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Riding in cold

Old 11-11-20, 12:49 PM
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deacon mark
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Riding in cold

I ride in winter as long as no ice and wind is not bad. Today did my usual 50 mile loop temperature was 33 degrees but not much wind. I wear gore Tex jacket. Normally in warmer temps I can do this an average 17 mph even tired. I get 18-19mph often.

Today I only could manage 16.5 and was not bad out as such, but feet will start getting numb. I got in a just beat more than normal and sleepy when done. Anyone else have this in cold weather seems to be a consistent thing with myself.
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Old 11-11-20, 02:12 PM
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tired and sleepy after a 50 mile ride in near freezing temps? YES!
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Old 11-11-20, 02:32 PM
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Yes, cold and tired.
As for lower top/average speeds, maybe it's because cold air is more dense than warmer air (i.e. going sailing in -20C is very different to going sailing +25C even if the wind speed is the same.
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Old 11-11-20, 02:42 PM
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I have ridden in 37 degree weather only because it was an event that I look forward to all year. I don't do cold, I don't mind 40's but much colder , I won't go. Where I live in Southern California fortunately we don't deal with it that often. Last weekend it was in the low 40's when I left the house and not bad until I hit a wall of wind! I had appropriate clothing so I was OK.
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Old 11-11-20, 03:52 PM
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Your body uses energy staying warm, thus attempting same distance and effort as you do on a 60 degree day will be much more tiring.

As well, you are not yet acclimated to cold weather. You will be in March.

I dial my road distance and effort way back below 45 deg. or so, or will mt. bike where there's 1/2 the wind chill due to a lower speed as well as less wind in a wooded area. 10-12 miles on a mt. bike is about the same effort, almost the same workout as 25 or so on a road bike (to me).
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Old 11-11-20, 03:58 PM
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Today's Ride

Cold has never really stopped me from riding. Snow, on the other hand, can be a bit challenging if it's too deep.


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Old 11-11-20, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
tired and sleepy after a 50 mile ride in near freezing temps? YES!
especially in flip flops.
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Old 11-11-20, 04:00 PM
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OTOH, there is nothing short of an air-conditioned space suit, that will ever making climbing a mountain in full sun on a 105 degree day tolerable.
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Old 11-11-20, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
I ride in winter as long as no ice and wind is not bad. Today did my usual 50 mile loop temperature was 33 degrees but not much wind. I wear gore Tex jacket. Normally in warmer temps I can do this an average 17 mph even tired. I get 18-19mph often.

Today I only could manage 16.5 and was not bad out as such, but feet will start getting numb. I got in a just beat more than normal and sleepy when done. Anyone else have this in cold weather seems to be a consistent thing with myself.
Maybe because you're wearing a jacket so you're not as aero? Maybe some other loose clothes, too. Maybe being a little more cautious to keep an eye out for unseen ice patches? Overall, if I was in a below-freezing climate and could still get in a riding workout I wouldn't worry about average speed.
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Old 11-11-20, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
Maybe because you're wearing a jacket so you're not as aero? Maybe some other loose clothes, too. Maybe being a little more cautious to keep an eye out for unseen ice patches? Overall, if I was in a below-freezing climate and could still get in a riding workout I wouldn't worry about average speed.
I never worry about average speed. I just try to stay with whomever I'm riding with. That and how I feel after are the only metrics I use.
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Old 11-11-20, 07:11 PM
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Lots of trail riding in the snow here in Canada (northern Ontario) during the winter on dedicated trails and recreation centers. Fat bikes or mountain bikes are both popular choices to ride the well used or groomed trails and I'm sure they wear the same type of clothing I wear when I cross country ski. Lots of base layers with moisture wicking material so you don't get too wet.
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Old 11-11-20, 09:35 PM
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Just read two days ago on why we go slower when the temps dip.

