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Took the plunge - snow commute

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Old 01-08-11, 07:50 AM
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Rhodabike
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Took the plunge - snow commute

All right, I finally did it. It's been decades since I commuted in the winter, but on Thursday morning my better half couldn't drive me to work and I didn't want to crawl there on the bus, so I took the plunge and rode in. It meant a few route changes that added 10 minutes to the length, mainly taking paths instead of my usual street route. The path was lumpy packed snow, with a few soft bits where my back wheel slipped a bit. Coming home, there were ribs of deep snow where the wind had gusted drifts across, but these were easier than the mushy bits.

No wonder cyclocross is more popular than road racing here - they get 5-7 months of specific 'cross training.

Cold hands were a bit of a problem, I'll need to get some of those windproof lobster mitts to put over my gloves.

I packed my office clothes into a pannier and wore cycling gear. There's a greater probability of crashing in these conditions, and I don't want to risk ripping something on the way in.

One odd thing - I said "Good morning" to a fellow commuter who caught me up at an intersection and got a sour blank stare in response. Now, I wouldn't bother in summer when there are people riding everywhere, but you'd think winter commuters would be so rare that we'd at least acknowledge each other's existence.
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Old 01-08-11, 08:06 AM
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irclean
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Originally Posted by Rhodabike View Post
Cold hands were a bit of a problem, I'll need to get some of those windproof lobster mitts to put over my gloves...
Welcome to the Dark Side! IME lobster mitts are overkill for all but the coldest days. I use a thin "base-layer" type of glove under a pair of fleece flip-over mittens. The flip-overs give me the ability to adjust the insulation on my hands on the fly, and if it gets too warm I can just take them off and use the base layer.
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Old 01-08-11, 02:53 PM
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My hands get cold easily, so I use big mittens (something like these but not them specifically) and don't have much issues shifting my bar-ends either, but I mostly stick to the single speed for winter commuting. I imagine a flat-bar would be fine too... dunno why more folks don't use them, I've never had cold fingers and I have room for another pair of gloves inside if that ever became an issue.

My other winter essential is a nice scarf, with it I can open it up when it's warm; wrap it up balaclava style when it cold and put on a toque. If it's nice out I leave hat off and the scarf just a touch open, and I find I don't get too hot.

I've seen a few folks on bikes so far, a few folks even looked like they enjoyed it almost as much as I do. Wow, sorry for the rambling off-topic post.
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Old 01-08-11, 11:37 PM
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Another alternative for your hands are ski gloves. I found a $25 set at Sam's Club at the beginning of the season, and they work great. Windproof, waterproof, and insulated, with a bit more dexterity than mittens.
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Old 01-09-11, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by irclean View Post
Welcome to the Dark Side! IME lobster mitts are overkill for all but the coldest days. I use a thin "base-layer" type of glove under a pair of fleece flip-over mittens. The flip-overs give me the ability to adjust the insulation on my hands on the fly, and if it gets too warm I can just take them off and use the base layer.
good idea. I might do that.
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Old 01-09-11, 06:43 AM
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Good for you! You'll be in shape, and there's something about riding in the cold that just makes you feel good (after you get where you're going and warm up).

I use ski gloves, they work well down to the low 20's with high humidity. Anything colder than that here, and I won't need to ride, because everything would be shut down.
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Old 01-09-11, 02:21 PM
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I've used the Pearl Izumi spandex base gloves with their fleece outer ones in the coldest of days which is fine with little to no wind. I also have a set of Endura gloves just below the tundra model and if it's really cold I will put the Pearl Izumi base layer under those. I have also used some Dakine finger gloves (prefer gloves over mittens) but they reduce a lot of movement with trying to shift or brake.

If you can just get something to block the wind a simple base layer will do, the insulation is nice on my gloves but the gloves also seem rather tight with two layers. So once it cuts any circulation I am now cold

There are a few who winter commute around here, I do not for work but I do for getting around to other places (I have to get up way too early to bike commute, plus I have to take a bus part way).

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Old 01-09-11, 02:43 PM
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I use ski gloves on the cold days, but I have a few different types of gloves.

Check out your local salvation army and you might be able to find some things. I bought 2 hats, an ear warmer band, a pair of gloves, and a neck gaiter for $3.50. They even had a Giro 540 helmet for $5.

Riding in the winter is not as bad as some think. I layer my clothing (base layer, insulating layer, Shell), but that's about it.

Don't worry about other commuters. Although most are nice in my experience, there are some not so nice ones.
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Old 01-11-11, 10:25 AM
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Good for you! I tried yesterday and failed miserably! Recent snow kicked my butt. I don't think my bike's set up correctly for it anyway.
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Old 01-18-11, 11:46 AM
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for hands try separate glove liners in loose fitting winter gloves
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