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Riding During Harsh Weather Conditions

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Riding During Harsh Weather Conditions

Old 01-04-17, 01:51 PM
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decentdrummer91
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Riding During Harsh Weather Conditions

What's the worst kind of weather you have ridden in? Everyone has a different opinion of what cold or harsh may be, so don't post any comments saying things like "that's not cold you sissy". That's half of my last post about riding in the cold.

Right now the weather in Sac, California is in the 40's, with winds that are 15-20 mph. I still go on rides, just a little shorter, like 15-20 miles. I'm afraid to take a turn fast so I always brake and take them real slow.
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Old 01-04-17, 02:07 PM
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I drive to work if it is in the 30's which is rare in Houston.
45 this morning.


Also I avoid the rain when I can.
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Old 01-04-17, 02:21 PM
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I've commuted in temps as low as 18 F, ridden in downpours, but I think the most "extreme" was finishing a ride with a 30 mph wind and gusts somewhere around 50. Almost lost my front wheel from a gust going up an overpass and was relegated to about 10-12 mph. That was a hard ride. And due to the nature of the route, there was more head winds than tail winds.
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Old 01-04-17, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by decentdrummer91 View Post
Right now the weather in Sac, California is in the 40's, with winds that are 15-20 mph. I still go on rides, just a little shorter, like 15-20 miles. I'm afraid to take a turn fast so I always brake and take them real slow.
If you brake and take turns real slow because of a fear of ice, your fear is unfounded. Water does not freeze or get sloppier in the 40's, no matter what the wind speed.
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Old 01-04-17, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
If you brake and take turns real slow because of a fear of ice, your fear is unfounded. Water does not freeze or get sloppier in the 40's, no matter what the wind speed.
Incorrect, at least taking into account my bike, and road conditions. Tires will always slip when the road is wet, same for cars, bikes, and any other kind of vehicle with rubber tires. If I take turns fast, my tires will slip
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Old 01-04-17, 02:41 PM
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Crossing the North Cascades Highway west to east at the end of May, 1999. Rain turned to snow before the first pass of the two passes. Temps were below 40. Nowhere to take refuge. Early parts of the descent were wet.
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Old 01-04-17, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
If you brake and take turns real slow because of a fear of ice, your fear is unfounded. Water does not freeze or get sloppier in the 40's, no matter what the wind speed.
To clarify, I never said ice.
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Old 01-04-17, 02:52 PM
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Low 23F high 36F today & tonight. some times It snows .. 2007 winds Gusted up to Hurricane forces and blew down a lit of trees.

Number of downed trees was a Glut on the timber market and so logging was reduced for quite a while.

due to warm up and rain again, next week ..

contact patch of bike tires is small so hydroplaning is not really an issue, though paint and steel manhole hovers are slick when wet ..







...

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Old 01-04-17, 02:53 PM
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June 2014, rode through a thunder shower. When I got home, I ripped off my clothes in the shower. When I got out, my wife told me the roof was leaking in the kitchen. The next day I read in the papers that a golfer was struck by lightning but his life was saved by a nurse nearby.

The coldest I've ridden was -27C. Nothing else, just cold, which is bearable if you are dressed properly and have face cream.
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Old 01-04-17, 02:54 PM
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We don't get much really harsh winter weather here in North Central Texas, and when we do it doesn't last long. So when the temperature dipped near 20F a couple of weeks ago I rode for an hour just to see how it felt -- temp was 23F that night. I just rode around the neighborhood looking at holiday lights and decorations, only 10 mph average. Cold and dry. Got my first beard icicle from breath condensing under my face mask.

I just wore what I already had in regular winter clothing, or whatever I could find cheap at Walgreen's which has a remarkably good selection of decent quality winter wear for a few bucks. Casual clothing suits me because my average is only 12 mph anyway. I have an ultra-thin packable Pearl Izumi windbreaker, but it's not quite right for sub-freezing. And a very rainproof Shimano Storm Jacket that's perfect for cold downpours. But I didn't wear either this time.

