Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

64-year -old bicycle commuter in near sub zero weather. I good idea?

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

64-year -old bicycle commuter in near sub zero weather. I good idea?

Reply

Old 01-02-18, 09:18 AM
  #1  
italcyclist
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 26

Bikes: A vintage road bicycle, and hybrid and a mtb.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
64-year -old bicycle commuter in near sub zero weather. I good idea?

I am a 64 - year - old bicycle commuter, and the current winter weather (the current 2018 winter weather) is making me wonder if bicycle commuter is a good idea.
I follow all the appropriate measures regarding dressing for cold weather,
i.e. layering. My wife thinks I am crazy. "You are no spring chicken, "she said to me the other day.
While I love riding my bicycle I would also enjoy hearing from fellow 60+ cyclists who ride in very cold weather.
italcyclist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 09:32 AM
  #2  
Barrettscv 
Have bike, will travel
 
Barrettscv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Edwardsville, Illinois
Posts: 11,650

Bikes: Canyon Endurance SL, De Rosa Professional, Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra, Schwinn Paramount, Motobecane Grand Record, Peugeot PX10, Serotta Nova X, Simoncini Cyclocross Special, Raleigh Roker, Pedal Force CG2 and CX2

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 540 Post(s)
It really depends on how cold and how far. I can ride longer distances if temperatures are above 25f. Any colder than that I limit myself to 45 minutes of riding at a time.

Be sure to avoid any and all cotton garments in freezing weather. Cotton will absorb perspiration and transmit cold temperatures when damp. Wool or synthetic fibers are required.
__________________
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 01-02-18 at 01:31 PM.
Barrettscv is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 09:49 AM
  #3  
WNCGoater
Senior Member
 
WNCGoater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Western NC mountains
Posts: 921

Bikes: Diamondback Century 3. Marin Four Corners

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 402 Post(s)
I'm a big believer in merino wool base layers. On top of that, more wool or more modern synthetics. Head, face, hands, feet are the the weak points. Head and face is easier to protect, feet and hands require some special thought. Everyone has "what works best for me" as far as those two areas. There have been a couple threads in the General forum addressing those.
As far as your age, I don't really see where that has anything to do with cold weather riding assuming you are reasonably fit to ride in the first place. Extreme cold, however, does increase the difficulty level and surely needs to be considered.
I think one thing people don't consider for cold is what happens in case of breakdown and I'm not pedaling to keep warm any longer. I'm not sure I could change a flat in single digit temps so I need a "plan B". May be wise to carry extra outer layers on a rack or bag.
WNCGoater is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 02:33 PM
  #4  
Ogsarg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Hollister, CA (not the surf town)
Posts: 281

Bikes: 2009 Specialized Roubaix, early 90's Giant Iguana

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
How long is your commute? Time of exposure makes a huge difference in terms of dealing with cold. I do early morning rides near freezing but they are limited to 50-60 minutes. For that amount of time, I'm ok mostly but my feet do get cold. Add 15-20 minutes and I think a lot more of me would start getting cold as well.

My biggest concern would be ice and a crash resulting from that. It rarely gets down to freezing where I live but I don't think I'd be riding if there was a risk of black ice. A broken hip gets harder and harder to recover from as you get older.
Ogsarg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 02:39 PM
  #5  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 8,829

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 89 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3902 Post(s)
Nah ... bad idea. Dial it back to 62 or at most 63, then head out.
Maelochs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 02:54 PM
  #6  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 7,565
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 701 Post(s)
Any weather you’d consider skiing or skating in you can also ride in.
Don’t get hung up on the type of activity.
dabac is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 02:58 PM
  #7  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 33,821

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4555 Post(s)
I have an old MTB, with studded tires made in Finland..
fietsbob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 03:20 PM
  #8  
on2wheelsks 
Senior Member
 
on2wheelsks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Leavenworth County, KS
Posts: 85

Bikes: 2013 Specialized Sirrus Elite, 2014 Secteur Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Our local group got out yesterday when it was zero degrees Fahrenheit, rode 7 miles just to start the year off right. 5 of us are over 50, I am 63 years young.
Pat
__________________
The time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time. -Bertrand Russell
on2wheelsks is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 03:34 PM
  #9  
HawkOwl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2,711
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Well, tough question to answer. Cold weather can kill. Not as easily as Hot weather. But it does happen. So, the mere fact that you asked the question makes me wonder if you are mentally and physically equipped to be out in cold weather. If you are doesn't make any difference what you are doing. It all works.


