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If you are tough about cycling in bad weather, are you a tough person in general?

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If you are tough about cycling in bad weather, are you a tough person in general?

Old 11-14-14, 12:53 AM
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vol
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If you are tough about cycling in bad weather, are you a tough person in general?

Some of us are tougher than others . Some avoid too cold or adverse weather, some commute even in the worst weather which impress their coworkers. Is it reasonable to suppose most of the latter are also tough in other aspects of life and have a tenacious nature, unyielding personality, and thought so by the coworkers? Do some coworkers not only respect you for being a tough bike commuter but also regard you as someone who is not meek?
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Old 11-14-14, 12:57 AM
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Yes.

At least, I feel like a badass...
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Old 11-14-14, 01:23 AM
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Meek as a newborn lamb here. I can think of a lot worse things than cycling in bad weather. So, this begs the question, how do you define "tough?"
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Old 11-14-14, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jwarner View Post
Meek as a newborn lamb here. I can think of a lot worse things than cycling in bad weather. So, this begs the question, how do you define "tough?"
Says the guy in Alaska as he beats grizzlies off with his frame pump in the middle of a blizzard.
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Old 11-14-14, 02:26 AM
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If it gets icy, which is doesn't in northeast England that often, I run to work (10km one-way) and home.

I was tougher in Germany, England is quite soft by comparison.
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Old 11-14-14, 04:55 AM
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Yes my active intense lifestyle and my workout routines would kill the average person....I don't consider bike commuting to be a " tough activity" any body can ride a bicycle to work , you don't even need any special fitness to do it. I am surprised how many people on this forum complain about small trivial irrelevant things and make it sound like some huge big hardship.
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Old 11-14-14, 05:15 AM
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I suppose you need a certain mental toughness to ride 20km to work in sheeting rain or a heavy snow storm. I'm sure it carries on to other aspects of life as well. I know I couldn't care less about the weather as long as the roads aren't covered in ice.
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Old 11-14-14, 05:42 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Originally Posted by vol View Post
Some of us are tougher than others . Some avoid too cold or adverse weather, some commute even in the worst weather ...

Originally Posted by The Velominati, Keepers of the Cog
Rule #9;If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing rain falling from the skies, allow a wry smile to spread across their face. This is a rider who loves the work.
Say no more. I recently posted about my personna as a year round cycle commuter:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…My cycling lifestyle in many ways makes me feel somewhat “alienated” (“immature”) in a good way from the usual American car-focused lifestyle, and I’m grateful for that. My cycling reputation, mundane as my cycling might be to the hard-core cyclists, is always a source of amusement and conversation with my friends and acquaintances; e.g. in bad weather, “You didn’t ride your bike today, did you?,” or at fancy social events, “Did you ride your bike here?.” Always asked with amusement and respect…

Originally Posted by vol View Post
…some commute even in the worst weather which impress their coworkers...
Think "loner," think "anti-hero," think, e.g. "Dirty Harry." I will admit that maintaining my “tough guy” image is an important motivation to ride, though I have also been called “a saint.” I always anticipate that perennial question, “You didn’t ride your bike today, did you?.” My wife once chided me for riding one snowy day, “You just want to ride so you can write about it on Bike Forums.”

Originally Posted by Motolegs (of Southern Colorado) View Post
With Winter still weeks away, the low tonight is a projected 5 above. Ready or not..

(As an aside, it was about 18 this morning, and got my first agape stares and "You rode your bike today!?" 's at work. )
Other Winter cyclists have posted about the Question, and the best tough guy reply I have read was from tsl, “Well, it’s better than pushing it.”