Only my fingers got a bit uncomfortable, stinging after 30 minutes but I kept going for an hour. The wind resistant Thinsulate insulated gloves (only $10 from Walgreen's, surprisingly good for the money) are good for short rides but I'd need mitten shells for longer rides. And they'd be fine in the 30s for longer rides.

My 40+ year old Herman Survivor boots worked better than expected with two pairs of socks -- I'll credit a $4 pair of very comfy microfiber outer socks (Walgreen's again). Much better than cotton, and my old wool winter socks were worn out from years of use and carpet beetle larvae nibbling on 'em. And a new set of Dr. Scholl's orthotic inserts -- mostly I need 'em for the arch support, but they also provide some insulation. Usually my toes get cold before my fingers when walking, but with cycling it was the other way 'round. My toes just began to tingle a bit toward the end of the ride.

I wore thin fleece tights under my jeans ($5, women's tights, Walgreen's again). My knees were actually perspiring a bit during the ride. Surprised me.

My old Columbia Gore-Tex/Thinsulate parka that was comfortably warm for winter motorcycling was too warm for bicycling -- I began to sweat toward the end, which can be dangerous. I could have unzipped from the bottom and top to cool down, so I'll try that next time. I wore two or three layers of rather thin wicking fabric under the parka. The Pearl Izumi Transfer base layer shirt is the best of 'em, very effective. The Champion long sleeve shirts are good too.

Not bad, really. Based on that I plan to ride again in cold dry weather. Not sure I'll tackle any frozen precipitation rides. I can't afford the injuries. And Texans have never learned how to drive on slick roads, so they'll spin out and wreck on stuff that most cold weather area drivers can handle routinely. But I might try the nearby open fields, pastures, etc. I can walk the bike to those. No worries about being hit by cars. And I'm more likely to bounce if I fall.
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Old 01-04-17, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
If you brake and take turns real slow because of a fear of ice, your fear is unfounded. Water does not freeze or get sloppier in the 40's, no matter what the wind speed.
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.
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Old 01-04-17, 03:18 PM
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I've done a lot of cold weather riding, down to 0F/-17F windchill, but I was prepared for it and dressed appropriately. I don't ride in the winter unless the forecast is clear. The worst is when bad weather comes in unexpectedly. A couple Septembers ago I was bike packing in Maine and a thunderstorm rolled in and dropped the temp into the 40's and I only had a light windbreaker. I was chilled to the bone and had to get on the road and find a motel that night to warm up.
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Old 01-04-17, 03:18 PM
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The winter condition I hate most is when it is snowing enough that the plows can't keep up and the road is rutted with car tire tracks. Even with studded snow tires on my bike, the riding is tricky and the going is exhausting.
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Old 01-04-17, 03:22 PM
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17 degrees is nasty. heavy rain where cars can't see you is dangerous. riding with lightening is dangerous & unwise. high winds that bring down trees can be lethal. I've done all these things. but so what?
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Old 01-04-17, 03:33 PM
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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.
Wow, surprised to see another sac rider! But yes you are correct. One time at 15mph I attempted to go from the road to a curb and hit a patch of sludge and leaves, I wiped out really bad. So I definitely know that taking a wet sludgy turn slowly is totally okay, and nothing wrong with it 😂
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Old 01-04-17, 03:50 PM
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More heat and wind here. I love to ride when the wind is at 40 mph and the heat is up to 110. During these conditions, the roads are cyclist empty!

