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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-02-01, 10:08 PM   #1
Joe Gardner
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Im posting this email i recived today, if you can help out, feel free to post here, or email Terry at [email protected]


Iditerod dog sled mushers race and train outdoors all winter, so why can’t we bike longer? They pay close attention to details of clothing, wicking, and stay dry. I have biked 12 months for years in Chicago, but often get cold after an hour, so ask advice to stay out longer, as it has been 40 below zero Fahrenheit with wind chill this December. Still in Fairbanks, I dog sledded in 50 below (without adding wind) all day and slept outdoors at night. How improve while holding weight to a minimum for winter biking:

1) Most neoprene booties have large holes on the bottom and leak air. Any way to plug them? The Perlizumi Typhoon booties are terribly heavy and have a hole in the heel; my plain Spokes neoprene booties are about the same thickness as the Typhoons but warmer and no heel hole. Still cold after an hour.

2) Pedals with metal clips conduct heat more than carbon fiber. Look makes mainly carbon pedals but their cleats are large, requiring a larger hole than my summer Ritchey Road Logic cleats (steel). Advice?

3) I love my Sidi Silver Shadow mesh shoes but they leak air and permit only thin socks. I am ready to buy new shoes a size larger but welcome advice here in particular. Does any shoe have a sole that conducts heat less than the hard plastic on the Sidis? Dog sledders use thick sole liners inside boots made in Canada that make a huge difference; are there any light ones for biking?

4) Cuffs running from tops of mittens up to the elbow keep the wrist area warm, which is key to hand warmth. I have good cuffs on Austrian cross-country ski gloves but not on mittens. Does anyone separate make cuffs?

5) Glasses with metal rims make ears cold; plastic is better. Pretty good are my Bolle Equalizer amber ski goggles, made to hold prescription glasses underneath them. But when I slow down, the glasses fog up.

6) Balaclava by ProMax is pretty good but tight when new; older ones stretch but let in air. Silk is too tight on glasses and ears. A ski version has a huge Polartek turtleneck that works well.

7) Chamois crèmes I use normally are wet and get cold in an hour.. Some are more waxy (Udder Balm in NH green can), but does anyone have a more dry but slippery lubricant? There are lots of graphite lubes for steel bearings but do any work on our bearings and skin?

8) In a December Super Cup cyclocross here, I nearly froze my hands and feet in a 30 minute warm up, but was comfy during the race. I could warm up indoors but would prefer not to.

9) I have several levels of clothing that I shift as the temp rises or falls and am generally comfortable everywhere on my body except feet, hands, and sometimes face down to 40 below for up to an hour. But after an hour I get cold in the extremities.

10) The aluminum Deda handlebar and Shimano brake handles have metal exposed that I tape over with a two layers of cotton bike tape; any good ideas on low-conductivity tape could be a simple way to make a big difference. The new Perlizumi greptile seems pretty good on most of the bar. Is there better?

11) Water does not freeze in a thermos bottle, but how adapt/protect the thin tube from a Cambelback-type backpack water bottle so it does not freeze?

Advice on any of these points is most welcome!

Terry Clark [email protected]

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Old 01-03-01, 10:00 AM   #2
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Larger shoes work great for warmth, I've put a neoprene footbed in mine, it really helps- Dr. Scholl's or Superfeet, and use a small platic bag over my toes, inside the shoe for extra wind block. You might try some winter shoes, there are some mtn models on the US market, maybe some road models in Europe through the net. You can even modify Sorel Pac boots to work with Look pedals, see the thread in "mechanics", or just use them with "platform pedals".
You never mentioned anything about a scarf, I use one around my neck when it's really cold, the "snap on the back of the head" earmuffs are pretty handy and easy to take on and off to regulate temp.
Have you tried "Lobster Gloves" the really thick ones by Pearl Izumi are hard to beat.
You can take some old socks and put them over your shoes under the neoprene bootie or maybe do the same with toe covers.
You could get a neoprene face mask at a ski shop and look around for some other ideas as well.
As for your chamois try some talc,(baby powder), a little Noxzema, or just a lighter application of what you're using now.

[Edited by pat5319 on Jan 3rd at 11:13 AM]
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Old 01-03-01, 06:57 PM   #3
Jean Beetham Smith 
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I think you will find these sites very useful:
1) http://www.allweather
(lookat their "Bullwinkles")
Allweathersports and icebike are about bikers, including commuters, in your conditions and worse, and have lots of types. Boots, Sidi, Lake & Gaerem all make winter boots.
Bullwinkles are like the pogies discussed on most of the winter biking sites and make it possible to ride with much thinner gloves and mine extend almost to my elbows. On a guy they would probably cover to 2 to 4 inches above the wrist.
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Old 01-19-01, 12:18 AM   #4
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Cold riding


Last edited by Georgep; 06-21-01 at 04:39 PM.
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