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Winter or not to winter ride

Old 08-21-10, 12:43 PM
  #1  
jcushing
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Winter or not to winter ride

Hey guys, what do you guys do during the winter months? (This probably won't apply for warmer climate riders, of course)

Being that my first winter is coming up, I'm trying to figure out what I want to do and what is the best way to stay in shape.

This is what I could come up with:

Ride in a gym setting?
Ride a trainer in your home?
Winter ride with a old bike? (Not really excited about this)
Mix of all three?
Other?


Cheers!
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Old 08-21-10, 12:56 PM
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I ride inside with a trainer and do some snowshoeing. No winter sports in central NY will make you crazy. You have to find some way to enjoy the 5-6 months of snow.
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Old 08-21-10, 01:44 PM
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Just like any other outside winter activity, dress in layers.
The folks in the Winter Cycling forum can give you lots of info.
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Old 08-21-10, 02:50 PM
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Dress up and ride. Outside. Unless there's too much snow/ice. Then I head for the gym.
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Old 08-21-10, 03:24 PM
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My bikes are my transportation. I ride straight through the winter, although I do reduce the number and miles of recreational rides. I try to compensate for reduced miles with floor exercises at home. I'm in a third-floor apartment so trainers and rollers are out of the question.

I also don't subscribe to the "get an old beater bike" strategy. I like cycling too much to waste my time riding some one else's cast-off POS.

Is the Trek 1.1 in your sig is your only bike? It won't fit studded snow tires, so you'll have to choose between getting an old POS or getting a new cross bike that will fit studded snow tires.

When I upgraded my commuter, I went with a Trek Portland because it hit all my bullet points for a four-seasons, all-conditions bike. As pertains to winter, it has disc brakes and room in the frame and fork for my Nokia Hakkapeliitta W106 studded snow tires with fenders. I ride this bike year-round, although in the three seasons it gets an occasional rest since I use my other bikes then too.



You'll hear all sorts of stuff about increased wear and tear instantly ruining bikes ridden in the winter. That has not been my experience. In three years of winter riding on this bike, the only component I've replaced where winter riding was a direct cause of failure was my rear brake caliper. It's nearly impossible to flush out the salt, and corrosion seized the adjusters. The front caliper is mounted vertically and is easy to flush out after a ride.

I've installed a hook in the bathtub to hang the bike so I can rinse it down with the handheld shower. I do this after every wet or salty ride. That limits wear and tear to the chain. I never get past March without replacing the chain. Although I got only 11,000 miles out of my middle chainring. I use a different cassette in the winter for different gear ratios. I'm still on the same winter cassette, three years running.

Before buying this bike I had issues with excessive brake wear. Brake pads wear much more quickly and I wore out the braking surface on a cheap set of rims.

I do ride my pure roadies in the winter, but only on days with relatively clear roads. They're all equipped with fenders. My Trek 1000 (forerunner of the 1.1) wears SKS P-35 fenders. They may fit your 1.1 too.



I replaced the factory "fenderettes" on the Portland with full fenders. I use the "fenderettes" on my other road bikes. This year I'm going to try out the Crud Roadracer fenders on my Litespeed. I'll report back in spring.

Finally, as others have said, avoid the knee-jerk impulse to bundle up when riding. You'll be making plenty of your own heat. In winter, just as in summer, sweat management is my biggest clothing issue. The only difference is that in winter, it can lead to hypothermia.

Last edited by tsl; 08-21-10 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 08-21-10, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jcushing
Hey guys, what do you guys do during the winter months? (This probably won't apply for warmer climate riders, of course)

Being that my first winter is coming up, I'm trying to figure out what I want to do and what is the best way to stay in shape.

This is what I could come up with:

Ride in a gym setting?
Ride a trainer in your home?
Winter ride with a old bike? (Not really excited about this)
Mix of all three?
Other?


