of the year so far. I have ridden in the cold, but no commute that cold, 16M one way. I know some of you are hard core and can ride no matter what, but at a certain temp is a comfortable ride impossible, and does it no longer become fun? Any insight appreciated.
I hope I'm not trying to talk myself out of it already
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Old 01-24-07, 04:33 AM
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I did it 0F, and I have done a number of single-digit commutes.

0F is fine if you are dressed properly. It is dangerous if you are not dressed properly. I had on a really good balaclava, ski goggles, good gloves (I needed better gloves, so I needed to stop regularly to warm up my fingers, but I've fixed that problem now by getting over mittens), UnderArmour ColdGear plus a sweater, spring jacket, and nylon shell, insulated tights with long underwear and a nylon pants shell, good wool socks, and insulated booties (I have since bought insulated MTB bike boots).

The bike was fine. I carried bus fare in case I had a mechanical problem. You have to be ready to deal with break downs. I stayed on the streets because I didn't want to be stuck on an MUP with a broken bike in 0F.
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Old 01-24-07, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Daily Commute
I did it 0F, and I have done a number of single-digit commutes.

0F is fine if you are dressed properly. It is dangerous if you are not dressed properly.
Yes, I admit ignorance - no, I don't know what "OF" means...please?

Over Freezing? Optimal Failure? Ordinary Fright? Oliver's Futon?
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Old 01-24-07, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by centexwoody
Yes, I admit ignorance - no, I don't know what "OF" means...please?

Over Freezing? Optimal Failure? Ordinary Fright? Oliver's Futon?
Zero degrees Fahrenheit.
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Old 01-24-07, 06:20 AM
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I use of one these head coverings at that temp. And I've found that no gloves can keep my fingers warm when it's that cold, only mittens. With glove liners underneath. And hand warmers inside are helpful too. (I made some homemade ones by filling squares of fabric with rice, to be warmed in the microwave.)
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Old 01-24-07, 07:14 AM
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* Keep extremeties warm
* Wear face protection
* Dress in layers and use them properly (remove some if you're getting too hot).
* If you get pretty sweaty, stay active and warm at all costs and call for immediate assistance if you can't.

I commuted at -1F last week. Fingers, toes, eyes, and ears are the hardest to keep warm. My commute was short, so I used some 180s "Exhale" gloves that use your breath to keep the fingers warm. I'm guessing 16 miles might call for something that doesn't require moist breath to keep its own warmth. Other than that, balaclava and ski goggles is all I needed. Mine are lightly tinted like driving glasses, and they're wide enough to not interfere with my peripheral vision too much. If you have problems with hands and feet, get or make some kind of warming device.

Be really careful layering your core! If you overdress, you'll ge too sweaty and one if not several layers of your clothing will lose a lot of efficiency at keeping you warm. Generally, that's not a huge deal, but you do run the risk of dehydration. The big danger is if you have to stop for anything, that sweat will be the source of your hypothermic demise. You can't always predict an impassable part of the path, a flat, or a mechanical failure.
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Old 01-24-07, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Queen
Zero degrees Fahrenheit.
ah, thanks...yet another acronym (sigh)
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Old 01-24-07, 09:42 AM
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Hi, I'm also in NH. I commuted though the single-digits last week with no problems. It wasn't as cold this morning, but it will be the next couple days. Once It's down in the low teens or single digits, I go for full redundancy on all clothing. I use a balaclava with a neoprene face mask, ski goggles, and a thin runners cap under my helmet. Breathing through the mask can be a pain, but I can take it off once I am warmed up. I use two pairs of windproof gloves or a pair of lobster-claw mittens. For feet, I cover all the vents in my shoes with gaffer's tape and wear two pairs of wool socks. On my body, I wear a wicking thermal layer under windproof insulated pants and jacket. My commute is much shorter than yours, but I can get sweaty if I push my pace, even at these temps.

