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The Complete Winter Cycling Guide: How to Dress, Ride, and Clean Up Nicely

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The Complete Winter Cycling Guide: How to Dress, Ride, and Clean Up Nicely

Old 12-10-13, 06:08 PM
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mdilthey
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The Complete Winter Cycling Guide: How to Dress, Ride, and Clean Up Nicely

I just finished my winter tutorial. Hope this is useful!

Let It Snow



At the very least, enjoy some winter cycling pictures.
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Old 12-10-13, 06:19 PM
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Very good stuff.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-10-13, 06:31 PM
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Very nice! I'm off to get some XC tyres for the tourer! I'll need it for the commute to work tomorrow!

Really nice guide, and you're absolutely right about wind protection... The cold I got used to on my first few Canadian winters, and now I'm having to cycle to work and back during the winter, I'm often faced by damn cruel headwinds!

Wondering whether you've got a mind to do any night riding articles? As I often ride home at night.
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Old 12-10-13, 06:43 PM
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Nice!
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Old 12-10-13, 06:48 PM
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Having lived where it rains, snows, and gets black ice my solution was far easier and straight forward. Move to a warmer state.
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Old 12-10-13, 07:26 PM
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Really helpful. I've got a pretty good system now for everything except my hands. I bought some wind proof gloves, but my 28-degree ride left my hands so cold that I was in significant pain by the time I got home. It looks like you recommend putting mittens over the gloves. I'll try that next.
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Old 12-10-13, 07:31 PM
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I have ski gloves and wear thin liner gloves under them. Seems fine, down to 18 F which is the lowest it gets here (that I've ridden in).
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Old 12-10-13, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I don't own a car, but when the snow falls my commute gets a lot tougher. I've learned a lot over four car-free winters and wanted to share some tips!

Enjoy!

Let It Snow
Good link.

That blog had some good advice on winter riding, especially about not absolutely needing studded tires. I use them myself, but mainly because of my hobby of ice biking--not so much for my winter transportation riding. Keep in mind that on pavement, knobby tires are actually slipperier than slick tires, because less of the rubber will contact the hard surface. On snow, knobbies are usually better, but in some conditions a skinny tire will bite through the snow.

As for for wearing tights--IMO, the smooth (not waffled) and stretchy polyester long johns from the discount stores work just as well, at like one fourth or less than the price of cycling specific tights. Look for wool pants at the resale shop to wear over them. Police uniform pants (winter weight) are excellent, if you're lucky enough to find them. Hiking pants are also good.
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Old 12-10-13, 07:47 PM
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One thing that I dicovered last winter is Gortex over mitts. They weigh and wad up to nothing. Mine have a long guantlet with velcro straps around the wrist and at the ends of the gauntlet. I can cycle with impunity in the mid 30s with a light pair of long fingered gloves underneath.
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Old 12-10-13, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Good link.
That blog had some good advice on winter riding, especially about not absolutely needing studded tires.
This is especially true if you can cherry pick the days you ride.

But if you are commuting, for example, it's very likely you'll have more than a few days with 20-30% ice covered streets. You can get over that w/o studded tires, but it sure helps if you have them.

If you are riding nobbies, that is a great help in slushy snow.

Regular slick road tire are fine if the roads are pretty much clear.
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Old 12-11-13, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jhawk View Post
Very nice! I'm off to get some XC tyres for the tourer! I'll need it for the commute to work tomorrow!

Really nice guide, and you're absolutely right about wind protection... The cold I got used to on my first few Canadian winters, and now I'm having to cycle to work and back during the winter, I'm often faced by damn cruel headwinds!

Wondering whether you've got a mind to do any night riding articles? As I often ride home at night.
Sure! I'll do a night riding article!
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Old 12-11-13, 01:08 AM
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Tires: It is true what Roody mentions about slick tires having the best grip in wet conditions. Check out this article for more info on exactly why that is!

The tires I use on my own bike are Schwalbe Little Big Ben tires, which have "teeth" in the sense that there are positive and negative spaces to bite into snow, but the majority of the surface area contacts the ground, so they have nearly the same contact as smooth tires. Good compromise for winter.


Gloves: I use e-Vent overmitts sometimes (similar to Gore-Tex), but I like the breathability of riding without them. My palms get sweaty because winter riding requires a nice, strong grip on your handlebars. Your mileage may vary, so try different combinations!
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Old 12-11-13, 01:23 AM
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No fenders ?



(I don't run fenders on my Pugsley)

As for stainless cable or a lack thereof... a little wipe down with a lightly oiled cloth over exposed cables (non stainless) will protect them really well.
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Old 12-11-13, 08:31 AM
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No fenders?
I have been using fenders for my 20 years of winter riding and have not had any issues. The fenders keep me and the bike much cleaner. Take a look at the northern European winter cyclist on youtube, all have fenders.
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Old 12-11-13, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
Really helpful. I've got a pretty good system now for everything except my hands. I bought some wind proof gloves, but my 28-degree ride left my hands so cold that I was in significant pain by the time I got home. It looks like you recommend putting mittens over the gloves. I'll try that next.
I would think you just need mittens (don't need the other gloves underneath)... I have bike gloves with a fleece liner and only use the glove part at that temp...