But to answer that question,

Originally Posted by vol View Post
..Is it reasonable to suppose most of the latter are also tough in other aspects of life and have a tenacious nature, unyielding personality, and thought so by the coworkers? Do some coworkers not only respect you for being a tough bike commuter but also regard you as someone who is not meek?
One of the nicest compliments I have received at work is that I am credible, and think my cycling reputation probably supports that image.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 11-14-14 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 11-14-14, 06:30 AM
  #9  
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A lot of people think I'm tough because I ride my bike to work, but really, I'm not tough. It's just that I have structured my life in such a way that the decision I make, when I get out of bed, is "shall I go to work today?" rather than "how shall I get to work today?" If I had the option of driving, I might drive sometimes. The weather might become a factor. But it isn't; I don't have a car. If I don't want to ride my bike, I don't go to work, and I don't get paid, and then I have to explain to my wife why I didn't go to work. So yeah, I'm real tough, but I'm not that tough. I'd rather ride in the rain, or the snow, than explain to my wife why I didn't go to work.
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Old 11-14-14, 06:33 AM
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This is an interesting question. Rode last year in sub zero temps and co workers were impressed in one way or another. This year is the first riding on ice (thanks Nokian, and the experienced riders here who espouse the virtues of studded tires) and jaws are even more unhinged when folks realize I rode in.

The looks are more of a "This guy is crazy" than tough though.. Actually took a close up photo of the studs on the tires to show them because many asked "Do you have chains?" or "Do you ride with spiked tires like those motorcycle ice racers?".

But the athletic sort do show respect for the "feat" as opposed to the couch potato types, who seem to view it as a kind of mental defect.

Last edited by Motolegs; 11-14-14 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 11-14-14, 06:52 AM
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I cycle in the winter in part because it is easier, more reliable, and more convenient than driving. I've been able to keep my car for nearly 30 years because I don't have to drive it in corrosive salt brine very often. The reality is that I am impressed by all that winter motorists must endure -- cars that won't start, icy hills that they cant climb because studs are not allowed on cars, the fear of being stuck all night. I'm a cyclist out of laziness, or maybe an absence of masochism, but if people choose to think I'm tough -- well, I like being thought of as tough.
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Old 11-14-14, 07:31 AM
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No much as I'd like to think that, it doesn't make us tough in general. Maybe a mental toughness, but like RHM I just get on the bike by default, no decision involved. Although like a wimp I drove today
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Old 11-14-14, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
So yeah, I'm real tough, but I'm not that tough. I'd rather ride in the rain, or the snow, than explain to my wife why I didn't go to work.
+1!!!

I feel like I only have to make the occasional "hardship" ride. We have other commuters, but they live 2-3 miles away at most. One of them doesn't own a car (his wife does, so not a car free household). I feel like people make more comments directed toward me because I come from the mysterious suburbs across the river 11 miles away and do not live in the city like all of the other people who ride in (minus 1 wonderful lady who lives down the road from my whom I can occasionally convince to ride with me).

I know I need to ride more...right now it is probably twice a week. I would like to make it 3x a week. I just don't want to deal with the cagers on Friday. You can see the motor vehicle handling skills decrease as the week progresses.

I don't necessarily feel tough as much as I am going for a bike ride, have to work for awhile, then I get to go for another ride. I feel tough after completing a century...well, after the aspirin has kicked in and the first pint has been drank.

Last edited by bmthom.gis; 11-14-14 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 11-14-14, 08:32 AM
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When it rains on these guys they don't get wet, the water gets them

(I just took the top 10 mileage, I know there are several like @wphamilton that have long streaks)
@borosen ____________________________ 7223 (11109) [182/191]
@f1xedgear (NC) ____________________ 6957 [169]
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@gregf83 (BC)_______________________ 4705 (5875) [117/135]
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Old 11-14-14, 08:50 AM
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There are personality traits related to cycling in bad weather that manifest themselves in other aspects of my life. I do think those traits have helped my to succeed in other ways. Whether you call it toughness, or tenacity, it can help see you through. At same time, I know that those same traits can cause me to stay on a certain path when changing course would be wiser.

I don't think being tough in one aspect of your life means that your tough in all aspects.

The other thing I'll say is that sometimes toughness is confused with experience. I have a long history of participating in outdoor activities in sub-zero weather. Cycling in cold weather isn't that much of a leap for me really. There are plenty of things that other people do that I'm amazed by. Part of is toughness, but part of it is just knowing what you're doing and having the confidence that you can.
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Old 11-14-14, 09:02 AM
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I think when you do things that others are either unwilling or unable to do, it only makes you tougher. One of the finance bloggers I follow calls it 'voluntary discomfort'. The idea is that if you can get used to something that causes you a little bit of discomfort and make it the new norm, you gain just a little bit more gratification from other things.

