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Looking Forward To, Or Dreading, The Winter?

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Looking Forward To, Or Dreading, The Winter?

Old 09-16-12, 10:11 PM
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jyl
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Looking Forward To, Or Dreading, The Winter?

Here in Portland, and in many places, the seasons are turning.

For the last few months, I've ridden into work in near daylight (I go in at 5:15 am) in shirtsleeves or a light windbreaker. Returned home under bright sun (I usually leave work at 3:00 pm), sunglasses on, sweating and panting in the heat. Riding the stripped-down vintage race bike, admiring the lady riders in shorts.

All that is coming to an end. It is darker when I ride in, and I'm wearing a light fleece under the windbreaker. There are some warm return rides, but also some cool, windy rides.

Soon I'll be pulling on the yellow Burley rain jacket and the rain pants. Booties and thicker gloves. A hat under my helmet, then a balaclava. I'll switch to the fendered mountain bike with the torch of a headlight. Stepping out into the pitch black rain, face and glasses streaming, pedaling hard to warm up. Riding home will be a headwind fight, no bare legs anywhere.

I don't know what I think about this. Commuting in the Portland winter isn't all bad. There is something exhilarating about forging through rain and dark, sprinting through the storms, arriving at work breathing hard and ruddy-cheeked - I like that. I don't drink as much coffee in the mornings, no need for it. The Calvinist side of me appreciates the adversity and challenge.

But there is a dread, or at least a sorrow, as well. Gone soon the easy glides into work. Wind, rain, gloom and the threat of black ice ahead.

How do you feel about commuting at this time in the seasons? Are you looking forward to winter? Or hoping for a long warm fall?
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Old 09-16-12, 10:57 PM
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kookaburra1701
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I'm looking forward to it - but then I look forward to all the changes of season. Seeing the first frost in the fall, the first crocus in spring, etc. That's what I love about bike commuting, I feel much more in touch with the rhythms of nature. Most of my coworkers who drive don't even know when the sun rises and sets or the phase of the moon!

Last edited by kookaburra1701; 09-17-12 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 09-16-12, 10:58 PM
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This will be my first winter commuting on bicycle and I am a bit nervous. I hope to be able to ride every day but we'll see! I'm mostly afraid of it being too cold.

Any veterans of winter commutes care to dispense some advice?
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Old 09-16-12, 11:03 PM
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I'm looking forward to it. Like kookaburra1701, I enjoy the change of seasons and riding keeps me in touch with nature so much more than when I was a car commuter.

It will be my first fall & winter of commuting. But fall is my favorite season, and I've always liked cold weather. Bring it on, I'm sure there will be challenges... but that will make successful commuting even more rewarding.
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Old 09-16-12, 11:11 PM
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i'm very much looking forward to it as winter is the only time that we can comfortably ride a bike without overheating. also means i can go out on longer rides just for the fun of it, something i can't really do for the other 9 months of the year.
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Old 09-16-12, 11:19 PM
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Seasons? I remember those. Temperature won't be much different than summer, just less sunlight hours. I tend to work later, so I might start coming to work earlier.
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Old 09-16-12, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lonelybikeboy View Post
This will be my first winter commuting on bicycle and I am a bit nervous. I hope to be able to ride every day but we'll see! I'm mostly afraid of it being too cold.

Any veterans of winter commutes care to dispense some advice?
Where so you live?

We had a wet spring which ran into summer, but it's been lovely for a long while. I hate to see summer go and sort of dread the short days. The only thing keeps me off the road is ice. Don't be nervous, just dress for the weather, have good lighting, and don't assume drivers can see you.
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Old 09-17-12, 12:20 AM
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Dread. Cold equals more layers and more junk to don each morning, which equals more time spent getting ready.
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Old 09-17-12, 12:59 AM
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I absolutely HATE the cold and winter here in Germany. It's dark when I come into work and dark when I leave. On top of that, I stop commuting to work on the bike when it drops below 50 F, yeah I'm a wuss but I hate waking up from a warm cozy bed to get all geared up to ride in the cold and sometimes wet. No thanks.

I hope there's an indian summer ahead so I can extend my riding season, otherwise I'm digging up the trainer from the basement.
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Old 09-17-12, 05:28 AM
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silmarillion
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It's been raining a lot lately...but I sure am enjoying the cool morning commute. Just up to a couple of weeks ago, the humidity was up a bit.

