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cold weather riding; effect on the bike?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

cold weather riding; effect on the bike?

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Old 10-04-06, 08:00 AM
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nostromo
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cold weather riding; effect on the bike?

I understand that you can get the right clothing for colder weather riding, but how does the bike behave at lower temperatures and is it even a good idea to ride it?

How should you store the bike? Will keeping it in the house with the warmer temperatures adversely affect the components when it's brought into the chilly air? Are frames made of certain materials (steel, aluminum, carbon and titanium) better with colder weather than others?

The road itself may be harsher to ride on as well when it's colder and the bike may not be very responsive (especially cornering).

Is there a rule of thumb for a temperature cutoff?
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Old 10-04-06, 08:01 AM
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You'll get better info if you post in the winter riding forum. From what I understand, you can ride all the way down to 0-10 deg. F and iti won't affect the bike. I store my bike inside, just b/c I don't trust leaving it outside.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:02 AM
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it's a bicycle, not an O-Ring to the space shuttle.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by botto
it's a bicycle, not an O-Ring to the space shuttle.
ouch, that's a low blow coming from someone whose entire continent has yet to build a vehicle to deliver people to orbit......
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Old 10-04-06, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by badkarma
ouch, that's a low blow coming from someone whose entire continent has yet to build a vehicle to deliver people to orbit......
Dude, I think that was rather harsh!
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Old 10-04-06, 08:16 AM
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I've ridden in -30 weather and many people ride even colder. My shifter guts have contracted well before this temp and will not shift against the tension, it just skips inside the mechanism. (New upgraded ones otta take care of that) It is harder to ride in the cold (air is denser/more work), so worry about being physically prepared/covered, don't worry about the bike. I do bring it in..I don't generally like freezing it.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:16 AM
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If its a steel frame, I would drill a hole in the BB to let out any condensation that could cause rust. This is a good idea for any steel bike but more so on an ice bike because the radical temperature changes are more conducive to condensation.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:16 AM
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I've never noticed any difference between cold and warm weather riding except how it affects me. The bike doesn't seem to handle any different. Temperature differences here range from the 100s in the summer to low 40s in the winter though.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by badkarma
ouch, that's a low blow coming from someone whose entire continent has yet to build a vehicle to deliver people to orbit......
not sure what you mean by "coming from someone whose entire continent has yet to build a vehicle to deliver people to orbit"?

one of my compatriots, i.e. John Glenn, orbitted Earth almost 45 years ago.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by botto
not sure what you mean by "coming from someone whose entire continent has yet to build a vehicle to deliver people to orbit"?

one of my compatriots, i.e. John Glenn, orbitted Earth almost 45 years ago.
Aren't you european? If so, where's ESA's vehicle to deliver people to orbit?!?
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Old 10-04-06, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by botto
it's a bicycle, not an O-Ring to the space shuttle.
And NASA engineers did warn that the vehicle was at risk due to the cold weather, but the NASA higherups decided on a go for launch anyways, just another example of top-flight management.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:23 AM
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I inspect all my bike's O-rings twice before every winter ride.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:27 AM
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and all my heat shields before re-entry
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Old 10-04-06, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by badkarma
Aren't you european?
as european as baseball, hotdogs, and apple pie.

Originally Posted by badkarma
If so, where's ESA's vehicle to deliver people to orbit?!?
how should i know. if you're that curious, then check here.

*edit*

further to the original post:

Originally Posted by badkarma
ouch, that's a low blow coming from someone whose entire continent has yet to build a vehicle to deliver people to orbit......
badkarma,

Just realized, that for a "Rocket Scientist", your geography and history could use some brushing up on.

While I may not be European, I do know that the Russians (who happen to be partly situated on the European continent) managed to send a few folk into orbit.