Today is the coldest I've ever ridden (-4*C, -6 windchill). Some of you will scoff at that, but for me that's an accomplishment, and yes, I do feel 'tougher'. But conditions were dry mostly. I've run in -30* temperatures before, and have done it in a snowstorm. When you've experienced that sort of voluntary discomfort, then running in -10 is actually quite pleasant.
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Old 11-14-14, 09:21 AM
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Compared to many other bike commuters, I think I am a light-weight when it comes to commuting... My commute takes about :40 minutes and at least :10 minutes of that is time at stop lights/stop signs), fairly safe and suburban, a mix of MUPs and roads that mostly have bike lanes, etc. I live in California and the weather is pretty good and I usually drive if it rains much. I think I might bike to work in the rain if I had access to a shower and could keep my bike indoors. Still, not a very "tough" attitude... The idea of biking in the dark, while it is raining does make me anxious as I think the vision of drivers is not so good in that condition. When I first started commuting, I didn't ride in winter after dark. Now, I have good lights and I kind of like the peacefulness of a ride home at night. I feel good about being more confident with night riding. I also feel good about the fact that I commute by bike despite a back injury. I haven't been able to do long endurance rides the way I did before the back injury, but I am riding regularly. I wish I could go back in time and tell my 20 year old self to spend less time on long rides and build up core strength to avoid injury...

The things I consider to be indicative of "toughness" are things like RAAM, The Tour Divide mountain bike race, people who do long solo tours, commuting in the snow and rain in places like Alaska or the northeastern US. A friend of mine moved from California to Ohio for college and she rode her bike everywhere, despite people yelling out their car windows and telling her to "get on the sidewalk." I thought that was tough.

The interesting thing is the disparity between my perception of myself and how others perceive me. I also get comments from people at work along the lines of: "you didn't ride today, did you?" or when they see me leave in my bike clothes after dark and they get a concerned look on their face and say "Stay safe." I have an elderly aunt who complains about the fact that I ride in the dark and is constantly telling me "Their are old people like me on the road who can't see and have slow reaction times..."
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Old 11-14-14, 09:39 AM
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Bike commuting is mentally easier than sitting in a car for an hour in heavy traffic, but physically tougher. The only time bike commuting is a chore is when it's really cold and I have low energy. Then I just slog it out until I get there. Bike commuting does require mental and physical perseverance, which is probably reflected in other aspects of your life (i.e., you are probably not a lazy person or a person who gives up easily).
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Old 11-14-14, 09:39 AM
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Riding in foul weather and having an unyielding personality are different. Maybe I didn't yield to the foul weather, but once I get to work Ill hold the door open for someone instead of crowding my way through.

I would say compared to others I know I am more willing to make the bike commute work. I would also say a dedicated bike commuter has to be patient much more than tough.
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Old 11-14-14, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
There are personality traits related to cycling in bad weather that manifest themselves in other aspects of my life. I do think those traits have helped my to succeed in other ways. Whether you call it toughness, or tenacity, it can help see you through. At same time, I know that those same traits can cause me to stay on a certain path when changing course would be wiser…
I have occasionally compared my personality trait / work ethic to my hill-climbing. I like to push hard on long, special projects (uphill), but cruise on the routine (flats).

Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
…The other thing I'll say is that sometimes toughness is confused with experience. …Part of is toughness, but part of it is just knowing what you're doing and having the confidence that you can.
If I equate toughness to “hardcore,” this favorite post of mine about winter riding expresses that same opinion; from the thread, "When does Hardcore become Stupid?":

Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
Hardcore becomes stupid when it becomes dangerous.

Hardcore becomes stupid when anything going wrong becomes a safety problem instead of an inconvenience...

Hardcore becomes stupid when minor errors in judgment become safety issues….If you estimate wrong, do you get a chill? Or do you die?

Hardcore has clearly become completely stupid when you lose any fingers or toes to frostbite.

In each case, it's not just the weather that makes it hardcore or stupid, it's the degree of preparation and knowledge used in dealing with the weather.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 11-14-14 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 11-14-14, 09:42 AM
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Tough? Nah. People think I'm nuts to cycle in winter weather and they're probably right.
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Old 11-14-14, 09:46 AM
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Tough? Me? Not on your life. I work in a library for heavens sakes.