I prefer riding in warmer weather, but I do enjoy the change. I actually had to wear leg warmers last Friday.
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Old 09-17-12, 05:35 AM
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I am not dreading winter, but not sure how long I can ride in the winter. I have a hilly ride into work and there is one particular down hill that is not well lit. I ride at five forty in the morning. I am not sure how safe coming down that hill will be in the winter. I love riding into work and am going to try to ride as much as possible going through the winter.
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Old 09-17-12, 05:46 AM
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Bad weather makes me enjoy and appreciate the good weather even more.

Winter is not a problem. I'm not cold when skiing, so can't be cold on the bike. Just dress appropriately.

Rain AND cold is a problem. I find it very unpleasant. To go out in the morning, I need to have a hot cup of milk with a spoon of nescaffe and sugar. Just to make myself get out and on the bike.
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Old 09-17-12, 06:38 AM
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Looking forward to it. But we don't really have winter here, just "winter".

I'll probably still use the occasional ice storm as an excuse to stay home, though.
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Old 09-17-12, 06:56 AM
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I'm not dreading winter, but each year it seems like it gets harder and harder mentally. I think the actual riding still goes fine once I'm out the door, but the anticipation and all the logistics associated with cold and snow and ice and dark have taken a toll over the many years. I'm already missing the days of "shorts, jersey, water, and go!"
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Old 09-17-12, 07:00 AM
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I'm looking forward to it. I like the cooler temperatures as I don't sweat much and my water stays cold. Summer is our tough season in the South, both in terms of the heat and the humidity. The only advantage to summer around here is the longer days. Spring and fall are the ideal seasons in terms of weather, and winter is actually very nice if you have the proper equipment -- warm clothes to layer and a good light system.
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Old 09-17-12, 07:03 AM
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Here we finally get temps that allow us to ride as fast as we want without fear of being soaked with sweat when we arrive. I summer there are some days you can ride as slow as possible (without falling over) and you will be sweaty when you arrive.

I don't care for darker/longer nights, but it is exciting to get the changes. When living in Hawaii a number of years back the fact that there was little difference between winter and summer was pleasant at first, but then I wished for a little variety.
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Old 09-17-12, 07:14 AM
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Zrane
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Personally, I love riding in the dark. It feels...more free, somehow. Winter riding is great to me. Though I may change my tune if we have a harsher winter than we did last year.
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Old 09-17-12, 07:54 AM
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My least favorite season here in KY is almost over. I really look forward to riding during the Autumn, Winter and Spring seasons.
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Old 09-17-12, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Zrane View Post
Personally, I love riding in the dark. It feels...more free, somehow. Winter riding is great to me. Though I may change my tune if we have a harsher winter than we did last year.
+1 - I work graveyards so on my nights off I'll often go for rides at 2AM and have the streets to myself.
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Old 09-17-12, 08:25 AM
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I'm dreading it a bit as it will be my first winter commuting, I'm mostsly afraid of taking to much time for my 54 kms RT but I guess I will have to live up to my signature
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Old 09-17-12, 08:29 AM
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We don't really have winters any more in the Northeast. A few bad days here and there but otherwise it's no problem riding year round. The summers are getting dryer and hotter. The extreme heat and humidity are beginning to make summers more difficult to ride.
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Old 09-17-12, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by MNBikeCommuter View Post
I'm not dreading winter, but each year it seems like it gets harder and harder mentally. I think the actual riding still goes fine once I'm out the door, but the anticipation and all the logistics associated with cold and snow and ice and dark have taken a toll over the many years. I'm already missing the days of "shorts, jersey, water, and go!"
Yeah, the light dress aspect of summer riding is very nice as opposed to dealing with all the layers in winter.

Winter riding can be more treacherous. It's slower, and it's darker. It can also be incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

I don't find much enjoyment out of riding in the Fall rain, but we really need the moisture so I'm not going to complain if and when it comes.

Overall, the change in season this time of year is a mixed bag. I don't dread it but I don't really look forward to it the same way as I look forward to Spring once we get to March.
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Old 09-17-12, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by commo_soulja View Post
I absolutely HATE the cold and winter here in Germany. It's dark when I come into work and dark when I leave. On top of that, I stop commuting to work on the bike when it drops below 50 F, yeah I'm a wuss but I hate waking up from a warm cozy bed to get all geared up to ride in the cold and sometimes wet. No thanks.

I hope there's an indian summer ahead so I can extend my riding season, otherwise I'm digging up the trainer from the basement.
I find Frankfurt quite easy compared to the winters in Stockholm. There's hardly any snow
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Old 09-17-12, 08:39 AM
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I'm looking forward to the crisp, cool October rides and the same thing in February. It's the months in between with the constant rain that I am not so keen on.
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Old 09-17-12, 09:12 AM
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Here in Phoenix I look forward to winter. But summer's fun too.
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