Cheers!
I am coming over from motorcycles, and I ride all year long. Mind you, I don't ride in the wet and snow. So, barring the parcipitation, dress for the cold and ride. The main thing is to dress for the cold. Other than that, piece of cake. I am a newbie too..
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Old 08-21-10, 07:08 PM
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i dont care about my body getting cold, I can work to protect myself from that... its breathing in the cold air that I dont like.
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Old 08-21-10, 07:26 PM
  #8  
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Have you been to the winter forum yet?
https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...Winter-Cycling

June 2009 I opted to move away from snow and cold. I moved from the Canadian Prairies to Australia.

However, for many years before that I kept fit during the Canadian winters in a variety of ways.

-- I rarely lifted weights during the summer, but starting in about October until about April, I lifted regularly. Sometimes I took gym memberships to do that, and for a while, I had a fairly good gym set up in what would have otherwise been my dining room, but I repurposed it. Even here in this part of Australia, winters are cool and wet and windy and dark ... so we've been setting up a gym in our garage, and I've been lifting again.

-- If I did go to the gym, I would also ride the stat bikes, run on the treadmill, and use the rowing machine. I particularly enjoyed the rowing machine ... gave me a good cardio workout and helped me build my upper body.

-- I enjoyed outdoor winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. They provided some nice variety to cycling all the time.

-- I walked ... put on heavy winter boots and did a brisk 3-5 km hike along unshovelled sidewalks 5 days a week. My calves were like steel!! Here I walk about 3 km a day 5 days a week to and from work, and even with lighter footware and no snow, my calves are developing nicely.

-- I attended yoga classes. Winter is a good time to increase the flexibility.

-- I attended spinning classes. If you get into a good spinning classes (one where they do not do silly things like "jumps"), they can be a really good workout! I also enjoyed them because they got me out of the house and into the company of other people a couple evenings a week ... good for the motivation. I wish they had a spinning class in the town were I live now!! Also, a couple of my spinning classes were in the local community recreation centre, so I would do the spinning class and then run on the treadmill for half an hour and lift some weights ... make an evening of it.

-- I ride the trainer (I have a fluid trainer) inside. If I were attending spinning classes 2 days a week, I would ride my trainer several other days a week.

-- And I would ride outside on weekends. If the roads were really icy or a blizzard was blowing, I would stay inside, but otherwise, I would bundle up and head out. Sometimes I rode my mtn bike, but if the roads were in decent shape, I'd ride my usual road bicycle. I actually find it harder to motivate myself to get outside here when it's cool and rainy than I did when it was very cold in Canada.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:27 PM
  #9  
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I ride through the year, but not as often in winter. We don't have prolonged periods colder than the 20s, so when it dips way down, we can wait it out for a few days. Snow and ice don't usually linger longer than a few days, either, so very few people use studded tires.
Dress like you would for any other outdoor activity, in layers. Dude, you're from MAINE--you know about cold weather. Feet are a problem, but I use toe clips and some appropriate number of socks and shoe covers when necessary. Once you're moving, you'll warm up, though the built-in headwind can be chilly...
Check out www.icebike.com for lots of information.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:39 PM
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I started riding year-round 3 or 4 years ago in sometimes very snowy London, Ontario Canada. It took some prep and different gear, but it was the best decision I ever made... I never have to stop riding or go through getting my legs back in the spring. Winter cycling forum as others have said. I guess if I didn't ride all winter I would pick up a trainer.
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Old 08-21-10, 11:26 PM
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Black ice on the road.& sidewalk ? the studded tires on the bike feel more secure than walking on the same surface [in plain shoes]
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Old 08-21-10, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by CNY James
i dont care about my body getting cold, I can work to protect myself from that... its breathing in the cold air that I dont like.
You get used to it. Spend more time outside and your lungs will adjust.
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Old 08-22-10, 12:24 AM
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Hey guys, I really appreciate your input!

It has given me incite into what I should look for/go about doing during the winter months.
I'm used to the cold due to my years of hockey, it's just the imminent facts that my trek 1.1 will not support studded tires. So I either have to get another bike or settle for a trainer, right?

Being that I'm a college student (with sufficient funds for beer and books, haha) I don't think a new expensive bike would fit my predicament.
Although @tsl, your bikes are magnificent, and I would love to have a setup like yours in the future for winter riding; I don't see myself being able to upgrade to the Portland series that you've explained. (Just yet!)

