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How do you feel about winter?

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How do you feel about winter?

Old 09-12-07, 11:32 PM
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biknbrian
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How do you feel about winter?

Around here itís getting down to about 45F tonight. As I was getting out some cool weather gear for my commute, I got to thinking about the coming winter. For those of us for whom winter is approaching, how do you feel about it?

Are you going to commute this winter?

Do you have the gear you need yet?

Are you looking forward to it or not?

Through the coldest days I rode about half the time last year. Iíd like to get that up to about the 95percent of the time I ride the rest or the year. I have everything I should need to do this. I really enjoy a lot of aspects of winter cycling. The cool, crisp morning air can be invigorating. With snow on the ground at night I no longer see only a small cone of light. I can look all through the trees and see everything around me. I know whether that sound was just a branch falling, or a dog about to leap out at me. Itís also nice to maintain a decent level of fitness.

On the other hand, it can be a real pain finding every small article and putting on all those layers for a 10 degree (F) ride only to have to take them all off, work all day, put them back on, ride home, and get changed yet again. Then I have a big pile of damp clothes. I have to decide what needs hung up, what needs washed, and what has to be made ready for tomorrow. It would be much simpler just to grab a coat and drive, but I wonít.
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Old 09-12-07, 11:40 PM
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Yes, I will be commuting by bike this winter.

My main dislike about winter are the short days. The idea of having to start biking while it's still dark, work all day, then leaving when the sun has already set. I like the seeing the sun and having long days.

I'll be using both left and right panniers since I'll have to pack/carry more layers.

But I'm in SoCal so in comparison my winters are not as harsh as those that deal with biking in the snow.
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Old 09-12-07, 11:49 PM
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Awe, c'mon.

You guys don't even have winter. Short days? Ours are even shorter.

Today was the first day my feet were cold on the way to work. I guess I need to start wearing socks again.
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Old 09-12-07, 11:50 PM
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Winter cycling isn't as bad as people believe from their initial reaction to the concept.

In fact most people over dress when they go out for their first winter ride. (Note that I live in MN so I am not talking about warm parts of the country.) What you primarily need are windproof/waterproof outer layers, waterproof mittens and then something for your ankles.

I say somthing because if you have mountain bike shoes you may only need some nice gaiters, but if you have road shoes you may need bike booties, which are a bit more costly generally. bFor mittens look for climbing mittens which you can remove the liner on warmer days and to dry them and also a few inches overlap with a cinch to lock out snow ( i use: http://www.outdoorresearch.com/home/...s/ascent/71191 but they were a gift and there are cheaper options)

For extra cold days I carry cheap fleece arm and leg warmers.

Other than that carry as much weight as you can on your bike and not on your back.
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Old 09-12-07, 11:56 PM
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I hate the time it takes to get dressed/undressed at both ends of my commute.
Thats about it
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Old 09-13-07, 05:01 AM
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Winter sucks! It's dark and cold! Give me warm sunny days and I'm happy.
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The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. - Psalm 103:8

I am a cyclist. I am not the fastest or the fittest. But I will get to where I'm going with a smile on my face.
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Old 09-13-07, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by biknbrian View Post
Are you going to commute this winter?
Yes, and I'm looking forward to it. We've had temperatures in the mid-90s to 105 here the last month or so and I can't wait until it starts cooling off. Winters here are comparatively mild so I should be able to bike through most of the winter months.

Originally Posted by biknbrian View Post
Do you have the gear you need yet?
I'll probably pick up a few extras as we get into the season but I have my light setup and jacket which will get me through the fall.
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Old 09-13-07, 05:55 AM
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Well, Little Rock usually only has a day or two of snow per year, so I'll certainly be out pedaling. I did well last winter, so I think my gear is ready. I might get myself a new flannel shirt as my old one was getting a bit holey.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:04 AM
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I love winter commuting. I look forward to the -20degC or colder days. Nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing makes you feel more alive than passing cars stuck in traffic on such a cold day.

