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Coldest rides, are they really that challenging?

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Coldest rides, are they really that challenging?

Old 12-12-06, 07:36 AM
  #1  
jakub.ner
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Coldest rides, are they really that challenging?

Every year I find a sticky on the coldest ride etc. etc..

Personally I don't find cold to be that much of a deterrant or threat. The coldest I've ridden in is -25C or perhaps -30C: perhaps that's not cold enough. But that is by far much much easier than riding on a day from anywhere between +5C to 0C after a really heavy snowfall. You cannot get anywhere in melting snow. The front tire digs in. The rear tire slips no matter what tread.

I'm talking about stuff that has been packed down in parks by peds. When it's hard and the temperature is frigid this stuff is bumpy but you can ride it fast. When it starts melting you're pushing. And I mean fairly wide tires (26" Hakkas) on OK rims with low pressure.

Is the cold really a good metric of your perserverence? I'd argue the much less glamorous dirty melting deep snow is.
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Old 12-12-06, 08:35 AM
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Hmm. London Ontario. Deep melting snow. Why do you bring this up.
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Old 12-12-06, 08:44 AM
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I dunno. My take on those threads is that those who post to them are chest-thumping more than anything else. Bragging rights are have their place. Most of the people (in real life) that I talk with, even cyclists, seem to be more in fear of the cold or concerned with comfort factors. Those that make a big thing of it--either way--are probably comparing winter cycling to riding in a car that's been warmed-up for 20 minutes and has heated seats.

Somewhere in the middle are folks like us who just go out and ride. I don't really have a lot of choice in the matter. If I want to go to work, or grocery shopping or whatever, I can either stand in a snowdrift and wait for a bus to come along, or ride my bike. (Alternatively, I suppose I could spend big bucks on a cab.) Either way, I'm out in the same cold, so it's not a big thing for me.

That said, it's my first season cycling. I have fun, and face new challenges on every single ride--warm, cold, dry, wet or snowing--so I don't see it as any more or any less challenging than any other ride.

The coldest I've ridden so far is the coldest we've gotten so far, 14F, -10C. I preferred the road conditions that day to the melting on the following day, although the slop dripped off the bike faster on the melting day.

My biggest challenge has been staying cool enough. I'm still overdressing a bit. On that 14F day, I was dressed like I would have been for the bus in the mid-40sF, 5-10C. I'll get it figured out.
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Old 12-12-06, 11:49 AM
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I never found bitterly cold commutes or other short rides all that challenging ... just a few minutes longer and a few extra clothes than other rides.

Cold centuries, however ... https://www.machka.net/brevet/Coldest_Century.htm

But, I think my second longest century was one in December in Winnipeg, right after a pretty heavy snowfall. All morning, I was walking the bicycle through huge snowdrifts until about 11 am when the road crews came out and cleared it. Then in the afternoon it warmed up to about +2, and there was slush everywhere ... I was soaked!
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Old 12-12-06, 03:15 PM
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+1 on the chest thumping comment. There are too many variables to compare only temp such as length/duration of the commute, wind, road conditions, etc. Case in point, I don't think I would have been comfortable with my coldest ride so far if it took twice as long, and I certainly could have handled much colder (dressed that way) if the distance were cut in half. Either way, I could adjust clothing quite a bit to suit either case.

The biggest barrier IMHO is the sticky cables, which seem to be especially daunting on my internal hub shifting. As tsl said, it all gets better with experience. If the chest thumping is over ability gained by experience, then thump away and I'm all ears. If it's over pure bravado, then, well... I'm happy for you.
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Old 12-12-06, 03:17 PM
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το τέλος αυτού

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Old 12-12-06, 03:32 PM
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Well i dunno but if i can get out and get my heart rate up to 150+ ,suck in some fresh air and feel good about myself, yea, im gonna go for that! Course some of you might be better off at home in the recliner watching NFL or whatever, different strokes,(just go out and turn the crank,no crying towels permitted!)
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Old 12-12-06, 04:00 PM
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Well, I'm fairly new at winter commuting, and last year was my first "serious" winter commuting year. I can say that cold HAS been challenging just in terms of finding the right combination of gear to wear with not too much money. Especially since I tend to sweat buckets, and then the cold seeps in.