I understand that the best way to combat the cold is to wear layers, but I was concerned with the problems that arise with people during the winter months, and their bikes with the snow/ etc. But this is my first winter, I'm concerned to bring my roadie out during the slushy road seasons and such. I think if i could get a cheap mtb or cyclo-x, that would save me some trouble.

In conclusion, I think that the inside trainer may be the best way to go because it is cheaper than buying a new/used bike. Although I may take my roadie out when the conditions are right.


I really appreciate your thoughts, it's good to know that other people out there have the same questions/answers as me.

Again,

Thanks and Cheers.

John.
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Old 08-22-10, 12:29 AM
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I just used a Walmart mtn bike as my winter bicycle ... nothing terribly expensive.

See some winter cycling photos here ...
https://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...7602332361641/

Last edited by Machka; 08-22-10 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 08-22-10, 05:50 AM
  #15  
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During the winter, I ride on my trainer. The coldest I'll ride is 50 degrees, any colder and I'm holed up where it's warm. Last winter is snowed quite a bit here in Germany. I'm not a cold weather person.
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Old 08-22-10, 06:44 AM
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..

Last edited by Norel; 09-11-11 at 06:28 PM. Reason: ..
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Old 08-22-10, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
I just used a Walmart mtn bike as my winter bicycle ... nothing terribly expensive.

See some winter cycling photos here ...
https://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...7602332361641/

Ah! I didn't even think about this.
This could be a great solution. Trainers and Walmart MTB's are around the same price here.


Nice photos btw!
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Old 08-22-10, 10:26 AM
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I am looking around for a cheap mountain bike for winter riding. Maybe I'll find a Bridgestone MB-1 (they're my weakness) with an owner not looking to fund a kid's education with the sale of it.
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Old 08-22-10, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Norel
On the picture you posted, it looks like you have clipless pedals (if i'm not mistaking), have you encountered any difficulties with clipless pedals while riding in winter?
None.

I use clipless precisely to avoid the matter of my feet slipping off the pedals. I used BMX platforms my first winter and my shins and calves were constantly black and blue from my feet sliding off the pedals and getting whacked.

There are three issues that people imagine to be a problem with clipless in winter.
  1. The cleats clog up with snow and ice, so you can't clip in. I've not had this problem in three winters of riding clipless. When the type of snow is such that it may get stuck in the cleats and treads of the boot, I just tap my foot sideways against the pedal before clipping in--in much the same way you tap the snow off your shoes when getting in the car or going inside the house.
  2. The metal cleat acts as a heat-sink, sucking warmth from your feet. I suppose that could happen if you use regular cycling shoes. Every model of winter cycling boot I know of has an insulated sole. This, coupled with insulating insoles, eliminates the potential for the problem.
  3. You can't clip out to put your foot down to prevent a fall. Nonsense. That's not an issue in the three-seasons, why would my ability to unclip be reduced in the winter? Besides, the studded snow tires keep the bike from sliding out from beneath me.

YMMV, but that's been my experience here in R-town, where in January and February, temps seldom rise above the teens and it snows at least an inch or two every single friggin' day, above and beyond passing snowstorms.

EDIT: The shoes I use are Lake MXZ302 and run the same Shimano A-520 single-sided "road" SPD pedals all year long. (Although that winter I was talked into trying M-520 double-sided pedals. I hated them.) I was asked in a PM about the jacket too. That came from AlertShirt.com. I like their stuff, but the jacket is cut for… erm… portly backhoe operators, not svelte cyclists.

Last edited by tsl; 08-22-10 at 01:57 PM. Reason: added third issue
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Old 08-22-10, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CNY James
i dont care about my body getting cold, I can work to protect myself from that... its breathing in the cold air that I dont like.
As Machka said, with acclimation you get used to it. Some people, particularly asthmatics, are more sensitive than others. Many folks I know get around the matter by wearing a balaclava to keep their nose and mouth covered.

For me, the key thing is letting generations of evolution work for me. Our bodies are amazingly adaptable--something I learned with personal experience due only to winter cycling. Already I'm letting my body adjust to cooler temps after the particularly sultry summer we've had Upstate. Just Friday night, I was coming home from a ride and temp had dropped to 65.