Bring on the cold!
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Old 09-13-07, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Jarery View Post
I hate the time it takes to get dressed/undressed at both ends of my commute.
Thats about it
+1 and I hate the extra routine..

Other than that, I'm somewhat mentally ready for it - cooler weather is starting to set in to stay here now, so I'm getting a taste of cooler commuting as I'm still in shorts & t-shirt for now. Once I'm used to the colder temperatures, it should be a bunch of fun

I have everything I need though I'm sure I'll find something else I'll want.

This will be the first winter without a backpack, so that might change my clothing choices (the backpack last year was like a beautifully warm radiator on there) but other than this, I don't anticipate any issues. Most if not all of the roads I use will be clear, and if we have a very heavy snowfall, then it'll just mean taking the MTB with knobbies out and giving myself more time to get to work. Unless I lengthen it by choice, my commute now is incredibly short (about 3.5 or 4 miles) so it's not so much of a concern for me I guess. I still, however, intend to ride everywhere through winter - though I don't know if I'll be so eager to go outside as I am now to ride over to friends, etc.

For me, the shorter/darker days is more of a general winter malaise (SAD?) because it really is depressing to have the only daylight while you're at work. It does suck to have to ride almost exclusively in the dark, and I find it gets a tad stressful having to concentrate that extra bit.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:18 AM
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I enjoy winter riding too. It's true that you really don't need to dress like a polar bear. If you go outside and you're warm before you start riding, you're over-dressed. Plus you can be NINJA CYCLIST!


(Next to a steaming Lake Champlain)
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Old 09-13-07, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by vtjim View Post
That looks silly!

... Brad
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Old 09-13-07, 06:31 AM
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I rode yesterday and it was brrrrrrrr, a cool 41 degrees. I wore a vest. I was chilled, but not cold. Tomorrow, I'm definitely wearing a long sleeved jersey.
I can't wait for winter. I rode down to 20 something degrees last year. This will be my first year as an ice biker.
I am hoping to commute some next year, but it's 46 miles round trip, so I'm not sure how well that will go. Especially, since I'm a shirt and tie guy.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:32 AM
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Have all the winter gear I need as I finally purchased some good stuff last year. I will commute as long as it is safe (blizzard/black ice traveling into downtown to work in heavy traffic is not good), however shopping, etc is not an issue. Plus I love to take the mtb out and play in the virgin snow. And I go out and play at night with two bicycling groups in the winter as well.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:33 AM
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How do you feel about winter?

Ambivalent. It will come no matter how I feel about it.

Are you going to commute this winter?

Of course.

Do you have the gear you need yet?

Mostly. Everything from last year will work this year. Clipless winter cycling boots aren't available yet, and I pick up my new bike next week.

Are you looking forward to it or not?

No. Rochester is the second-cloudiest city in the lower 48 after Seattle. Several months of relentless gloom isn't something one looks forward to. As for the cold and snow, after 50 years, I'm sort of used to it, although riding in it last year actually made it easier to deal with. Still, the perpetual dreariness gets to me.

Edit: Tude reminded me that I do enjoy the Tuesday night ride all winter long.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
No. Rochester is the second-cloudiest city in the lower 48 after Seattle. Several months of relentless gloom isn't something one looks forward to.
You hit the nail on the head for me also. Here in SW PA, our winters are much the same. I don't mind (in fact I kind of like it for a change) the cold or the ice or the snow ... but the seemingly total lack of direct sunlight for months on end - that part I can do without!

... Brad
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Old 09-13-07, 06:38 AM
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I'm really not looking forward to it, but I hate riding the T worse. And no, I don't have all my gear. I have a lot of general-purpose winter gear, but I think I need water/windproof outer layers that are more bike-specific.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:42 AM
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This is my first year commuting full-time, but I did ride to work last year a couple of times when the car was either in the shop or my wife needed it. I certainly wasn't prepared - thin gloves, no head covering, and 25mm slicks on ice. Not fun! But I figure if I can make it through that, I can ride all winter if I'm prepared.

