Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Just starting to bike in the cold

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Just starting to bike in the cold

Reply

Old 11-30-16, 05:45 PM
  #1  
practical
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Middelbury, Vermont
Posts: 1,098

Bikes: Giant Escape 1

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 131 Post(s)
Just starting to bike in the cold

I used to think that anything time the temperature was under 60, biking was cold. Then it was anything under 50. Then it was under 40. I am learning to love biking in the colder weather. I have been biking in temps under 40 and it has been lots of fun. Why was I such a wimp before? If you're not biking because the weather isn't "nice enough", then you're missing hours of wonderful biking. How do others feel about this?
practical is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 05:46 PM
  #2  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 14,505

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 89 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3376 Post(s)
Some of my favorite riding is in the snow. It's cold and it's beautiful. When I ride on the local MUPs in the winter I am typically the only person out there. There's a lot to be said for solitude in the dead of winter.
bikemig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 05:53 PM
  #3  
jon c. 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 3,585
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 912 Post(s)
Anything under 60 remains too cold for me.
jon c. is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 06:08 PM
  #4  
ClydeTim
Banned.
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 747

Bikes: Trek

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 264 Post(s)
Gotten down to the 40's around here at night. I have a hard time getting out but once on the road, doesn't seem as cold as expected.
ClydeTim is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 06:31 PM
  #5  
zonatandem
Senior Member
 
zonatandem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 11,019

Bikes: Custom Zona c/f tandem + Scott Plasma single

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 72 Post(s)
Quite often put a one or two pages of folded newspaper between my chest and my jersey . . . easy to dispose of and no co$t to you . . .
zonatandem is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 06:38 PM
  #6  
12strings
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Madison, IN
Posts: 1,352

Bikes: 2015 Jamis Quest Comp

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 269 Post(s)
It's all about the clothes...I've been comfortable dressed well at 25F....and I've been chilled riding at 50F dressed poorly.
12strings is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 06:41 PM
  #7  
Flip Flop Rider
Senior Member
 
Flip Flop Rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: South Carolina Upstate
Posts: 962

Bikes: 2010 Fuji Absolute 3.0 1994 Trek 850

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 358 Post(s)
love it, just gotta hit the right combo of clothes and shoes
Flip Flop Rider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 07:41 PM
  #8  
shafter
Senior Member
 
shafter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 646
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 189 Post(s)
I like the challenge. The colder the better.

(Says the Texan!)
shafter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 07:49 PM
  #9  
02Giant 
Home School Valedictorian
 
02Giant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 2,612

Bikes: 13 Orbea Orca 02 Giant Cypress 88 Mongoose ATB

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 715 Post(s)
A couple of weeks ago I got out for 22 miles at 19 I think I can push to the low double maybe into the single digit temps.
__________________
Excuse me if I, have some place in my mind,
Where I go time to time
02Giant is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 10:11 PM
  #10  
Hardrock23
 
Hardrock23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NoVA - DC Metro
Posts: 1,228

Bikes: 1987 Schwinn Prelude -- 1995 Specialized Hardrock Sport GX

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 296 Post(s)
I don't mind the cold too much. Its just the first couple miles that I'm freezing and I have to keep reminding myself that ill warm up quickly if I just keep going, trying not to turn back for another layer... I know ill just end up taking it off soon after anyway.
Hardrock23 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 10:18 PM
  #11  
wgscott
VectorPotential sensitive
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: The Timbers of Fennario (CL77)
Posts: 4,221

Bikes: Steel

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2219 Post(s)
Originally Posted by practical View Post
I used to think that anything time the temperature was under 60, biking was cold. Then it was anything under 50. Then it was under 40. I am learning to love biking in the colder weather. I have been biking in temps under 40 and it has been lots of fun. Why was I such a wimp before? If you're not biking because the weather isn't "nice enough", then you're missing hours of wonderful biking. How do others feel about this?
About the opposite. Every year I spend in CA makes me a bit more of a thermo-wimp. (I was born and raised in Chicago and went to college in Maine. I have no excuse.)
wgscott is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-16, 11:29 PM
  #12  
DrIsotope 
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 6,112

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn

Mentioned: 86 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3201 Post(s)
As a Southern Californian, right about the time I get accustomed to the summer heat, it cools down, and I have to get used to what we consider "cold." As soon as I get used to that, it starts to warm up again. We have maybe 3 months of colder weather, and it's not exactly cold by the standards of the rest of the nation-- but I sure do notice there are a lot less bikes out.

My problems with dressing for the weather is because of the nature of my local weather. The air is cold-- it was barely 40 this morning, but the sun was downright toasty on my back. So what happens is, the sun makes me sweat, and the air chills that sweat. I usually need a windproof jacket or vest because of the chill of the moving air, but that has a greenhouse effect of holding the sweat in. I find it much more comfortable when it's cold and cloudy than cold and clear... but it's not cloudy here very often.