I have these...
https://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-Bo...ds=bike+gloves
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Old 12-11-13, 09:58 AM
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Had lots of ice on the ride in this morning. Black ice and frozen rutted snow/ice that had been churned up by peds. Studded tires made it all safe. Marathon Winters. No slipping or loss of traction. Saw a couple guys carrying their bikes over bad sections as I rode by. The ice will probably stay around all week, so the studded tires will stay on the bike. They are mounted on an extra wheelset, so if things clear up, I'll switch back to regular tires.
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Old 12-11-13, 10:13 AM
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Thanks for posting! Keeping eyes, fingers and toes warm is the hardest part.
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Old 12-11-13, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
No fenders ?



(I don't run fenders on my Pugsley)

As for stainless cable or a lack thereof... a little wipe down with a lightly oiled cloth over exposed cables (non stainless) will protect them really well.
Thanks for all the feedback!

I added a section on fenders (and why I don't use them, but why most people should).

I also added a lot more on winter conditions and clarified a few things in clothing.

Stainless cables still win, because ice and snow gets into your housing where you can't wipe and corrodes the cable in there. Upgrading all the cables on your bike to stainless will cost you something around $1.50, so it's worth it.
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Old 12-11-13, 11:24 AM
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Thanks for the link.

I don't have anything worse than fall weather here in GA, anything I read in articles like yours covers everything I might face quite well. I usually pick up a tip or two from most readings and yours was no exception.

We don't have to worry about salt corrosion----we use tomorrow's sun to clear the roads!! Bike clean up is pretty much like after a spring rain.


Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I added a section on fenders (and why I don't use them, but why most people should).
"You cannot stay clean. Sorry. If you’re anywhere near traffic, you’re getting sprayed."

I did sissy up and get a SKS X Board. It keeps a little bit of the grit off of the drivetrain, the important part. My knees still get wet.
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Old 12-11-13, 12:22 PM
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Surprised you don't mention wearing any type of hat/hood, except for the subzero conditions. I know my forehead starts hurting and my ears fall off if I don't.
As for studs, I like what you say about them. I had them when I was younger (in Finland), then started using studs only in front, which worked great. It's more fun and still keeps you rolling since it's your front tire slipping that'll make you wipe out on ice. The only exception is perhaps in turns, where caution is obviously necessary. Since then, I've stopped using studs at all, though that sometimes presents problems with the unstable Ohio weather, especially with my "new" winter junkie that still has slicks on. I imagine I might get studs for the front for next winter.
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Old 12-11-13, 12:44 PM
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I don't ride in snow, but I do ride in temperatures down to about -6C (about 21 F). For people who use a helmet, I've found that a thin Goretex earband and a thin helmet cover are all I need for my head. The helmet cover traps air inside the helmet vents, and together with the styrofoam that provides good insulation. In fact I even leave the rear vents partly uncovered to release some moisture. It's easier and more comfortable than putting the helmet over a toque or hat. Of course, maybe it wouldn't work for colder temperatures.
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Old 12-11-13, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
I have ski gloves and wear thin liner gloves under them. Seems fine, down to 18 F which is the lowest it gets here (that I've ridden in).
This has been an inordinately cold winter... in this you can blame Canada.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:27 PM
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Where do you pedal that you don't need studded tires? I have 3 sets, two for commute and 1 for off road. In the Boston MA, there is a lot of freeze/ thaw so mine stay on for 3-4 months, works for me. YRMV. Much better peace of mind.
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Old 12-11-13, 04:52 PM
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the nice thing about studded tires is you don't have to worry about riding on ice. I've ridden thru numerous ice storms and sleet. I would'nt consider riding in extreme conditions without them. When there is snow around, you never know when you may encounter some treacherous conditions. I'd rather be safe than sorry. I've had my Nokians for seven winter seasons now and they look to last quite a few more. I also have them mounted on a second wheelset. So I use them when I need them. After the roads are plowed and cleaned off then I switch back to the road tires.

When I clean off my bike. I simply fill a gallon jug full of hot water and go outside and rinse everything off. No need to rig up a hose.

My tip for winter riding is get yourself a pair of cheap gaitors. They're great for keeping the snow and cold out of the top of your boot.
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Old 12-11-13, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Where do you pedal that you don't need studded tires? I have 3 sets, two for commute and 1 for off road. In the Boston MA, there is a lot of freeze/ thaw so mine stay on for 3-4 months, works for me. YRMV. Much better peace of mind.
I ride in the Boston, MA area mostly, haha.

I think studded tires do offer peace of mind, but since I don't have problems without studs, I never saw the need to upgrade.
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