1. Denser air creates additional drag
2. Cold tires do not rebound like warm ones which heat up more in warm weather and therefore create drag
3. Bulkier and non-aero clothing creates additional drag
4. Your body uses additional energy for warmth
5. Some individuals lungs constrict in the cold making oxygenation less efficient

i will add add my own: Enthusiasm is not as high and fear of going down increases with wet roads and slick leaves.
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Old 11-11-20, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Just read two days ago on why we go slower when the temps dip.

1. Denser air creates additional drag
2. Cold tires do not rebound like warm ones which heat up more in warm weather and therefore create drag
3. Bulkier and non-aero clothing creates additional drag
4. Your body uses additional energy for warmth
5. Some individuals lungs constrict in the cold making oxygenation less efficient

i will add add my own: Enthusiasm is not as high and fear of going down increases with wet roads and slick leaves.
On #4, I've read that we spend energy keeping cool even in cooler weather. Seemed plausible. No data, just a story.
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Old 11-11-20, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
On #4, I've read that we spend energy keeping cool even in cooler weather. Seemed plausible. No data, just a story.
probably correct until your body starts to shiver.
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Old 11-12-20, 09:18 AM
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Just speaking from personal experience, my knees just don't work as well in the cold. It's sort of feels like using too thick of an oil in a gasoline engine - they just crank slower. At first I thought it was because of wearing thermal tights, but then I realized it's because my knees are in their 60's!
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Old 11-12-20, 09:42 AM
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I use about three layers baselayer, fleece vest, and windproof jacket. I use regular cargo pants above 40F and Fleece lined Cargo pants below 40 F. Regular cross trainer shoes. I don't ride in ice. My nutritionist rides down to 15 F. Ski googles and baklava.
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Old 11-12-20, 10:15 AM
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I've always found it harder to ride in the cold. But I've also considered other reasons than just the cold for it, and the main thing is I'm just not riding as much. It's like that first ride of the season every time I do it. On top of that I have what is described in the literature as "bicycle palsy", a pain that goes to the little finger due to compression of the ulnar nerve from having your hands on the bars over the long term. This is different from the numbies that you get sometimes during a ride in that it is more chronic. The nerve gets compressed in the shoulder, elbow and/or wrist. One of the symptoms is that my finger gets very painful in the cold and no matter what gloves I wear the hands get cold. Add to that the cold feet and it just keeps me from riding my best.

To mitigate that I ride the trainer, yaaaaaawwwwnnnnnn.
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Old 11-12-20, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
especially in flip flops.
no question!
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Old 11-12-20, 10:02 PM
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I rode at -14f and it hurt. Didn’t stay out long but long enough to brag some. I ride in the snow all winter here in our small town. We are a biking mecca but I and one other are the only winter riders. It’s a great training session due to the extra strain it puts on your body including the weight of extra clothing. If you ride with larger knobbies or studs, add the rolling resistance (especially if you air down for traction) to the extra weight of those tires. This sure beats spinning in Watovia.
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Old 11-12-20, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
I rode at -14f and it hurt. Didn’t stay out long but long enough to brag some. I ride in the snow all winter here in our small town. We are a biking mecca but I and one other are the only winter riders. It’s a great training session due to the extra strain it puts on your body including the weight of extra clothing. If you ride with larger knobbies or studs, add the rolling resistance (especially if you air down for traction) to the extra weight of those tires. This sure beats spinning in Watovia.
We had a polar vortex in Indiana a few years back that got temps down that low. I commuted through it. Super frickin hard to protect every square mm of skin. Particularly little gaps around the eyes. Keeping my core warm wasn't a problem. So many problems with breath moisture, frosting up my goggles, icing up my balaclava. Even with bar-mits and heavy gloves my hands froze. Hiking boots and wool socks did okay with my feet.

