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Riding During Harsh Weather Conditions

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Riding During Harsh Weather Conditions

Old 01-06-17, 10:14 AM
  #76  
Gresp15C
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I consider winter cycling to be mainly a gear problem. If you're bundled up well enough, then your body thinks it's warm out. It was -5 F this morning, and I sweated on the way to work. People have figured out gear for working outdoors at pretty much any temperature. Cyclists who are more gear-oriented and athletic than I am have solved the problem well enough for an old Fred like myself to just follow their techniques.

So far as age is concerned, I've noticed that when the weather gets worse, the average age of cyclists on the road goes up. Maybe the young kids can be more choosy about their riding conditions, whereas when you get older, you take whatever chance you get to ride.

It sounds scary and exciting, and people are impressed by it, but really it's pretty mundane. That's not to say I'm not smug about it.

Of course each cyclist has to decide how cold it gets in their locale, and if it's worth equipping themselves for the coldest days. There's also the matter of whether you enjoy riding under those conditions.
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Old 01-06-17, 10:38 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Coldest: Around -15 F

Hottest: 100 F

Probably in terms of pure misery, the worst is in late winter, when there's a heavy wet snow and then it freezes on the roads during the night, into a hard, rutted mess.
Coldest: -15 F commuting 7miles to work in NW Illinois, 40 years ago. learned to never wear pants with metal zippers when it is that cold - harsh! Could not stop anywhere before reaching my destination as my glasses would fog up and freeze into an opaque coating from body vapor not dissipating fast enough away from my face/neck area. Luckily I never had any flats or mechanical problems while riding a Raleigh Sports equipped with an S-A S5 5 speed IGH rear and Dynohub front the two winters that I worked that location.

Hottest: 130 F in Iraq 6 years ago; silver lining was no/low humidity.

Probably in terms of pure misery, the worst was 45 years ago commuting 13 miles home in a driving rainstorm in Philadelphia at 34 F

Today the temperature is predicted to warm up to a toasty 7 F when I leave home and ride my daily 11 mile R/T to the gym for indoor swimming Also will make a 4 mile side trip to the pharmacy to pick up some Rxs. It may be a little slippery as there is a light dusting of snow but the Calvin bike with Sachs 3 speed IGH coaster combination and 622 x 47mm tires ridden sensibly, and suitable clothing will make this a good ride and prevent it from being "harsh."
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Old 01-06-17, 11:31 AM
  #78  
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It was 30F/-1C this morning, which is about as cold as it gets in Sacramento. Normally I'd wear my ski gloves when it gets this cold but they were packed away and instead had two pairs of lightweight gloves. That wasn't sufficient and my hands really hurt for the first 45 minutes. Otherwise, it was pretty pleasant.
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Old 01-07-17, 12:08 PM
  #79  
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Rain's always the worst to ride in. No visibility and feels like it's at least ten degrees colder than it is.

Worst weather I rode in was about a week ago when when it was -10F. I made it 2.5 miles then hitched a ride the rest of the way to work while I warmed up at Starbucks.
I've dressed warmer and checked the weather since then. Rode in yesterday in 0F and was better prepared. Co-workers were in shock...Haha.
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Old 01-08-17, 01:55 PM
  #80  
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I once rode for about two hours in frozen, pounding hail, on a non-refundable cycling vacation.
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Old 01-09-17, 12:49 AM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
I once rode for about two hours in frozen, pounding hail, on a non-refundable cycling vacation.
To truly experience hail, you must ride a motorcycle on highway wearing an open-faced helmet.
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Old 01-09-17, 04:57 AM
  #82  
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I've ridden in temps ranging from -14 to 105 (f), seen plenty of windy days, and concur that the most challenging thing to deal with is rain at 33 degrees. But the worst conditions I've ever ridden in was June 25, 2012 when the Waldo Canyon wildfire was burning near me. Prior to that day the fire was relatively small and there wasn't much smoke in the air, so I did my usual thing and went out for a ride... But while I was out the wind shifted, the fire jumped the firefighting lines and dramatically expanded in size in a matter of minutes. I noticed what was going on and immediately turned for home, but still had to ride about 15 miles through heavy smoke and falling ash. Breathing in hot embers while riding, or getting one in your eye, is seriously unpleasant, and I had a sore throat for a couple of days afterwards.
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Old 01-09-17, 08:50 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
To truly experience hail, you must ride a motorcycle on highway wearing an open-faced helmet.
Done that a couple times. It ranks very high on the suck-scale.
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Old 01-09-17, 09:21 AM
  #84  
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Rode in sub 15 degree weather for several hours twice this weekend. Confirmed some of my opinions:

1. My hands stay warm with just thin gloves if my effort level is high. However, if the gloves get wet you will have numb hands very quickly. Numb hands are a bit dangerous. Gloves inevitably get wet with snot, snow and sweat. Solution: carry an extra set of gloves and swap them in when the first pair starts getting wet.

2. Tape any sole vents on the inside of your shoes under your insole. This makes a huge difference.

3. Keep your neck warm. A balaclava or neck gaiter is essential.

4. Ski helmet + ski googles works really well. The googles keep your eyes from watering and warm up the top of your face. The helmet keeps your head much warmer, wear a thin beanie underneath. A face covering balaclava doesn't really work as it ices up quickly.