A couple words of advice: Pack a pair of warm, waterproof shoes in case you have to trudge through snow or walk for a while. I strap my snow boots to my rack. Also, bring zip ties so you can attach your gears to your rear wheel if your freewheel freezes open. It happened to me last week.
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Old 01-24-07, 09:54 AM
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I don't generally have much trouble keeping my fingers warm. I have some windproof gloves, $10 cheapies from Kohls, and as long as I wiggle my fingers every minute or so I'm fine.

Toes are another issue. Generally I just use wool socks, but if it gets really cold, I put a pair of thin poly socks on first, and maybe a plastic bag over that as a wind breaker layer (though my shoes already stop most wind). I've considered PowerGrips and wearing hunting boots but haven't yet.

If it's between about 30 and 15*F, I'll pull my neck gaiter up over my head so it forms kind of a whole-face-open balaclava. I put on an actual balaclava between 0 and 15*F. Below 0, I put in my PSolarX breather, though I'm starting to think just a balaclava would be fine down to at least -10.

I do switch from my regular ole' glasses to some full-wrap prescription sunglasses at about 10*F.

My normal torso wear is a long sleeve compression top covered with a poly T (alertshirt) and a windbreaker layer. Below about 20*F I loop a fleece scarf around my neck and arrange it to cover the front of my torso, THEN put on my T shirt.

On the bottom I wear bike shorts down to about 50*F, then add a cheap nylon lined running pants down to about 30*F, then add running tights between the two down to about 0*F, then I add a pair of long johns over the tights.
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Old 01-24-07, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Queen
Zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Which is still meaningless to most of the world.

This web site will convert from American to something meaningdful to most of the world's population.

We're talking about -18ēC, which is cold but not dangerously so. You'll want extremities covered, but your core should be easy to keep warm. I find I need sky goggles, otherwise the cold wind bothers my eyes. I don't find it particularly challenging to communtedown to -20ēC

Keep an eye on the windchill as well, that is far more significant than temperature in winter. If you dress for -10ēC and head out in -30ēēCwindchill you're in for a nasty surprise!

Oh yeah, and bring lock de-icer. Finding your u-lock frozen at the end of the day isn't fun.
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Old 01-24-07, 02:26 PM
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Yet Queen is from Illinois. Celsius would be to Queen what Fahrenheit is to you.

Nice conversion site.
I may have to toss the one I have been using. http://www.onlineconversion.com/
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Old 01-24-07, 02:41 PM
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Will consider commuting to about -10F. Key is to keep ears, toes, and fingers very warm. To do that I use balaclava, double socks, loosely tied shoes, booties, gloves with glove liners. My weak link is the gloves.

Beyond that, I actually have to be careful to not dress too warmly on my legs and torso. I had to disrobe midride last week to take of a fleece for fear of overheating.
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Old 01-24-07, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by newbojeff
...loosely tied shoes... My weak link is the gloves.

Beyond that, I actually have to be careful to not dress too warmly on my legs and torso. I had to disrobe midride last week to take of a fleece for fear of overheating.
I'd forgotten all about loose shoes until recently, remembered after I numbed my toes. I went out last night in about -10 C ( of 14 F) wearing micro fleece socks under wool socks and converse one stars and was quite warm. I wear lobster claw gloves, but the wrong kind. I would prefer a size larger and ones that aren't lined inside. The 2 "fingers" each have a liner to keep fingers from touching. Would be better if that wasn't there.

When it gets to these temps I wear flannel lined jeans, above meantioed footwear, a microfiber long sleeved shirt, micro fleece shirt, fleece vest and windproof jacket. A have a microfleece headband thatworks really well, and use my bmx helmet when it's windier. I have a balaclave I rarely use but have with me. I use a neck gaitor/dickie. The jeans are great, warm and baggy, but not overly so. Enough that I can ride with comfort, but not so much that they catch on the nose of the saddle.
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Old 01-24-07, 03:41 PM
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It's very quiet. And slower.
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Old 01-24-07, 04:37 PM
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I did two 1F commutes last week.

day 1:
Lobster Claw gloves
Neck gator
Beanie
Long sleeve cycling jersey
Warm sweatshirt
Fleece lined pants, kind of like ski pants but thinner.
Two pairs of cotton socks with my mountain biking shoes.

