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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 01-03-18, 07:26 PM   #1
rachel120
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Thinking about chickening out tomorrow

(This is just a whine post, since no one in my life can really understand the effects of weather on my commute.)

I just checked the weather on two different sites tomorrow and I'm seriously thinking about chickening out. Temperature won't be bad at all 20-25 F. Snow in the morning but it should have just stopped when I plan to leave. But the wind is going to be 20-23 mph steady. I don't want to imagine the gusts.

I can barely manage 13-14 mph. When going down a hill, when the bike hits 18 mph it is going so fast that there is zero resistance on the pedals and touching them makes the pedals spin freely. While it'll be great having that wind at my back, I don't know how I can manage to make decent forward progress with that wind speed in my face.

The only other feasible route can only be managed one way, due to the weird setup of traffic lights, forced right turn only, and lack of pedestrian crosswalks. And of course the wind will be at my back in the direction I can take it and in my face when I must be on the road.

Ick.
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Old 01-04-18, 07:25 AM   #2
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Imagine this with snow...

You've proven yourself to be a dedicated commuter. I commute year round, and in snow, but I would sit it out if I wasn't sure.
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Old 01-04-18, 08:20 AM   #3
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Depends on how long the ride is. I've occasionally thought about not riding because of strong winds, but usually go for it anyway. It's never as bad as the numbers suggest. You'll just become stronger as a result.
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Old 01-04-18, 08:52 AM   #4
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Depends on how long the ride is. I've occasionally thought about not riding because of strong winds, but usually go for it anyway. It's never as bad as the numbers suggest. You'll just become stronger as a result.
Ugh, unfortunately I've found it worse. The direction and design of the road makes it a wind tunnel. I haven't faced winds this strong yet, and there's been a couple of times I've had to hop off the road because I was too slow for what I felt was safe in traffic. One time fighting strong winds triggered an illness, I think there was something underlying I was fighting off but the extreme-for-me exertion weakened my immune system.

There is one road I might be able to take to avoid the head wind, but I've only rarely been on it and it is quite far out of my way. I don't have to decide for two hours.
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Old 01-04-18, 06:00 PM   #5
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If you think it won't be safe, skip it and live to ride another day.
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Old 01-04-18, 08:34 PM   #6
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Yeah, I chickened out.

There's a lot of snow and ice out, I didn't realize how much it had snowed. Tomorrow the wind is more doable, but since I didn't have the money for studded tires I'm going to have to do a test ride fairly early in the morning to make sure I can stay upright the whole trip.

Cross your fingers for me.
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Old 01-04-18, 09:12 PM   #7
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If it's a light layer of snow on the ground it may not be too bad. Studs don't do much on fresh fallen snow. What kind of tires are you using? Wider tires with some tread would work best for this kind of condition. I ride my MTB with 2.5" tires and it works relatively well on a think layer of snow.
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Old 01-05-18, 07:29 AM   #8
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No judgement here, the wind and I are frenemies for life!

The most pain I have cycling comes from the winter and wind. I'm not hardcore enough to commute, just exercise on my mtb.

I've had transcendent rides at 0F and under with the wind at 15mph+ where the last 1/3 is straight into the wind, after dark, and all conscious thought stops. At that point it's all muscle memory and instinct, and cold. The cold. Then the next half hour at home acting like a zombie.
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Old 01-05-18, 11:06 AM   #9
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I tried to ride today. I was barely out of the parking lot before I changed my mind. I decided that if the bike was going sideways a few times in the short distance I rode when I wasn't braking then my control over the bike was compromised enough it wasn't safe.

I'm pretty sure the main roads are better, but how much better I don't know. I don't know if it's just the left lanes going each way that's clear from the volume of traffic, or if they properly plowed both lanes. Last night catching a ride home there were areas that only the left lane was clear. The bike path wasn't clear at all and I don't need to slide sideways towards the road when on it. I don't want to fall because I can't keep the bike from sliding. Nor do I want cars misjudge the stopping room they need and slide into the back of me, or I fall from a slide and they are unable to stop in time.