That said, I'm not keen on thumping my chest after riding in the cold. I'm just saying cold can be a real pain (and even dangerous) if you ain't prepared.
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Old 12-12-06, 04:22 PM
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I fear the Chinook winds more than the cold. Ice and cold air are easy to deal with, but when all of it turns to slush it's almost impossible to get through.
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Old 12-12-06, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BenyBen
Especially since I tend to sweat buckets, and then the cold seeps in.
This, to my mind, is the key issue. This is my first winter of winter riding, and while I'm enjoying it immensely, all the sweat that otherwise would evaporate in the wind now gets collected underneath the so-called wicking material I'm wearing, and I'm soaked by mid-ride. Indeed, while today was a fairly nice day at 8 degrees (46F), I experienced a gunshot blowout near the end of my ride (tire rated for 100 psi, but I preferred the hardness of 120 psi--I've learned my lesson now!), and ended up in a pickup truck and then in the LBS while the guys examined my tire and wheel and replaced the tube for me. In that 1/2 hour of sitting and standing around I cooled right off, making the subsequent ride home something of a shiverfest. I'm surprised I didn't get pneumonia.

And while I really enjoyed the week of sub-zero temps we had a while back, I was only able to handle about a half-hour each time, tops. The fingers and the toes froze, while the core was steaming. All in all, I still prefer temps above 25! Give me Spain, I say!
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Old 12-12-06, 06:51 PM
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Cool , thanks for the responses. What a pleasure to read after looking at A&S .

Machka, that's inspiring: the century.
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Old 12-12-06, 07:29 PM
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I actually prefer the colder temperatures as the snow pack is harder and more consistent to ride on. The chance of falling is less I feel.

I suppose Challenging is dependant on the conditions at the time. If it's -32C and windy, it can be very challenging. However so can slushy snow at -2C
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Old 12-12-06, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jakub.ner
Every year I find a sticky on the coldest ride etc. etc..

Personally I don't find cold to be that much of a deterrant or threat. The coldest I've ridden in is -25C or perhaps -30C: perhaps that's not cold enough. But that is by far much much easier than riding on a day from anywhere between +5C to 0C after a really heavy snowfall. You cannot get anywhere in melting snow. The front tire digs in. The rear tire slips no matter what tread.

I'm talking about stuff that has been packed down in parks by peds. When it's hard and the temperature is frigid this stuff is bumpy but you can ride it fast. When it starts melting you're pushing. And I mean fairly wide tires (26" Hakkas) on OK rims with low pressure.

Is the cold really a good metric of your perserverence? I'd argue the much less glamorous dirty melting deep snow is.
You are talking about two different issues here. So you aren't bothered by cold. Good for you. You might agree that most cyclists fold up the tent at the end of warm temps and don't ride in the cold. So you might want to ask...."why?" There are a lot of reasons, but none of them is because riding in the cold is easy. It isn't. With all they extra hassle of getting dressed, learning how to dress, occassional discomfort etc., it simply isn't an EASY thing to do. That doesn't mean i consider it hard either, just not easy.

Your second point is that it is hard to ride in deep wet snow. Well, that's sort of a no brainer. Yes it is hard, almost impossible at times. but that has to do with physics and is not a mental issue. Sometimes riding in the cold IS a mental issue.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Portis
Sometimes riding in the cold IS a mental issue.
Very Much So When it's -30C out, dark and windy, sometimes you have to dig deep and put your game face on
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Old 12-13-06, 07:14 AM
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Why do people climb Mount Everest? The challenge? The technical aspects of dealing with thin air? Plain adrenoline & thrill? Bragging rights? All of the above?

Same with cold weather cycling. Everyone's got a different reason or combination thereof.

Thing is, the cold weather climates don't offer a lot of options for outdoor cyclists during certain times of the year. I'm glad I don't live in Sask. Bad enough I haven't seen highs above 45 F for the last month. It could be worse.