Back in antiquity we used to take our Scouts out for the Forty Below badge. The rules required an overnight camp. Had to be Forty Below at night. Actually, once they and their parents got used to the idea it was a pretty routine kind of thing. In today's Hover Parent/No Risk kind of world don't know if that is done any more.


(Oh yes, don't, do not, allow the calendar to determine what you will, or will not, do. It is your personal mental and physical fitness that gives you the ability. Not that artificial time keeping machine.)

Last edited by HawkOwl; 01-02-18 at 03:38 PM.
HawkOwl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 03:53 PM
  #10  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,725

Bikes: Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel, Centurion Ironman Expert

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1883 Post(s)
Be sure to cover the mouth and nose too. Really helps offset the effects of cold dry air.

I prefer disposable paper surgical masks, the kind with elastic loops that hook behind the ears. You can buy 'em by the box at any pharmacy. Much more hygienic and convenient than fabric masks, balaclavas, etc. They'll get soggy quickly from respiration at best, and snotty at worst. Toss the surgical masks. Carry spares for the return ride, or to replace periodically with longer rides.

This works for me on rides down to 20F with wind chill even lower. On longer rides I'll get beard icicles below the mask from respiration moisture accumulation, but the mask itself remains thawed. Helps protect the face too, although my beard helps with that.

I know some image conscious cyclists who wouldn't be seen wearing a paper surgical mask in public, but you can still wear the cosmetically acceptable name brand balaclava or other mask over the disposable paper mask.

In my neighborhood the only person I've seen wearing paper surgical masks in public is my Japanese neighbor. Very common in Japan and she just continued the practice here in Texas.
canklecat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 04:04 PM
  #11  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 13,120

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1794 Post(s)
I'm not 60 yet, but I tend to feel like anything around 5 or 6 is starting to be dangerous enough to take special care with. Under 10 really, since we don't see it all that often here (similar to North Texas winters).

That said, on a commute that's, say, only half an hour, it shouldn't necessarily stop you just from an age standpoint. As long as you can keep up the watts for that amount of time, and the bike is reliable enough. Personally I do it at those temps, but I don't really enjoy it as much and I don't think I've ever gone for a recreational ride when it was super-cold.
wphamilton is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 04:04 PM
  #12  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,725

Bikes: Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel, Centurion Ironman Expert

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1883 Post(s)
BTW, for layering it's hard to beat the value of Champion brand t-shirts, short and long sleeve. The "Vapor" type fabric is best, but any of their poly wicking fabric shirts are fine for winter and summer wear.

For more money the best I've tried is Pearl Izumi's Transfer fabric base layer. Best $30 I ever spent was on a Pearl Izumi Transfer sleeveless undershirt. I've worn it year 'round, including summers under dressy shirts to be sure perspiration evaporates evenly without printing through to the cotton outer shirt.

Spending double or triple the money really does buy better fabric. The Pearl Izumi Transfer fabric feels slightly spongey. It immediately conforms to body temperature so it always feels comfortable. And it never gets soggy or clammy feeling.

For my legs under my jeans or other trousers, I just wear $5 women's tights from Walgreen's. Same poly wicking fabric used by many sports apparel makers. The fabric feels and works the same as my Pearl Izumi arm warmers and Nashbar knee warmers. Another guy I ride with recently admitted he wears exactly the same tights under his jeans. Hell, they're comfy and they work!

I'm 5'11", 160 lbs, and the women's medium works for me. The waistband fits better on the tights with textured fabric. The smoother fabric feels great but the waistband is a bit looser and I need to pull 'em up more often.