I hate that other bills took priority over studded tires. I'm going to try and get them this upcoming payday.
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Old 01-05-18, 09:14 PM   #10
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The roads were beautiful. All I had to do was push my bike to about halfway out of my apartment complex......

Lesson learned for tomorrow. And the wind speed will be even lower tomorrow. 15 mph, give or take a couple today, 10 mph expected for tomorrow.
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Old 01-06-18, 07:54 AM   #11
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My street always looks bad. In fact, there's a think layer of packed snow on it right now that probably won't be gone until the temperature gets above freezing. Who knows when that will be. But once I get out to the secondary and primary routes the road is clear and dry. Snow banks are still there, so it's necessary to ride even further out.
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Old 01-06-18, 08:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
Yeah, I chickened out.

There's a lot of snow and ice out, I didn't realize how much it had snowed. Tomorrow the wind is more doable, but since I didn't have the money for studded tires I'm going to have to do a test ride fairly early in the morning to make sure I can stay upright the whole trip.

Cross your fingers for me.
I think it was New Years Day 2016 I did a test ride with original tires the fat bike came in. I slipped and decided to bite the bullet and get the studded tires.

Cheaper options are to get chains.

https://www.slipnottraction.com

Getting back to the original topic, there have been many times I had regretted the decision to drive. I had never regretted any decision to ride - yes there were very challenging rides, but I had never regretted them.
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Old 01-08-18, 04:36 PM   #13
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I braved the cold and biked to work Saturday and Sunday. Saturday for some reason my fingers were so cold I had to stop halfway and stick them inside my hoodie to warm up and my toes were completely numb by the time I got to work and I think I might have had mild frostbite. Sunday was the same temperature but the only thing that got unreasonably cold was my nose (which I haven't found a good way to cover) and that felt like it warmed up halfway through the ride.

But now for questions. I'm tired of having to vacuum up huge chunks of salt that follow my bike inside. Any advice for keeping salt on the outside of the house? And I'm getting dirty oil and tire rubber stains on my carpet from whatever snow got trapped in the treads and kicked up onto the chain. It's going to be a pain to get those out and I don't want more to clean up. Short of a drip cloth (which my husband will never agree to) are there other options that will prevent dripping?
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Old 01-08-18, 07:03 PM   #14
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I braved the cold and biked to work Saturday and Sunday. Saturday for some reason my fingers were so cold I had to stop halfway and stick them inside my hoodie to warm up and my toes were completely numb by the time I got to work and I think I might have had mild frostbite. Sunday was the same temperature but the only thing that got unreasonably cold was my nose (which I haven't found a good way to cover) and that felt like it warmed up halfway through the ride.

But now for questions. I'm tired of having to vacuum up huge chunks of salt that follow my bike inside. Any advice for keeping salt on the outside of the house? And I'm getting dirty oil and tire rubber stains on my carpet from whatever snow got trapped in the treads and kicked up onto the chain. It's going to be a pain to get those out and I don't want more to clean up. Short of a drip cloth (which my husband will never agree to) are there other options that will prevent dripping?
A snow brush (used for cars) can be used to 1) slap the tires to get most of the snow, slush, and salt off the tires, and 2) brush off the remaining with the brush. Better than nothing.

A better solution, but more complicated is using this:

https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.1...000755742.html

I picked one up today. Took ten minutes to assemble. Fill it with hot/warm water, and spray away. The pressure is not high but certainly enough to get grime and salt off your bike. Of course you still have to let it drip dry.
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Old 01-08-18, 07:29 PM   #15
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My husband agreed to a nice looking rug or runner for a drip cloth. I'll check into the brush for the salt.
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Old 01-08-18, 07:53 PM   #16
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Sometimes it is OK to chicken out. Discretion is the better part of valor.
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Old 01-08-18, 11:07 PM   #17
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Sometimes it is OK to chicken out. Discretion is the better part of valor.
+1. If it's too cold, or the snow isn't feeling right, no reason to risk it.
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Old 01-09-18, 08:08 AM   #18
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+1. If it's too cold, or the snow isn't feeling right, no reason to risk it.
You are right about that.