I've been leaving the house earlier so I can get done earlier. Starting a ride at 38 and ending it 2 hours later at 60 means I usually get home drenched in sweat... but chilled at the same time. Dressing for both extremes continues to be something of a hassle. I dress for the summer (maybe arm warmers) if it's anything above 50. But for whatever reasons, if it's even 45, I feel like my bones are going to freeze solid.
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 12:33 AM
  #13  
elcruxio
Senior Member
 
elcruxio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Turku, Finland, Europe
Posts: 1,796

Bikes: 2011 Specialized crux comp, 2013 Specialized Rockhopper Pro

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 299 Post(s)
Ill go with celsius but to me it only really gets fun after sub freezing. 0 to 5 celsius is the worst temps to ride since it's often wet and the air humidity is through the roof. Proper dry cold with grippy ice and snow is where it's at.

Also +1 celsius is usually much colder than -1 celsius just because of the humidity difference. The colder it gets the less the cold is bothering me, to a point of course.
elcruxio is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 03:06 AM
  #14  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 8,299

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

Mentioned: 139 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2510 Post(s)
I plan to ride more this winter than I did last year. North Central Texas winters are erratic but I don't like to miss more than two or three days between rides. Better clothes will help. My casual 12 mph pace means I don't really need form fitting gear since I rarely ride fast enough for wind resistance to be a factor.

Last year I wore no cycling clothes at all, just whatever loose fitting casual clothes I had, including a favorite red wool union suit or longhandle undies with the trap door back -- had 'em for years and they've made many winters tolerable. Those clothes were fine with my upright comfort hybrid, but would be too snug and binding on the lighter rigid fork mountain bike I'm using more often now for long rides (I still prefer the comfy hybrid for errands and rough roads).

Just got back from a 30 mile night ride on our first chilly night this year. Started at 55 degrees, dropped to 39 by the time I got home. But it was a good ride and I was comfortable throughout. Probably about the chilliest I'd want to wear shorts. I had long socks to my knees but no leggings. I might buy some leggings or one set of tights but we don't usually get enough really chilly days here to make it essential. I could just wear baggy slacks or jeans that aren't too tight and ride a bit slower.

The important part for me is layering the upper body. If my torso gets chilled I'm toast... or the opposite of toast. So I plan to add more base layer stuff.

Wednesday night I wore a sleeveless Pearl Izumi Transfer baselayer (with their fancypants "minerale" fabric, the best synthetic I've tried, great year-round, even in summer to minimize sweating through a good shirt -- closest thing I've felt to merino wool, and no worries about critters gnawing on 'em as a snack); a Champion thin long sleeve poly shirt (good for $10, but not as good as the Pearl Izumi); and a short sleeve summer jersey over those. Even the cheap wicking fabric short sleeve t-shirts the hardware store sells for $5 each are much better than cotton for cool and cold weather rides. It's no Pearl Izumi, but they don't cost $30-$50 either.

On the first leg of the ride I wore a Shimano Storm Jacket, which was almost too heavy and I was just beginning to perspire after about 10-12 miles. It's a seriously rainproof hard shell jacket and a sweatbox at temps above 60F. I've worn it during a couple of downpours in the low 70s and sweated quite a bit, but was still comfortable compared with the wind chill from riding in the rain without a jacket.

I kept a thin Pearl Izumi windbreaker in a bag on the rear rack and loaned it to another rider for a nighttime group ride, then wore it under the Shimano Storm Jacket on the homeward leg. Definitely made the difference when the temp dropped into the low 40s/high 30s. I could just about feel myself starting to perspire after 10 miles and could have unzipped a bit to keep dry and still warm.

I have an old Columbia parka, Thinsulate and GoreTex shell, so I'm set for sub-freezing days if I feel like riding.

I can get by with Bontrager Thermal RXL gloves down into the 50s, then I add an old pair of poly ski glove liners I've had for years that got me through some cold winters motorcycle commuting. After 45 minutes in the low 40s/high 30s my fingertips were beginning to sting a bit with those gloves/liners.

For more serious temps I have an old pair of Thinsulate lined soft knit gloves, also left over from my motorcycling days. They're thickly padded but offer enough touch to handle brake levers and shifters. For really bitterly cold wind I'd add a thin GoreTex or similar mitten shell.

