Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Winter Cycling
Reload this Page >

How Cold is Too Cold? Lowest Temperature Cutoff

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.

How Cold is Too Cold? Lowest Temperature Cutoff

Old 01-18-09, 12:51 PM
  #1  
Snowsurfer
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Snowsurfer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 270
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
How Cold is Too Cold? Lowest Temperature Cutoff

What is your lowest cutoff for cycling?

When is it too cold for you to take a train, or bus, or walk, instead of cycling?

/windchill.
Snowsurfer is offline  
Old 01-18-09, 02:16 PM
  #2  
neil0502
My bike's better than me!
 
neil0502's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northern Colorado
Posts: 2,041

Bikes: (2) Moots Vamoots, (1) Cannondale T2000 tourer, (1) Diamondback Response Comp mtb

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Since mine's recreational (vs. a commute, or other "have-to-get-there,") temp won't stop me from going out. Neither will pure wind chill.

Either will send me home quickly, though

Pure wind, OTOH, will sideline me. It's gusting >40mph, today. I'm in front of the fireplace, under a blanket, and not missing a thing
neil0502 is offline  
Old 01-18-09, 02:20 PM
  #3  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,447

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2870 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 50 Posts
When I commuted to work by bicycle regularly back in Winnipeg, the coldest temp I rode in was -40C/F. I'm not sure what the windchill factor was. My commute was only 13.4 km round trip (so about 30 minutes each way in the winter) and as long as the roads were in decent shape, I rode.

I've walked in even colder temps.
Machka is offline  
Old 01-18-09, 02:53 PM
  #4  
joshandlauri
Got another new bike
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: dundalk, md
Posts: 584

Bikes: pacific elite 3.1 w/upgrades and street slicks, got an iron horse maverick now, cannondale sr800, gt gtr pro rival

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I though for sure I would stop cycling for fun under about 30 degrees, but I enjoy it to much, I have gone out in 10 degrees for 25 miles and been ok, (dress pretty good), at this point in MD, no cut off due to temps, however heavy winds and rain make it no fun, so I just stay in then.
joshandlauri is offline  
Old 01-18-09, 03:24 PM
  #5  
orange leader
B-b-b-b-b-b-bicicle Rider
 
orange leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Northfield, MN
Posts: 739

Bikes: 1997, stumpjumper S-works hardtail, Medici, Giant allegre (track dropouts and fixed gear), Columbia twosome, schwinn twinn, '67 raleigh 5 speed internal hub, Old triumph 3 speed, old BSA 3-speed, schwinn Racer 2spd kickback, Broken raysport criteriu

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I finally copped out last week. -30F without the windchill. It's 8.5 miles each way. I'm not sure I would have been able to turn the cranks due to the grease freezing solid.

I do notice that the colder it gets, the slower i get. I'm sure rubber hardening, and grease gelling are part of the cause, not to mention extra layers, and denser air. In the summer it's a 25-30 minute ride. Nowadays it's closer to an hour.

But dang, it was just too cold. My prius's battery died, our 95 Galant was a champ though. But it had to warm up for 5 minutes before i could let the clutch out; so that the ccccold oil wouldn't bog down the engine and make it stall.

This week though, i'm back on...after I get over this cold i caught from my kids.
orange leader is offline  
Old 01-18-09, 10:11 PM
  #6  
modernjess
ride for a change
 
modernjess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 2,221

Bikes: Surly Cross-check & Moonlander, Pivot Mach 429, Ted Wojcik Sof-Trac, Ridley Orion. Santa Cruz Stigmata

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
When the high temp for the day is below 0F. I carpool with my wife.
modernjess is offline  
Old 01-18-09, 10:42 PM
  #7  
BikEthan
JRA.
 
BikEthan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 505

Bikes: '07 IRO Mark V, '01 Cannondale Jekyll 3000, '07 Rivendell Atlantis

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Haven't found one in New England. It really is all about the right clothing and equipment.
__________________
2009 Bike Friday Season Tikit (commuting folder)
2007 Rivendell Atlantis (touring, general riding, errand runner, stuff hauler)
2007 IRO Mark V (SS)
2006 Rockhopper Comp Disc (Icebike)
BikEthan is offline  
Old 01-18-09, 10:49 PM
  #8  
Galoot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 215

Bikes: 1975 Coppi Campionissimo, 1980 Raleigh Grand Sport, 1983 Trek 520, 1983 Ciocc, 1995 Trek 520

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I haven't found a temperature that is too cold for commuting, because they (stupidly) close the schools when it gets too cold. I'd have ridden Friday, when it was -22F, but they canceled school for the 2nd day in a row.

So far I've ridden 3 times when it was around -10F, with no problems.
Galoot is offline  
Old 01-18-09, 11:03 PM
  #9  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,447

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2870 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 50 Posts
Originally Posted by Galoot View Post
I haven't found a temperature that is too cold for commuting, because they (stupidly) close the schools when it gets too cold. I'd have ridden Friday, when it was -22F, but they canceled school for the 2nd day in a row.

So far I've ridden 3 times when it was around -10F, with no problems.
They cancelled school at -22F?? They don't cancel school here until it reaches -40C/F. At -22F, kids just don't go outside for recess.
Machka is offline  
Old 01-19-09, 07:51 AM
  #10  
Dangerous Dave
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 69
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For a leisure ride, I would probably put the cutoff at 30 degrees, as I don't like bundling up lots- it restricts my movement, but I have yet to find a temperature too cold to commute in.
Dangerous Dave is offline  
Old 01-19-09, 12:08 PM
  #11  
ricohman
Senior Member
 
ricohman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,465
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Galoot View Post
I haven't found a temperature that is too cold for commuting, because they (stupidly) close the schools when it gets too cold. I'd have ridden Friday, when it was -22F, but they canceled school for the 2nd day in a row.