5. Base layers should be tight. Actually, a compression shirt works best for me.

6. Tires are the single most critical piece of winter cycling gear. Get studded tires if your ride has a lot of ice. Nokians are unbelievable if you can find a pair, Schwalbe Marathon Winter and 45NRTH Xerxes are almost as good. With patchy ice, you don't really need studded tires but you do need to be very careful. Ice sucks and you really, really don't want to fall on it.

7. If you have a fatbike, Surly Bud / Lou, Surly Nates and the 45NRTH VanHelgas are the best snow tires. Vee tires generally suck in snow. Maxxis Minions aren't great in snow. Studded Terrene Wazia and 45NRTH D5s are absolutely great but extremely expensive.

8. A fatbike is only marginally better than a road bike with good winter tires or a regular mountain bike in most conditions. However, in loose snow a fat bike rules.

9. After tires, fenders are the next most important item in winter. Full coverage fenders are way better than more minimal options. If you get wet in cold weather, you're done.

10. Freehubs can start to skip in cold weather due to the pawls getting sticky. This is particularly true if the freehub mechanism is packed with grease. Skipping can cause damage and even failure in freehubs. If you ride a lot in very cold weather, it might make sense to overhaul the freehub with mineral oil. This can be a huge pain in the ass so don't do it unless you have problems. I've noticed that DT Swiss and Shimano hubs generally don't have this problem.

11. Disc brakes that use DOT fluid (notably SRAM) work better than those that use mineral oil (notably Shimano) in very cold weather.

Last edited by Hiro11; 01-09-17 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 01-09-17, 09:59 AM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by lasauge View Post
the most challenging thing to deal with is rain at 33 degrees
Having done both, I stand firmly on the fact that a 31F rain is far worse than 33F. The latter is just cold; the former has all sorts of surprises.
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Old 01-10-17, 12:47 AM
  #86  
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Disposable paper surgical masks are great down to 20F. Mine get soaked with condensed breath within an hour and icicles form on my beard, but my face is warm and it prevents respiratory discomfort. I forgot to wear a mask on a couple of cold rides (near freezing) and got a sinus headache afterward.

Take a few spares and replace 'em along the ride as they get soaked. The masks are available in patterns besides the basic hospital blue. Check medical supply stores and online.
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Old 01-10-17, 05:10 AM
  #87  
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Just order a Buff for face covering.
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Old 01-10-17, 10:55 AM
  #88  
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Old 01-10-17, 11:09 AM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
The danger isn't ice. In Sacramento, the City of Trees, the danger is from this incredibly slippery and nasty sludge of wet leaves that collects in the bike lanes and at every intersection. The OP is quite prudent in taking turns slowly.
Wet leaves can be a real hazard in turns. So can shade when the temperature is around 40F because in the shade you can still have ice or even worse floating ice when the ice is floating on top of a thin layer of water. Hit that in a turn and you'll go down hard.Therefore it is prudent to take care when approaching turns and to negotiate turns carefully when the temperatures are slightly above freezing especially in the shaded areas of the roads.

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Old 01-10-17, 11:16 AM
  #90  
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Freezing rain can make bicycling, shall we say very interesting. This is even more so if there are motor vehicles around. I've ridden my MTB with 2.125" (26") big knobby tires on an outdoor home made ice rink put up by the city. That's glare black ice. With the tire pressure down around 20 psi control is good. Just don't use the front brake or b rake whilst in a turn. Every year I go to such an outdoor rink at night and practice riding on that ice. I've ridden up icy roads that cars were sliding down and I di that without studs on my tires. The thing that makes such riding hazardous is the motorists. You have to REALLY watch out for out of control vehicles.

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Old 01-10-17, 12:11 PM
  #91  
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@ Seattle Forrest
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Old 01-10-17, 12:19 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
Just order a Buff for face covering.
Balaclava, not be confused with baklava.
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Old 01-10-17, 01:20 PM
  #93  
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@ Seattle Forrest- good pic!

I have two merino neck gaiter thingies I pull over my chin...I think Rapha...one is thin and the other thicker. No problems down to 15.
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Old 01-10-17, 01:20 PM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
Balaclava, not be confused with baklava.
However if you eat enough baklava, the added layer of fat on your body will keep you equally warm.
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Old 01-10-17, 01:22 PM
  #95  
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OMG...I LOVE Baclava. Holy moly. I gotta get some by this weekend.
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Old 01-10-17, 02:15 PM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by Chandne View Post
OMG...I LOVE Baclava. Holy moly. I gotta get some by this weekend.
My wife's favorite. We have an international food market with attached bakery near our home. They make several varieties, including pistachio, cashew, pecan or walnut. The pistachio ones are fabulous...
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Old 01-10-17, 02:19 PM
  #97  
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Here I am trying to get to under 170 lbs....
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Old 01-10-17, 08:24 PM
  #98  
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Hail hurts. Both on a bicycle and a motorcycle.

The other one was back before all this instant weather update I got caught once by a combination of sleet/freezing rain. Thankfully, I was only a couple of miles from home.
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Old 01-10-17, 09:38 PM
  #99  
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Most difficult ride in my life was the last ride I had in Arizona this past summer before we moved back east. It hit 117 degrees that day and I went for a 20 miler at 3pm at the hottest part of the day. I had three water bottles and drained all three before I hit my 10 mile loop turn-back. I knew I wouldn't make it the whole way and turned back toward home.

Only 10 miles and I darned near hit the wall two miles from home.
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