I think I'm set with socks for layering too -- had plenty from motorcycling and hiking years ago, should be good enough for my casual 12 mph pace.
canklecat is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 06:33 AM
  #15  
edawg55
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Columbus, Ohio Go Buckeyes!
Posts: 138

Bikes: Raleigh Merit 3

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 59 Post(s)
I don't have warmer cycling clothing yet since I'm a newbie. I actually wore my ski pants when I went riding last week in the low 40's. lol It's been warm around the 50-60's in Ohio the last few days which is crazy at this time of the year. Well 20 degree drop today. sigh
edawg55 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 11:57 AM
  #16  
BobbyG
Senior Member
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,103

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 742 Post(s)
In my 30s it'd ride down to15F but some times less. I didn't know what I was doing and froze. In my 40s my limit crept up to 22F. Then two winters ago I was missing too much riding due to snow and dropped my limit down to 12F with help from Bikeforums. Last year I acquired a new bike and pot studded snow tires on the old one and pushed my limit down to 10F. In fact yesterday I ride to work starting at 11F.
BobbyG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 12:12 PM
  #17  
willydstyle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 649
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 144 Post(s)
I have a feeling you're going to get a bunch of people who love to ride in all weathers in this thread, but the statistical reality is that a *lot* of cyclists give up once the skies turn a little grey. They're probably not well-represented on forums.
willydstyle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 12:16 PM
  #18  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 18,481
Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6960 Post(s)


Seattle Forrest is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 12:52 PM
  #19  
bmthom.gis
Senior Member
 
bmthom.gis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 2,994

Bikes: 2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4 Rival; 2014 Cannondale Trail 7 29; 1972 Schwinn Suburban, 1996 Proflex 756, 1987(?) Peugeot, Dahon Speed P8; 1979 Raleigh Competition GS; 1995 Stumpjumper M2 FS, 1978 Raleigh Sports, Schwinn Prologue

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 212 Post(s)
I've commuted when the starting temp is 18. It's pretty enjoyable. Usually that's a balaclava, ski goggles, insulated pants, thermal layer, toe covers, and a wind shell. That's about as cold as it tends to get down here, and it's like a month/month and a half.
bmthom.gis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 01:35 PM
  #20  
Stratocaster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: PA
Posts: 690

Bikes: 2015 CAAD 10; 2016 Felt Z85

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 155 Post(s)
I'm debating this right now. I'm hoping to ride in our weekly mid-week ride next Wednesday. The forecast shows cloudy and 45. Sure, it can change by then.
But man...I'm just not a cold-weather guy. Still, I need to get out of the house and exercise. I'll likely bundle up and go for it.
Stratocaster is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 02:06 PM
  #21  
jorglueke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Woodbury, MN
Posts: 423

Bikes: 2006 Trek Pilot 1.2, 1972 Schwinn SS

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 150 Post(s)
I used to bike down to 12, now my limit is closer to 40. What I hated about long rides in cold weather is the cold feet. The boots I got were pretty darn pricey but they did work. I also didn't like the baclava but it was better than frostbite.
jorglueke is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 02:33 PM
  #22  
DaveQ24 
Senior Member
 
DaveQ24's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 832

Bikes: Enough plus 1

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 364 Post(s)
Originally Posted by practical View Post
I used to think that anything time the temperature was under 60, biking was cold. Then it was anything under 50. Then it was under 40. I am learning to love biking in the colder weather. I have been biking in temps under 40 and it has been lots of fun. Why was I such a wimp before? If you're not biking because the weather isn't "nice enough", then you're missing hours of wonderful biking. How do others feel about this?
Some of my most memorable - and pleasantly so - rides have been in some pretty extreme weather conditions, snow squalls, air temperatures under 15 degrees F (often much under), windchills sub-Zero.

It's all in the preparation. Once you figure that one out, it's not really any different - well, other than the 30 minutes it takes in the winter JUST TO GET YOURSELF DRESSED in all of those layers.
DaveQ24 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 02:43 PM
  #23  
Milton Keynes
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 2,441

Bikes: Two-wheeled human-powered vehicles, but that's not important right now

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1040 Post(s)
I've been off my bike since it's turned colder. I should probably get back on & ride a bit. The thing that irritates me is that we're having decent riding weather during the middle of the day when I'm at work, but then when I get home it's dark & cold again.

I did ride a little this fall when it turned cooler, traded my fingerless riding gloves for full fingered winter gloves but for some strange reason my thumbs were freezing. The rest of my hands & fingers were OK, just my thumbs were completely chilled. I'm going to have to try different gloves, maybe just cotton work gloves.
Milton Keynes is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 02:49 PM
  #24  
Leebo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,332

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 711 Post(s)
All is good until you have an eyelid freeze shut or the gatorade turns solid. 7 F on a 17 miles commute. Generally 20 F is my low for commuting. I don't want fun to start getting stupid or risky. Mt biking in the winter? Anything goes.
Leebo is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-16, 03:06 PM
  #25  
Hiro11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,939

Bikes: To the right: opinions, not facts.

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 381 Post(s)
15 degrees is about my limit for a hard ride on the road, below that my lungs take a while to recover.

At lower effort levels on my fat bike, I've ridden at close to zero with lots of clothing and chemical toe warmers. It's rarely colder than that around here.

The main limiter for me isn't temperature, it's ice. Perhaps studded tires would help a bit but slipping on ice on a bike is no fun.
Hiro11 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service