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Bad Weather

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Old 11-28-15, 05:20 AM
  #1  
jargo432
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Bad Weather

Here in Texas it's in the mid to low 30s, wind blowing 10 to 20 and raining. Yesterday I had to work out in it and was thinking how bad it would be to be out touring in this crap.

What's the worst weather you got caught in and how did you deal with it?
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Old 11-28-15, 06:10 AM
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Bad Weather

I crossed the pyrenees between Spain and France this winter. Storm winds literally blew me off the road a few times, one time actually lifting my front wheel straight up (I only have rear panniers) pushing me backwards before toppling me over a safety barrier.

I decided being blown off a mountain or into traffic was simply too dangerous, so I walked the parts that felt so, dependant on the wind direction, as the road winds round the mountains. On a couple of stretches I had to stand still and even lay my bike down.

The rest of my tour in Portugal, Spain and France was mostly wet, windy and cold, but I was prepared for that both gear wise and experience wise.

Bad weather - Good times!

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Old 11-28-15, 06:48 AM
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Cold wind and rain is tough to deal with because if you have just a tiny bit too much insulation, you sweat like crazy, a tiny bit too little and you freeze. But it helps a lot to have good clothing for the task.

Ice is obviously a problem, I think you have to be ready to sit out a day if the pavement is icy.

I have a good rain cover for my helmet, I think most bikers I have seen do not. Your body works very hard to maintain warmth in the core (torso) and head, if you have cold water coming thru your helmet vents, that is not good. My rain cover is by J&G. I also have a Vaude one that is nice, but does not fit my helmet as well. Disposable shower caps from motels will work too. A thin polartec stocking cap or head band over your ears and under your helmet helps a lot too. Sometimes when it is cold and dry I have worn my helmet cover just to keep the wind out.

In cold rain when my gloves were not warm enough, on one day while touring in Europe I actually put plastic bags over my gloves. Made using the controls on the bike harder, but it allowed the soaking wet gloves to get a tiny bit warmer inside the plastic bags and kept the wind out. You have to be innovative.

Sometimes when it is cold and dry, I have taken small scraps of plastic from shopping bags and put them over the toe area of my socks before I put my feet in my bike shoes. It helps keep the cold air that blows in thru the shoe mesh vents from blowing thru my socks. In rain I have taken thin plastic bags like you find in the produce aisle and put over my socks before I put my shoes on, but after a while I wonder if my feet would be better off if I skipped the bag.

Try to be as visible as possible. Car drivers with fogged up windshields and poor quality wiper blades when visibility is poor is the wrong time to ride in stealth mode. Use your taillight.

The local REI store sometimes has speakers talk about a variety of topics. About a month ago one of their staff talked for an hour on winter cycling. (Local is southern Wisconsin to put this in context.) Although my expectations were low, I went to the talk to see if there was any new ideas I had not heard of. He mentioned waterproof socks and he said the pair he uses were made by SealSkinz. I went home, got on the REI website, they no longer sell those socks so I went to Amazon and found that there also is a competing company called DexShell. I bought some waterproof socks. I have not given them a good test in wet conditions while riding yet, but putting my hand in the sock and submerging it in a sink full of water, they were waterproof for the minute that I tested them. Riding with them with a thin liner underneath in dry 40s, they were warmer than my normal socks would have been after an hour. The waterproof socks are thicker than normal socks, so if you have tight fitting shoes they might not work, but fortunately my winter shoes are sized for thicker socks. I do not think I have seen anyone talk about waterproof socks on this forum before, but I hope they work well if I accidentally step in some ice cold slush this winter. I am looking forward to giving them a good test. I usually switch to hiking shoes or hiking boots below freezing, but I suspect these socks may make my cycling shoes usable into the mid or low 20s. If you think you might buy a pair, read the manufacturer washing directions first, that will warn you about how careful you have to be with those socks to avoid tearing the waterproof membrane.

Or, you might want to just sit out the bad weather. I would not want to tour with my studded tires, they have very high rolling resistance. They are fine for an exercise ride in winter, but you won't find me taking a tour in such conditions. I also would not tour if it was so cold I needed my winter helmet, it is a skier type helmet and ski goggles fit over it nicely. In winter I often wear gore tex ski gloves, but I have never (yet) taken ski gloves on a bike tour, as I just do not want to be there if it might be that cold.
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Old 11-28-15, 07:11 AM
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Bad Weather

I have had both Sealskinz gloves and socks.
After a while your hands and feet will be soaked anyway, be it from condensation, water running down from arms or legs, or the waterproofing not being up to the job, hard to tell.

However, the wet socks and gloves will be warmer than without. The problem with the wet gloves is that once you take them off they are nigh on impossible to put back on, and take ages to dry.

I gave up on the gloves and now have rubberized gardening gloves over work gloves for colder rain.
The Sealskinz gloves are good for autumn cold and rain commuting, though.

I still carry the waterproof socks, but change into them in camp after a wet day on the road. They work great for that even in soaked shoes.

I've tried thin overshoes which help somewhat, but toe-clips seem to rip them up.

If anyone has a bombproof solution to keep hands and feet dry, warm and cozy through a days riding in coldish pouring rain... PLEEEZ SHARE!!!!

edit: +1 on a thin shower cap stretched over a helmet. Better than a jacket with a hood in my opinion, as there's better airflow which keeps you cool and not the feeling of being 'closed in'... ymmv

Oh and they double up to keep your hair dry when showering!

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Old 11-28-15, 10:28 AM
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I started a Bike Tour in Ireland on the last month of February . alternated camping and Independently owned Hostels.

The independents dont put you out between 11 and 5 like the IHYA ones, so I could wait out storms .

Did wear warmer layers and my rain gear a lot.