Results:
The first day my outer layer, while somewhat thick, was not wind proof. My arms and chest where pretty damn cold. Toes frozen. Nose and ear lobes got cold if I left my neck gator pulled down too long. My legs were a little cold, but not bad.

day 2
Same as day 1 but with a wind proof jacket and two thin cotton inner layers and long undies.

Results:
All three layers were soaked in sweat when I got to work. I unzipped the jacket at the neck and pit zips, I should have removed a layer but I didn't realize how much I was sweating. Legs were a bit too warm. Same situation with the toes and nose/ear lobes.
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Old 01-24-07, 04:53 PM
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My weak link is the gloves.
Depending on how hard you ride, your weak link may be that you wear gloves.

At 0 degrees F, mittens are a better choice for some people.

Pat says that it's not dangerous at 0 F but I'd say it can be. Not if you use good sense, but 0 F is well within the range where people who are dressed stupidly can get frostbite or hypothermia. Although for a physically active person, the windchill usually has to get a lot lower to cause serious harm.

Also, if you're still to some degree recovering from surgery, take good care of yourself and your extremities so as to avoid stressing your body. Keep warm.
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Old 01-24-07, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cerewa
Pat says that it's not dangerous at 0 F but I'd say it can be.
Well, if you plan to sit outside naked in a Speedo....

You're right, of course, one has to use common sence. But this is typical winter weather in many places, and people still walk, ski, and skate in it... so why should cycling be any different?
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Old 01-24-07, 06:27 PM
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Layer up. Not too thick though, you will warm up quick. You need to feel a bit cold when you start so as not to overheat and sweat as you get going. Fingers are weak point. Mittens work better than gloves to keep hands warm but are lousy for quick shifters. A lobster claw gloves works well. Exposed skin can get cold. I wear a bandanna around my lower face. The little hollow below adam's apple feels drafts.
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Old 01-24-07, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie
Nice conversion site.
I may have to toss the one I have been using. http://www.onlineconversion.com/
Just go to Google and type your question. It'll convert anything, including money units using today's conversion rates.
IE: 0 degrees f in degrees c
returns: 0 degrees Fahrenheit = -17.7777778 degrees Celsius

35 foot pounds in newton meters
returns: 35 foot pounds = 47.4536282 newton meters
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Old 01-24-07, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
(I made some homemade ones by filling squares of fabric with rice, to be warmed in the microwave.)
Interesting...How'd that work out? How long did the warmth last?
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Old 01-24-07, 09:52 PM
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I did zero degrees once, a couple years ago. Everything was fine except for the fingers and one thin little band of exposed skin at the top of the ski goggles. I have improved my gear since then, and did two degrees just last week in near perfect comfort except for the tips of the thumbs.
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Old 01-24-07, 10:10 PM
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0 F is a bad temperature for a maiden winter cycling voyage. If you are inexperienced I discourage you from trying it. Start with a warmer temp, learn and push the temp lower as you get more comfortable. I ride in 0 F comfortably whenever that temp hits here. I can do it comfortably every time, but i have hundreds of winter rides under my belt.
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Old 01-24-07, 10:52 PM
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I'm skipping on Friday. Windchills below zero, fuhgedaboudit. It's unsafe with the foot and hand (and face?) clothing I have.
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Old 01-24-07, 11:45 PM
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Thats one of my prefered riding temperatures... It's not too cold, yet it's cold enough to keep the streets frozen and hardpacked, rather than all soft and loose.
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Old 01-25-07, 08:45 AM
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It was minus 16C this morning, with a brisk headwind.

I wasn't cold, just painfully slow.

The roads are now dry so I might go back to the slick tires tonight to try and save some time tomorrow.

Editorial on windchill forecasts: useless when they don't give a direction. They say it's a windchill of minus 20 or whatever, and then the wind is at my back and there is actually no windchill at all. This morning, I would have had to add my forward speed to the windspeed to get some alarming and equally useless number.
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