*apologies to the OP for going so OT, but sometimes i can't help myself*

Last edited by botto; 10-04-06 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:31 AM
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As has been mentioned, worry more about keeping yourself warm and less about the bike. With the exception of cheap plastics that may get brittle in really cold weather, it is unlikely the temp will do anything adverse to your machine.
However, if you ride in winter where it snows and ices, be aware that the salts and ice melting compounds that are put on roads are corrosive. You will probably want to make sure you wash off/clean off your bike with some consistency.
I am from the Dakotas and Minnesota and have never had any bike related problems while cycling in winter. The ride may seem a bit more stiff, but I am not sure if that is true or just a sensory issue with the cold. Just keep covered and stay warm.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by botto
badkarma,

Just realized, that for a "Rocket Scientist", your geography and history could use some brushing up on.

While I may not be European, I do know that the Russians (who happen to be partly situated on the European continent) managed to send a few folk into orbit.




*apologies to the OP for going so OT, but sometimes i can't help myself*
Yes, but the bigger part of Russia lies in Asia, so I wasn't counting Russia
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Old 10-04-06, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by badkarma
Yes, but the bigger part of Russia lies in Asia, so I wasn't counting Russia
nice try.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by badkarma
Yes, but the bigger part of Russia lies in Asia, so I wasn't counting Russia
Sure you were. I call liar, liar, pants on fire.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Hambone
Sure you were. I call liar, liar, pants on fire.
I'm quite aware the Ural mountains in western Russia are the dividing line b/t Europe and Asia.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:51 AM
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^^^I feel straws being grasped at^^^^Every few days I'll go to the coin car wash and high pressure hose the sucker down, lube and off I go.
KEEP YOUR FEET DRY AT ALL COSTS!!! Nothing will make the riding suck more than frozen feet. I'm not aware of the pavement feeling any harder in the winter. But it can be fun wiping out in a snow storm. I DIY my fenders for big snow but have been lacking in good snow here for years...kinda miss it.

Drinks lots of water as well if you are out there for more than a few minutes, rule of thumb is almost double what you consume during summer. WD-40 is your friend. Have fun with it, some beautiful rides in the winter.

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Old 10-04-06, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by badkarma
I'm quite aware the Ural mountains in western Russia are the dividing line b/t Europe and Asia.
I have no doubt that you knew that. I just meant that I do not believe you were thinking of the Russians and putting them in "Asia" you just didn't think of them at all. Mostly, I am sitting on a boring conference call with mute hit while a bunch of butt munchers who love the sound of their own voices yammer on.

I could try and leap frog into one of their "profound" discussions or have a 3rd grade moment with you on BF. You... won?
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Old 10-04-06, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Hambone
I just meant that I do not believe you were thinking of the Russians and putting them in "Asia" you just didn't think of them at all.
bingo!

btw - badkarma, here's a link to a slightly funny beer commercial with the ESA in it.
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Old 10-04-06, 10:29 AM
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You can ride a bicycle all the way down to -40C/F with no bad effects. I've done it.


That said, somewhere around about -30C your cables and chain can stiffen up so that shifting and braking can be a bit challenging. If you are heading out in temps around -30C, shift into a gear that you like within the first 10 or 15 minutes because that'll be the gear you'll be using for the rest of your ride. As for the braking, at temps of -30C and lower, you won't be moving all that fast anyway. Just be aware that it might take you a bit more time to stop.

If you are riding in sub-freezing temps you will likely have flattened your tires for better traction on slippery surfaces, so you'll need to throw out all your pre-conceived notions of how long it takes to cover a particular distance. For example, if your commute takes you 30 minutes in the summer, count on it taking you about 45 in the middle of winter. If your centuries take you 7 hours in the summer, count on them taking you 10 hours in the winter.

You may want to switch to platform pedals when the temps get down to the -30C range so that you can wear normal winter boots rather than cycling shoes. The feet tend to get cold faster than the rest of the body.


If you have any further questions about cycling in the winter, you should check the winter forum here.
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Old 10-04-06, 11:38 AM
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I can state without fear of contradiction that I will weather weenie out a LONG time before my bike does. So will most others I suspect.
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Old 10-04-06, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by oujeep1
I can state without fear of contradiction that I will weather weenie out a LONG time before my bike does. So will most others I suspect.
I've done training rides as cold as 20 deg. F, and that's friggin cold (water bottles freeze). I typically won't ride if it's under the upper 20s. I ride a bike b/c I enjoy it, when it's really cold, it's no fun (IMO).
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