Oh, and my commute was about a mile. Just enough to brag, but not die.
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Old 11-12-20, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
We had a polar vortex in Indiana a few years back that got temps down that low. I commuted through it. Super frickin hard to protect every square mm of skin. Particularly little gaps around the eyes. Keeping my core warm wasn't a problem. So many problems with breath moisture, frosting up my goggles, icing up my balaclava. Even with bar-mits and heavy gloves my hands froze. Hiking boots and wool socks did okay with my feet.

Oh, and my commute was about a mile. Just enough to brag, but not die.
I recall well that “spring” of 2015. Subzero through April. It was relentless and brutal. I was going through vehicle batteries and starters like mad. Here at the tip of the mitt we were getting a bit grumpy. Hope we never have another. I hope your winters are more moderate out there.
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Old 11-17-20, 03:46 AM
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Old 11-21-20, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
I ride in winter as long as no ice and wind is not bad. Today did my usual 50 mile loop temperature was 33 degrees but not much wind. I wear gore Tex jacket. Normally in warmer temps I can do this an average 17 mph even tired. I get 18-19mph often.

Today I only could manage 16.5 and was not bad out as such, but feet will start getting numb. I got in a just beat more than normal and sleepy when done. Anyone else have this in cold weather seems to be a consistent thing with myself.
This happens to me every year. Seems it's related to two things - exertion in cold air and the tights I wear to stay warm (plus the other layers on top).

I have to adjust my eating because I wind up bonked a lot sooner and a lot easier. It's the cold that does that or sure. Then the tights I wear have a windproof coating on them (PI Amfib) and they're less stretchy but they're warmer. I think that's what slows me down. They just don't feel as easy to pedal in but they really help keep me warmer.

Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Your body uses energy staying warm, thus attempting same distance and effort as you do on a 60 degree day will be much more tiring.

As well, you are not yet acclimated to cold weather. You will be in March.

I dial my road distance and effort way back below 45 deg. or so, or will mt. bike where there's 1/2 the wind chill due to a lower speed as well as less wind in a wooded area. 10-12 miles on a mt. bike is about the same effort, almost the same workout as 25 or so on a road bike (to me).
I live and ride in Minnesota and I try and ride all winter long as long as the temp is above -5F although I do switch to the fatbike when ice forms. It's no joke that the cold will make you burn a lot more calories. If you want to have a riding season that's longer than 5 months here, you had better get used to riding in the cold. I can't remember where I read it, but I think the military will almost triple calories for maneuvers for protracted times in deep cold. When I ride and it's near freezing, I am always shocked at how much faster I approach the bonk - I'd estimate that it happens in half the miles that it would in warmer weather. It's amazing.

It's also no joke that while I suffer at temps near freezing in November, when we get the same temps in January, I'm walking around without hat and gloves and with my jacket unzipped. You do acclimate, that's for sure. But if you want to ride in cold weather and do it often, you're going to have a small fortune in appropriate riding gear.

J.
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Old 11-21-20, 06:47 PM
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I grew up in New England and rode all the time in subzero temperatures (under 0 F /-18 C). It was just how I got around in winter. Of course one does not move as fast as in spring or fall conditions, but I don't think of cycling as recreation or sport, so it does not matter to me. The only website that seems to align with my experience of 60 years of winter cycling is Copenhagenize. The most important things are good boots, ski gloves, and studded tires. There is some expense, but it is chump change compared with the expense of limiting or fixing rust on your car due to salted roads. Other than that, it's just a light Gore Tex overcoat and overpants with normal business suit and tie beneath.
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Old 11-23-20, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
Anyone else have this in cold weather seems to be a consistent thing with myself.
A dozen or more years ago I came across a wonderful article that listed all of the objective scientific reasons why a cyclist will ride slower during the winter. I wish to hell I had bookmarked it, or written it all down, because every year right around November/December the missus and I go through a few rides where we're like "oh gawd, I suck! what's happening to me?!?!" ...and then we remember "oh yeah, that article..."

I do remember that two of the reasons were
- cold air is denser, hence harder to plow through
- winter kit tends to be less aerodynamic
but there was more to it than that.
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