On my feet, I wear a pair of thin poly anklets, then a pair of thicker microfiber socks (3 pair for $10, also Walgreens). Comfy with my cycling/walking shoes down to around 40F. When it gets into serious cold I'll wear my old Herman Survivor hiking boots. Double wall leather, heavy but warm even in the 20s. Good enough for casual cycling speed, around 10-12 mph.

My hands get cold first. I'll usually add thin poly or silk liners under winter gloves -- usually just generic ski gloves, which offer enough dexterity for shifting and braking. For longer rides in the 20s I'd need lobster claw mitts attached to the handlebars, but it doesn't stay cold enough long enough here to justify the cost.
canklecat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-18, 04:11 PM
  #13  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 4,285

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 603 Post(s)
It's generally easier to get used to cooler temperatures if you ride the temps down with the season. OTOH, it's a shock to the system if you've been driving since the temperature dropped below 65F and then try to ride in 0F.


We all have bands where we're comfortable, can be comfortable with the right gear, and I, for one, think it's really cold below 10F no matter what I have. Although if it stays cold long enough, I might start thinking that "really cold" band starts at 0. All of which points back to the question, what are you used to?
pdlamb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-18, 11:41 AM
  #14  
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Posts: 26,353

Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Originally Posted by italcyclist View Post
I am a 64 - year - old bicycle commuter, and the current winter weather (the current 2018 winter weather) is making me wonder if bicycle commuter is a good idea.
I follow all the appropriate measures regarding dressing for cold weather,
i.e. layering. My wife thinks I am crazy. "You are no spring chicken, "she said to me the other day.
While I love riding my bicycle I would also enjoy hearing from fellow 60+ cyclists who ride in very cold weather.
I am 70 and "commute" every day 11 miles R/T to the local gym with a heated pool. It was -1 F the other day; mittens, a scarf, cold weather boots, long johns, wool socks and hooded Carhart jacket kept me toasty warm. Used my headphones rather than ear plugs to listen to the audiobook playing from the mp3 player to help keep my ears warm. Have to keep the mp3 player inside my coat otherwise the battery gets too cold to operate.. Luckily for me my wife never interferes with my cycling activity, it is who I am and what I do; she knew that when she married me 40 years ago.

Used to commute 22 miles to at temperatures as cold as -15 F until I was 62, then changed jobs to a closer location 10miles R/T until I retired 5 years ago. Same routine, proper clothing makes all the difference. Fingers and toes are hardest to keep warm after about 45 minutes in extreme cold. Good mittens and boots are essential.

Also, NEVER wear pants with metal zippers at very cold temperature!! Long johns and pants with plastic buttons or sweat pants can prevent a painful experience.
I-Like-To-Bike is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-18, 11:52 AM
  #15  
fixedweasel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 238
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 87 Post(s)
I am only 53 but just wanted to chime in as the young guy. I've commuted year round here in Chicago down to -10F. My commutes are 13 miles each way. I have no issues with warmth albeit the main problem is puncture. I once punctured when it was 0F and it actually became dangerous. Obviously you cannot change a tube out with your winter gloves on* and the exposure of the hands/skin at those temps while trying to work on your bike can be quite painful no matter how quick your tube changing abilities are. On that run, my second tube exploded and ripped apart and I had to replace the second tube. I almost cried. I eventually made it home but swore off not to commute again when it was that cold. I'll still commute in the teens F, but no more single digits or below zero. Even though I've got 10 of 'em, I'd still like to keep all the pointers.




*or at least i can't
fixedweasel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-18, 12:04 PM
  #16  
steelbikeguy
Senior Member
 
steelbikeguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Peoria, IL
Posts: 1,177
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 320 Post(s)
Originally Posted by fixedweasel View Post
.... I once punctured when it was 0F and it actually became dangerous. Obviously you cannot change a tube out with your winter gloves on* and the exposure of the hands/skin at those temps while trying to work on your bike can be quite painful no matter how quick your tube changing abilities are. On that run, my second tube exploded and ripped apart and I had to replace the second tube. I almost cried. I eventually made it home but swore off not to commute again when it was that cold. I'll still commute in the teens F, but no more single digits or below zero. Even though I've got 10 of 'em, I'd still like to keep all the pointers.