Itís raining buckets here today.

I may skip my ride.
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Old 01-09-18, 03:15 PM   #19
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Wind? How bad could it be? MA rider here, for me the 20 F low is a firm line. 2 years ago had a blustry late winter day, shortly after a snow storm. At speed, big gust. Front wheel wobble led to snow bank OTB. At speed. right over the bank, 3 ft fresh snow. Piled drived into it headfirst up to my arm pits. Snow down my front and back, behind my glasses too. Good times. Stripped down to my waist, reassembled, without the snow. YRMV.
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Old 01-09-18, 03:58 PM   #20
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Wind? How bad could it be? MA rider here, for me the 20 F low is a firm line. 2 years ago had a blustry late winter day, shortly after a snow storm. At speed, big gust. Front wheel wobble led to snow bank OTB. At speed. right over the bank, 3 ft fresh snow. Piled drived into it headfirst up to my arm pits. Snow down my front and back, behind my glasses too. Good times. Stripped down to my waist, reassembled, without the snow. YRMV.
so that can't happen at 21F?
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Old 01-09-18, 04:38 PM   #21
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Yeah, I chickened out.

There's a lot of snow and ice out, I didn't realize how much it had snowed. Tomorrow the wind is more doable, but since I didn't have the money for studded tires I'm going to have to do a test ride fairly early in the morning to make sure I can stay upright the whole trip.

Cross your fingers for me.
Years ago I attended a winter biking class at our local bike co-op. It was about the does, don'ts, how to's and how not to's. The thing that stuck with me the most is this. There is no prices at the end of the season for riding everyday!

There is no bad weather only bad gear an kit. It takes time to figure out what works FOR YOU and where you live. I will say plus one on studded snow tires though and good ones at that. They made all the difference in my commute in the winter.

Without getting in too deep about clothes, layers are your friend. You don't need "proper" bike kit for winter. Again, it takes time to figure out what works for you. Having said that I do have "proper" bike clothes for winter but that is because I'm just as likely to go for a ride in the snow and ice just for the fun of it.

As far as the snow in the house. I put my bikes on heavy corrugated cardboard to catch the water in the summer and winter. Works good and is free.

Have fun but most of all stay safe!

fasthair

Last edited by fasthair; 01-09-18 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 01-09-18, 05:16 PM   #22
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I didn't ride today. It was expected to be a warm day today, perfect for the bike. 29F when I needed to leave, high expected around 45F.

So I looked outside and it was chilly but looked really nice out. All the snow had melted and I could see puddles everywhere, so when I layered up I included some waterproof pants. Pushed my bike out and while I was walking it between cars to where I could actually get on it, I pushed it through a water puddle. And it wasn't water.

Every "puddle" was black ice, and my weight wasn't cracking it so it was solid. My foot slipped as I was testing several of the spots for thickness and slickness.

Hitting a spot and sliding while trying to stay balanced on something about 2 inches wide on a road with aggressive drivers during rush hour did not give me warm happy fuzzy feelings. My ride had some issues with slipping a bit at stop lights, and I heard others at work also slid in some spots.
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Old 01-10-18, 08:41 AM   #23
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You can try looking for used studded tires. In my area they there are usually a handful of postings, usually from people who bought them thinking they could ride through the winter but changed their minds after trying it out. The tires are usually near new and at a fraction of the cost.

I just picked up a pair of 45mm Suomi W106's for $50.
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Old 01-17-18, 11:20 AM   #24
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South Florida was supposed to have a "warmer than usual" winter.... still waiting on it. Tomorrow will be 41 with feels like of 36. I'm sleeping in, or OI might put every warmer and thermal jersey and jacket that I own on, go ride around the block, take a photo to harass all my friends that didn't ride. I have no idea yet
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Old 01-17-18, 12:11 PM   #25
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Tomorrow will be 41 with feels like of 36.
Send that "cold" weather up my way. The temp was 30 recently and that was a heat wave.
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