Temps drop down to 40-50's here in winter and I still do my usual 50 miler.
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Old 01-04-17, 03:54 PM
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I commute down to 10F. With studded snow tires I ride in snow up to 3". I prefer not to ride in the rain, but warm summer rain is not bad. Cold, heavy rain is not fun. If it rains enough that motorists have their wipers on high I worry they won't see me, even with lights, reflective gear and high-vis, so that's when I wait for things to let up a little. High wind isn't fun when it's not in your favor, but it's not a commute killer. Lightning is serious business in Colorado, so I won't ride when lightning is near. The cool thing about Colorado Springs (literally) is that temperatures rarely get to 100F. Oh, sure it's hot in the direct sun and my bike thermometer may read 120F, but if I cover my arms with light cotton sleeves, like an old oxford shirt, I'm relatively comfortable, especially after the shirt gets moist and evaporative cooling kicks in. There have been smokey days due to wildfires, near and far, and those have kept me off the bike a few times, due to coughing, eye and nose irritation. Fog isn't much of an issue here in town, but I would think twice about riding in the fog if it were as thick as back in the midwest. And there is lots of hail here. Hail hurts and can ruin your helmet, and it can collect and cover the roads in inches of frozen stuff like heavy snow so I will wait out hail storms.
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Old 01-04-17, 03:57 PM
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Extreme heat has never been a big issue ... extreme cold is okay if one dresses for it ... never ridden in falling snow but tried snow ... didn't have studded tires, found out that there is usually a layer of ice under the snow, found out that crashing in snow is still crashing ... the Worst for me is near-freezing rain.

When it is 33 or 35 degrees and pouring rain, it is hard to stay dry, not sweat, and not freeze. (Sweat isn't a big deal until you stop, and you are soaked either inside or out and it is near freezing.)

Next worse is extreme cold when one is Not prepared for it ... but that is a mistake one will likely only make once (one would hope.)
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Old 01-04-17, 04:04 PM
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In my own opinion, the worst weather I ever rode in was in Alabama. Tropical Storm Lee was pretty gnarly - I still had to work and the family car was out of town, so that was a fun 16 mile RT. Hot and humid afternoons were pretty awful as well. There were a few times when the heat index was up around 120. Group rides? Those guys were nuts - they were still going, while I was covered in sweat and about to puke my guts out.

I frequently ride in snow/freezing rain/cold temperatures. Negative Fahrenheit temperatures are fine with me, as are wind chill advisories and streets covered in ice (like today). I have gear for cold, but never found anything that worked for heat, humidity, and warm weather rain.
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Old 01-04-17, 04:19 PM
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Worst weather is rain at 34 F with a 20 mph wind.


110F? Take it easy and drink like crazy. 10F? Layers and cover the skin, but since it's not wet the wind isn't as cold as that right-above-freezing. 50 mph headwind? Oh, yeah, that's nasty, pedaling down a 6% grade to get up to 6 mph.
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Old 01-04-17, 04:21 PM
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I have ridden in heat and in 0F with -18F wind chills. That is not that bad if you are dressed correctly. My worst is the devil's sweet spot (what I call it). 33F (feels like 19F) with a 20mph headwind, in pouring rain/ice pellets. I rode home in that from work just this past Christmas night. 500 feet outside of work and my feet were drenched from the downpour of rain and some of the standing water, and I was riding fenders as well. Thought about waiting it out but the radar showed that it would be a couple of hours before there was a decent break. Work is over at 11:30PM. Weather forecast all day said a 20% chance of rain, which magically changed to 100% at 11PM.

Everyone has their breaking point, be it warm, cold, whatever, but that was mine and officially the worst weather I have ever ridden in. 7.8 miles into a strong headwind in pouring rain in temps hovering above freezing. Stop lights were treated as slow down and see if anything is coming and keep riding lights. Luckily the traffic was at a minimum so I was able to get home and in the hot shower.
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Old 01-04-17, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Worst weather is rain at 34 F with a 20 mph wind.


110F? Take it easy and drink like crazy. 10F? Layers and cover the skin, but since it's not wet the wind isn't as cold as that right-above-freezing. 50 mph headwind? Oh, yeah, that's nasty, pedaling down a 6% grade to get up to 6 mph.
I was typing my response as you submitted yours.
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Old 01-04-17, 04:38 PM
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Just went out in,19F. Dropped off stuff at the post office on my trusty steed. It was only 7 mi. But a killer hill.

Here is the trusty steed...
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Old 01-04-17, 05:04 PM
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Just above freezing with drizzle at night is the worst for me.
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Old 01-04-17, 05:07 PM
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I've biked down to around 20 F. It's actually much better than 35 F and raining.

I've skied (cross country) in -2 F. Aggressively cold.
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