Still, I'm pretty impressed that I can handle the 10F-45F range without much trouble anymore. Just a matter of dressing appropriately & mindset, as well as some technical aspects of dealing with the unique conditions in and around the freezing point. Yesterday I rode 6 miles @40F in shorts & T-shirt feeling plenty warm enough, so a little toughness is also seeping into my skin. I couldn't/wouldn't have done that 4 months ago. Then again, 40F is the warmest I've seen in a month.
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Old 12-13-06, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Portis
You are talking about two different issues here. ....
Yeah, perhaps I didn't convey what I was trying to say fully. When I say deterrent/threat I mean to my commute. I am super impressed with people who--for pure pleasure--go out on their bike and ride; but I was thinking more of my commute. I.e. before going out, if it's cold out, no matter how cold, it will not change my route nor the time it takes me to get where I'm going. Not so with wet snow. I also tried to explain I'm not talking about powder that is melting, but the packed stuff people walked on after a big snow fall: the stuff that when it's frozen rock solid, even though it is bumpy, makes for a fast ride.

That was the gist of my message.

Oh yeah, and riding in the cold is not easy, but relativelly, not much of a deterrant from going to work instead of working at home.
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Old 12-13-06, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ViperZ
Very Much So When it's -30C out, dark and windy, sometimes you have to dig deep and put your game face on
Darn right, I'll thump my chest and feel virtuous about it as well. And do I ever feel great at the end of a ride like that, which is why I embrace getting on my bike at 5 a.m. in the dark and sailing off in those conditions...you feel like the rest of the day you can go out and conquer the world.
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Old 12-13-06, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jakub.ner
I.e. before going out, if it's cold out, no matter how cold, it will not change my route nor the time it takes me to get where I'm going.
Your are the only person i know that doesn't take longer to get somewhere in winter.

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Old 12-13-06, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ViperZ
Very Much So When it's -30C out, dark and windy, sometimes you have to dig deep and put your game face on
sigh
its so warm up here this year... this thread makes me realize that i'm _seriously_ missing the snow and cold. after 5 years of winter commuting, i think i even like the darkness.... i cant wait to commute in snow. i miss the unique "city silence", especially when big flakes fall...

big snowflakes... any kind of snowflakes...sigh...

damn local global warming. what's the job market like in Anchorage?

the coldest ride thread also bugs me this year, because i'm just plain jealous...
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Old 12-13-06, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jaysea
sigh
its so warm up here this year... this thread makes me realize that i'm _seriously_ missing the snow and cold. after 5 years of winter commuting, i think i even like the darkness.... i cant wait to commute in snow. i miss the unique "city silence", especially when big flakes fall...

big snowflakes... any kind of snowflakes...sigh...

damn local global warming. what's the job market like in Anchorage?

the coldest ride thread also bugs me this year, because i'm just plain jealous...
A true Canadian, we take pride in the ability to suffer through long, dark and cold winters
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Old 12-13-06, 10:40 PM
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Goretex and Powershield are different fabrics. Goretex is waterproof, Powershield is water repellant. I'm not going to argue the "breathing" aspects of fabric because i don't by into that so much. I've never seen any fabric that breathes.
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Old 12-14-06, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Portis
Goretex and Powershield are different fabrics. Goretex is waterproof, Powershield is water repellant. I'm not going to argue the "breathing" aspects of fabric because i don't by into that so much. I've never seen any fabric that breathes.
Are you in the right thread?
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Old 12-14-06, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ViperZ
A true Canadian, we take pride in the ability to suffer through long, dark and cold winters
well, yes, i do like winter. but that being said, we currently get a lot of cold and/or freezing rain these days... a few less degrees and it would be nice flakes falling... i find it a lot easier to dress up and enjoy my ride in sub-zero/non-liquid precipitations...

i think we all prefer very cold and snow to cold and rain... no?
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Old 12-14-06, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by legot73
+1 on the chest thumping comment.
+3
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Old 12-14-06, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jaysea
well, yes, i do like winter. but that being said, we currently get a lot of cold and/or freezing rain these days... a few less degrees and it would be nice flakes falling... i find it a lot easier to dress up and enjoy my ride in sub-zero/non-liquid precipitations...

i think we all prefer very cold and snow to cold and rain... no?

Yes, I prefer the -45C cold we get here in Saskatchewan, it's cold, but it's a dry cold

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