Since then My way of keeping my hands dry is having the Rain cape* draping over them ..

and my footwear comes from LL Bean rubber bottom , leather Uppers ..

* Grunden's Bike Poncho (California mistaken label) Capes are like cones ponchos are flat rectangles .

I got the hat locally (oversize for a warm cap underneath )

Swedish-Portugese Grundens is a big supplier for foul weather gear for the commercial fishers world wide

We have people on the Bearing Seas fishery home ported here.

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Old 11-28-15, 10:32 AM
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Crossing the Pioneer Mountains in Montana last year I got descended 26 miles from 8,000' in rain, hail and even some wet snow. Later in the trip I descended a 7,300' pass in a driving, cold rain. The early miles of the descent were unpaved. You just put on whatever you have to stay warm and deal with it. Of course, the sun came out at the end of both descents.

This was a bit trying to. Crossing rainy and Washington Passes on the North Cascades Highway. It started raining, and then the rain turned to a wet snow. Again, I just put on whatever I had to try to stay warm and sucked it up.

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Old 11-28-15, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
...If anyone has a bombproof solution to keep hands and feet dry, warm and cozy through a days riding in coldish pouring rain... PLEEEZ SHARE!!!! ....
From recent experience I think it's more a matter of experience than gear. For example, I met a young couple on a ride across the North Cascades in Washington State, in late spring snow, who had way more expensive gear, and better shoes and gloves than I did. But they were miserable and about to bail out. I was warm and comfortable (maybe not dry) and enjoying the ride. I wore cheap non-breathable gear, used the "bagtex" method in my shoes with careful ventilation, and had lots of experience in keeping my insulation dry over days of similar weather. They did not have those tools in the box yet.

Or maybe it's more about how good you are with "type 2 fun."
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Old 11-28-15, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
I have had both Sealskinz gloves and socks.
...
I still carry the waterproof socks, but change into them in camp after a wet day on the road. They work great for that even in soaked shoes.
...
Thanks for describing how you used those socks. Since I have not tried they yet in the wet, I am sure it will be a learning experience.

When it is warm enough to skip wearing rain pants, I usually just let me feet get wet and probably will do that in the future. But I bought the waterproof socks more for cold weather when I would be wearing rain pants. Hopefully, I won't have the rain running down my legs into the socks when I am wearing the rain pants.



I used to drive a motorcycle in the rain. There were many times that I took my boots off and drained the water out of the boots afterwards.
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Old 11-28-15, 02:53 PM
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I've had snow a few times: (a) in British Columbia on ride across Canada (b) in Kaliningrad (c) in northern CO on mini-tour loop through Colorado. Each case wasn't too bad to deal with because I found a dry place inside at end of the day. Similarly when 6.81 inches of rain fell in Lompoc, CA I took a rest day and waited out the storm though I did have to tour around some local flooding. Same story for tornado warnings in Michigan on trip across US and tornado warnings in Cincinnati.

I'll tend to avoid touring below 20F or if the roads are icy. I have been without a car for 14 years and so commuted through 7 Colorado winters. In Colorado I would cycle to work (~5 miles) regardless of temperature and coldest it got there was -10F a few times. Not too bad to bundle up. I also set up a bicycle with studded tires after slipping and falling on ice one morning.
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Old 11-28-15, 10:26 PM
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Ascending the flank of Mount Chimborazo (20.702 feet) in the Ecuadorian Andes in a sleet/snow storm from 10k feet/3k meters to 16.5k feet/5K meters to reach the unheated Refugio named for Edward Wymper for shelter. Nice to be indoors for the first time in ten days. Even though I layered all my clothes inside a 20F down bag it was a fitfully cold sleep at altitude with Cheyne-Stokes irregular breathing waking me up far too often.(shallow breathing followed by increasingly deep breaths tapering to no breathing that interrupts sleep abruptly.)

I used then and now a non-breathable long hooded Patagonia trench coat over a merino wool l/s zit-T top and a synthetic vest from Patagonia. By back zipping the two way zipper from the bottom and/or top I ventilated moisture and excess heat or retained heat as needed. Capeline bottoms with wind pants over them protectedmy legs well. Wool socks with neoprene bike shoe covers kept my feet warm. A wool hat under the hood of the raincoat was quite comfortable.

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Old 11-28-15, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
..............edit: +1 on a thin shower cap stretched over a helmet. Better than a jacket with a hood in my opinion, as there's better airflow which keeps you cool and not the feeling of being 'closed in'... ymmv

Oh and they double up to keep your hair dry when showering!
Shower caps also do triple duty as a saddle cover during a wet night in camp.

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Old 11-29-15, 10:59 AM
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We ran into two days straight of nonstop rain on our first week long tour along the Erie Canal last summer, it was actually a nice change to the high humidity the day prior to the rain. We stopped at a Walmart store en route and bought some food and got a couple extra plastic bags to wrap around our feet and our electronic gadgets. The swampy trail made for a slower ride and we ended up with a muddy stripe up our backs but nothing we didn't expect. Had we been riding on a road, we probably would have sat out the rain for safety sake.
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Old 11-29-15, 05:47 PM
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An Atlantic storm on the west coast of France in 2012 ...

We settled into a cabin at a caravan park for 5 days waiting for it to blow over. We were warm and cozy, although into the 3rd day we began to become concerned about the food situation. Fortunately, that afternoon the eye of the storm rolled in and we were able to venture out to the grocery store a few km away, and fortunately it was open ... pretty much the rest of the town had put up their shutters and shut down.

We incorporate quite a bit of flexibility into our schedules so spending 5 days there wasn't a problem.

Plus ... we would actually like to move into that area, we would have happily just stayed there.
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