Physically, I was always the 98-pound weakling. I remain so, except with the added bonus of extra middle-aged girth, which looks really silly given my stick man physique. Well, there are my quads. And ladies at the grocery store have complimented my lycra-clad butt.

Still, no, I'm not physically tough. I have to keep pliers in the kitchen drawer to open bottles, and I take jars across the hall to my neighbor to open for me. Those plastic wrapped packages of cold cuts you're supposed to peel open? I have to use scissors.

As for cold, I'm delighted my landlord keeps the boiler running to provide 74F in most of the apartment, and it gets over 80 here in my kitchen between the radiator, the stove (Yay for old-school gas with standing pilot lights!) and my computer.

While I can be resolute, that's not what keeps me on the bike through the winter. There are two things mainly.
  • First, cycling has been a tremendous benefit to both my physical health and my mental well-being. I don't want to give those up in the very season where I need them most.
  • Second, although it was several years ago now, I still vividly remember the torture it was getting into shape. By cycling through winter, I avoid that problem come spring.
So really, it's not that I'm tough enough to ride through the winter, it's that the alternatives--feeling like crap and depression again through the winter, and then the pain and suffering of retraining in spring--are even tougher. I'm taking the easy way out.

Finally, it's a question of perspective.

Whether your belief system supports evolution, or states we are made in His image, the argument remains the same: With the exception of the past couple of generations, all my ancestors survived winter without climate-controlled mechanical transport. It shouldn't be any surprise that I can too.

Last edited by tsl; 11-14-14 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 11-14-14, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Motolegs View Post
This is an interesting question. Rode last year in sub zero temps and co workers were impressed in one way or another. This year is the first riding on ice (thanks Nokian, and the experienced riders here who espouse the virtues of studded tires) and jaws are even more unhinged when folks realize I rode in.

The looks are more of a "This guy is crazy" than tough though.. Actually took a close up photo of the studs on the tires to show them because many asked "Do you have chains?" or "Do you ride with spiked tires like those motorcycle ice racers?".

But the athletic sort do show respect for the "feat" as opposed to the couch potato types, who seem to view it as a kind of mental defect.
I used to get lots of comments from people in the office but it's kind of old news now. Random people will still stays things to me in the elevator during the winter though. My favorite of all time had nothing to do with me. I used to ride an early 90's Bianchi Project 3 "Cross Terrain" bike that I had put drop bars on. It was black with a couple of purple logos so I had wrapped the bars in purple tape.

Usually I had fenders on the bike but for whatever reason I didn't that day. The tires were wet and the studs were very visible against the shiny black rubber. Normally people wouldn't even notice the studs.

A guy was staring at my bike the whole elevator ride. As he got off the elevator one floor before me, he says: "That is one bad-ass bike".

It hadn't really occurred to me before, but it probably looked like something out of Mad Max.

Last edited by tjspiel; 11-14-14 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 11-14-14, 09:51 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
...While I can be resolute, that's not what keeps me on the bike through the winter. There are two things mainly.
  • First, cycling has been a tremendous benefit to both my physical health and my mental well-being. I don't want to give those up in the very season where I need them most.
  • Second, although it was several years ago now, I still vividly remember the torture it was getting into shape. By cycling through winter, I avoid that problem come spring.
So really, it's not that I'm tough enough to ride through the winter, it's that the alternatives--feeling like crap and depression again through the winter, and then the pain and suffering of retraining in spring--are even tougher. I'm taking the easy way out.

Finally, it's a question of perspective.

Whether your belief system supports evolution, or states we are made in His image, the argument remains the same: With the exception of the past couple of generations, all my ancestors survived winter without climate-controlled mechanical transport. It shouldn't be any surprise that I can too.
Astute and well said, tsl.
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Old 11-14-14, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
the best tough guy reply I have read was from tsl, “Well, it’s better than pushing it.”
Ha! What it truly shows is my love of wordplay. I enjoy taking other people's questions and standing them on their head.

When asked, "How far did you ride?" my answer is always, "The whole way!" With a grin and a wink, of course.
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