*or at least i can't
I commuted to work a number of times when it was 0 deg F, but I've since changed that threshold. This was due to having to fix a flat when it was 8 deg F and the sun was setting. I had enough foresight to keep a set of thin gloves in the saddlebag, and managed to fix the flat before my hands went numb. I'm not sure I could do that if it was 0 deg F, and I don't think I want to find out.


Steve in balmy Peoria
steelbikeguy is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-18, 06:40 PM
  #17  
mdadams1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 100
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
I am 63 and absolutely love riding in temperatures below 20 degrees F. If you ride all year round it makes it easy to get use to cold/hot weather. I even ride a fat bike in snow. To the guy who had the flat in Chicago at 10 below. I just recently bought hard rubber tires to deal with the issue of flatting in extremely cold weather.

Last edited by mdadams1; 01-03-18 at 06:44 PM.
mdadams1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-18, 06:41 PM
  #18  
Dan Burkhart 
Senior member
 
Dan Burkhart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Oakville Ontario
Posts: 6,808
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 345 Post(s)
I'm also 64 and I commute to a part time job a couple of days a week. The days in between, I do trips to the store and other errands. 0F (-18c) is about my lower limit, but I have done colder.
Dan Burkhart is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-18, 06:54 PM
  #19  
fixedweasel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 238
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 87 Post(s)
Originally Posted by mdadams1 View Post
I am 63 and absolutely love riding in temperatures below 20 degrees F. If you ride all year round it makes it easy to get use to cold/hot weather. I even ride a fat bike in snow. To the guy who had the flat in Chicago at 10 below. I just recently bought hard rubber tires to deal with the issue of flatting in extremely cold weather.

Thanks for the suggestion but I'll keep my shoes. It was just an unfortunate moment. Ride quality is important to me as well. I enjoy the two 45 minute jostles/day through the streets here and my ti(y)res have rarely failed me. I run 32mm Conti Gatorskins and have been running Gators for over 15 years. I have had 5 punctures within that time. Not a bad track record, eh? Gotta go with the numbers.*




*plus they are terribly comfortably ti(y)res to roll on
fixedweasel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-18, 08:09 PM
  #20  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 18,761

Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 528 Post(s)
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
... Luckily for me my wife never interferes with my cycling activity, it is who I am and what I do; she knew that when she married me 40 years ago. ...
I think a lot of us can relate to that.
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-18, 06:59 AM
  #21  
capejohn
Senior Member
 
capejohn's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Fairhaven, Massachusetts
Posts: 1,819

Bikes: Novara Randonee, Felt Z45, Scott Sub 40, Marin Belvedere Commuter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
I ride every day in single digit and low teen temperatures the gym, the market and putzing around town. It's not a big deal.
capejohn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-18, 07:20 AM
  #22  
shelbyfv
Senior Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,831
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 924 Post(s)
Maybe think about how accustomed you and the drivers around you are to the conditions. You don't want to be out among distracted drivers. Also, how long is the bad weather expected to last? If only a month or so, I wouldn't bother with accumulating the gear.
shelbyfv is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-18, 01:24 PM
  #23  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 18,761

Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 528 Post(s)
I have commuted on a 58-year-old bike, so I don't think a 64-year-old bike commute would be any different.

Oh -- you were talking about the rider. ...
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-18, 01:38 PM
  #24  
PaulH
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,480
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
I grew up walking and riding in temperatures down to -20 F. After 60 years of riding in snow, it is no big deal.
PaulH is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-18, 05:53 PM
  #25  
scoatw
Senior Member
 
scoatw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: central ohio
Posts: 1,527

Bikes: 96 gary fisher 'utopia' : 99 Softride 'Norwester'(for sale), 1972 Raleigh Twenty. Surly 1x1 converted to 1x8, 96 Turner Burner

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
61. I've been commuting year round for 11yrs. Coldest ride was -14f. I have good winter gear. Wife thinks I'm nuts.
scoatw is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Terms of Service