Coincidentally, I just put in a big order on Nashbar to properly outfit my 15-yo hybrid as a properly Fred-ified winter beater. Fenders? Check. Rack? Check. 37mm commuter tires that weigh about 2 pounds each? Check. Blinkie and headlight? Check. Now I need the roll of Scotch-bright reflective tape and I'm set!

Also ordered a balaclava, toasty gloves, and a sweat-wicking underlayer for me. Should be good to go.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:45 AM
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I have a hard time with the temperature changes in winter. I leave the house freezing, and it takes me five minutes to warm up. By the time I get to the train, 20 minutes after leaving the house. I wait for the train, getting cold again. I sit on the train, sleep... and I don't get cold, 'cuz the train is heated. But when I get out of the train again, I'm freezing again, at which point it's just really hard to get on the bike.

Also, when there's melting snow and the streets are wet... and you put your mucked up folding bike on the overhead luggage rack of the commuter train, and it drips dirty water on the passengers below... well, it doesn't make you popular.

But complaining aside, yep, I'll be cycling all winter. The only crimp in that is: if there's so much snow they have to close the schools, I have to stay home anyway; so I don't get to ride in the snow very much.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:04 AM
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I look forward to riding in the snow and the colder weather, but the lack of daylight and extra layers are a down side.
Ofcourse I am riding all winter. I don't even give it a thought any more.
I have all my gear from last winter and have a new sweater to wear as a base layer. However I'm not sure what I'm going to do about slick road conditions. I have studded tire that will fit my commuter bike, but that means I have to ride studded all winter which is slower and more buzz. Or I can put my coroplast fenders back on the Pugsley for those bad days. However that means exposing my nicest bike to tons of road salt. My best option would be to get a good used MTB but I would have to sell one of my other bikes or I would be sleeping in the garage with them.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Underbridge View Post
toasty gloves
New theme for this year? Last year it was volcanism. I bought Lava Socks and Magma Gloves. Both were too warm for conditions here. Maybe Toasty Gloves instead. Makes me think of a dry heat...
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Old 09-13-07, 07:10 AM
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Winter is great because it justifies the new bike toys I buy. I bought a new Uvex ski helmet from amazon to keep my ears warmer with less bulkiness of helmet cover and ear warmers. Also nabbed a SuperFlash, and can't wait to hang Christmas lights on my bike again!
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Old 09-13-07, 07:10 AM
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I love winter commuting. I don't get sweaty like I when I ride in warmer weather. Because the ride is more cooler, I don't wear special clothes for my commute, which means that I don't have to pack work clothes in my bag. I just wear what I'm gonna wear at work anyway: jeans & a wool sweater. The only extra stuff on the bike is gloves & a balaclava. Nice & easy.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
How do you feel about winter?

Edit: Tude reminded me that I do enjoy the Tuesday night ride all winter long.
Yeah - I'm looking forward to it more this year - better bike, better gear. TourdeBar guys have kinda slumped off - some guys group together, others have gone total bmx. Have talked to some though and we want to do a fall ride - have "Business suit" night. Told them that HEY - I'm the only girl who rides - and I only have shorter skirts/coat for my suits. hehe, think I'll be wearing my shorts underneath.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:19 AM
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I ride year round, but this will be my first winter commuting. The winters are mild in NC, so the weather is seldom too cold to ride. We get very little snow or ice. I've collected plenty of cold-weather cycling clothes over the years, and I've found that it's best to layer clothing. I rarely ever wear jackets because they make me sweat, which makes it feel even colder. My biggest gripes about winter riding are: short days and lack of daylight, cold air that makes my eyes water on downhills, those first few miles (and downhills) before your warm up. On the plus side, your water or drinks stay cold, you don't get as sweaty if you dress correctly, and cool temps are better than 100+ degrees and high humidity!
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