Chilly, I thought. I wish I'd brought armwarmers. Then I remembered, winter is coming. Time to let the body change from heat dissipation mode to heat retention mode.

The only way to do that is to let myself get a little chilly in the autumn. The body adjusts and by December I'm fine with winter. Just look at my avatar--roadie kit in February. A rare 25F day in February, but February nonetheless.
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Old 08-22-10, 02:02 PM
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Winter riding is fantastic -- far less sweat (if any) and fewer people clogging up the trails .

My #1 rule: If you break a sweat you already screwed up. Stopping to take off layers is a sign that you wore too much, not a planned option for me. I usually figure out what I need to start off cold, but end comfortable and not sweaty.

The best thing about this approach is that you can wear anything - I strongly disagree with other cyclists on this topic, but I wear almost nothing but cotton: t-shirts, LS shirts, flannel, twill pants, basically everything but socks (wool is better). I can't stand the feel and smell of poly-crap. And it doesn't breathe worth a darn compared to cotton. Yeah, it wicks sweat, but I have a closet full of polypro, polyester, silver-impregnated poly-stuff that I never wear.

Merino wool is great, but expensive. Sometimes it makes me itch still, but I have terrible skin. YMMV.

Winters in DC are mild, and have run at about 19F as a lowest in the morning, with 20-30's more common.

Last edited by TurbineBlade; 08-22-10 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 08-22-10, 05:48 PM
  #22  
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Winter riding can be awesome. I commute pretty much year round, although last year I had difficulty keeping hands and feet warm below10 degrees F. I rode the same bike I ride as my commuter now, pretty much set up the same way. My biggest concern was ice, which I learned to spot quickly and avoid. After that it was all about layering and lighting. It's darker, people really aren't looking for a bike on the road in New England in January and layers allowed me to easily put on and take off what I needed to for temp regulation. Of course there was also the challenge of my water bottle sometimes freezing. But it's so cool to ride while the snow is coming down.
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Old 08-22-10, 06:41 PM
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Down here, we just ride through the winter. Or lots of us do, at least.

I see some forumites here and else where from the Denver area, and some of them ride year round. When we lived up there, I noticed that I would see lots of mountain bikes in one park I hiked in, but then the first time it snowed a half inch, you didn't see any more that fall, no matter how pretty it was. So I think one moral is to take advantage of good weather when it happens, and don't just assume that you can ride in this month and not that month.

When we lived in CO, I wasn't into biking, but I was into hiking. I found I could still do a lot of that, plus do snowshoeing in the winter. Great fun for me. We lived within easy driving distance of Rocky Mountain National Park. If you have opportunities to snowshoe or cross-country-ski, you can work a lot of the same muscles you use cycling. I would much rather do something outdoors than indoors for exercise.
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Old 08-22-10, 07:41 PM
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As I got older, I found my tolerance for cold weather got less... I also suffer from "non-allergenic rhinitis" which means my nose runs like a seive with any heavy breathing much below 50 degrees.

I found that riding my patrol bike in the colder weather just didn't cut it. If you put on enough "gear" to stay warm, you'd die if you had to answer a call and go into a building for more than a few minutes.
Also, bike-patrolling is not that energetic.
However, I went out mountain biking on a sunny 25-degree day once years ago, and was soon shedding clothing! The hard work of riding the trails was plenty to keep warm. (Just as with most energetic Winter sports.)
Any more, I just set up my trainer and spin in front of the TV. Be sure to set up a fan of some sort.
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Old 08-23-10, 02:29 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Bikewer
As I got older, I found my tolerance for cold weather got less... I also suffer from "non-allergenic rhinitis" which means my nose runs like a seive with any heavy breathing much below 50 degrees.
A lot of people do ... I would even venture to say it's normal. Ask a question about it in the Winter Cycling forum, and you'll get heaps of responses. But that's why there's a terry pad on your glove ... just be careful with that in sub-freezing temps or you risk scratching yourself with frozen snot.
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