So far I've ridden 3 times when it was around -10F, with no problems.
Why are they cancelling school at -22F? What is that, about -30C?
That is pretty stupid. We get weeks of temps much colder than that.
The school bus does not run if it gets colder than -44F but the school remains open regardless.
ricohman is offline  
Old 01-19-09, 12:48 PM
  #12  
Teemu Kalvas
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 69
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've ridden in colder temperatures that I would dream of taking public transportation on, and given that I've mostly not owned a car, and now have a car which won't start, it's either bike or not go at all. Although, with the current winters this side of the pond, it's not much of an issue. We haven't had temperatures where this would come up in, err, three years? maybe four years now. We finally got snow today! The previous snow was in November! For three days!
Teemu Kalvas is offline  
Old 01-19-09, 01:02 PM
  #13  
bent-not-broken
back in the saddle
 
bent-not-broken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central WI
Posts: 633

Bikes: Raleigh Olympian, Trek 400, 500, 1500, 6700, Madone 6.9, Sekai 2400, Schwinn Passage, KOM, Super Letour, Nishiki Sport, Vision R45, Bike E, Volae Team

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Galoot View Post
I haven't found a temperature that is too cold for commuting, because they (stupidly) close the schools when it gets too cold. I'd have ridden Friday, when it was -22F, but they canceled school for the 2nd day in a row.

So far I've ridden 3 times when it was around -10F, with no problems.
Last week at -25F with 10-20 mph winds I drove. My commute is 5 miles each way and but this was a little too cold. On Tuesday my freewheel quit engaging half way home after sitting at work sub zero all day, and I didn't want to take a chance. I can handle riding in the cold but the 1.5 mile walk home on tuesday made me a little more cautious of a bike problem in sub -20f weather.

Last edited by bent-not-broken; 01-19-09 at 04:27 PM.
bent-not-broken is offline  
Old 01-19-09, 01:09 PM
  #14  
Galoot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 215

Bikes: 1975 Coppi Campionissimo, 1980 Raleigh Grand Sport, 1983 Trek 520, 1983 Ciocc, 1995 Trek 520

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Machka and ricohman--I agree it seems stupid to cancel school when it is -22f. But our school board has a policy of canceling school when there is a "wind chill warning", which happens when there is a wind chill of -35F or below.

The National Weather Service did have a wind chill warning in effect for the general area, but in reality, there was virtually no wind at all on Friday morning. Teachers were just astounded that they canceled school for this reason. The common response was "what do they do in Canada, or in Fairbanks Alaska? They GO TO SCHOOL!"
Galoot is offline  
Old 01-19-09, 03:09 PM
  #15  
ricohman
Senior Member
 
ricohman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,465
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Galoot View Post
Machka and ricohman--I agree it seems stupid to cancel school when it is -22f. But our school board has a policy of canceling school when there is a "wind chill warning", which happens when there is a wind chill of -35F or below.

The National Weather Service did have a wind chill warning in effect for the general area, but in reality, there was virtually no wind at all on Friday morning. Teachers were just astounded that they canceled school for this reason. The common response was "what do they do in Canada, or in Fairbanks Alaska? They GO TO SCHOOL!"
Yes they do.
My boys walked when the wind chill was -53 last week.
And the school was open. The school does not close, but they have recess indoors as mentioned above.
ricohman is offline  
Old 01-19-09, 03:29 PM
  #16  
tsl
Plays in traffic
 
tsl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 6,969

Bikes: 1996 Litespeed Classic, 2006 Trek Portland, 2013 Ribble Winter/Audax, 2016 Giant Talon 4

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Our temps are moderated by Lake Ontario and, to a lesser extent Lake Erie--at least until it freezes over.

Thus far, the coldest it's gotten in the city was 0F last week, and I rode in it just fine. Even did some extra miles just to be sure I really was still warm. Added arm warmers and kneewarmers under my usual winter tights and two upper layers with windbreaker. And a balaclava over my winter cycling skullcap.

Today at 20-23F, in my usual gear, I felt way too warm.
tsl is offline  
Old 01-19-09, 08:11 PM
  #17  
shouldberiding
Senior Member
 
shouldberiding's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 811

Bikes: '08 Trek 7.3FX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
We had a couple of days here that were about -20F before windchill. My footwear and gloves are not up to snuff for that. The coldest I've ridden in has been -2F with -20F windchill.
shouldberiding is offline  
Old 01-20-09, 08:32 PM
  #18  
tjspiel
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,112
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Galoot View Post
I haven't found a temperature that is too cold for commuting, because they (stupidly) close the schools when it gets too cold. I'd have ridden Friday, when it was -22F, but they canceled school for the 2nd day in a row.

So far I've ridden 3 times when it was around -10F, with no problems.
When you live in a place where it only gets that cold once in awhile you run the risk of kids getting frostbit while they wait for a bus or walk.

My son is much like me. He's not bothered as much by cold weather as a lot of people are and he's come to think he's impervious to it. I caught him more than once with his winter jacket stuffed into his backpack while waiting for his bus.

But also like me, he is susceptible to problems with ears, nose, and cheeks when it's especially cold. I'd like to think he keep them covered but you never know. If we lived in a climate where it was frequently that cold, he'd definitely know better.

Only last week a guy here got frostbitten fingers because he decided gloves were optional in 17 below zero weather.
tjspiel is offline  
Old 01-22-09, 07:55 AM
  #19  
Bob Ross
your god hates me
 
Bob Ross's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,861

Bikes: 2018 Cannondale CAADX 105 SE, 2016 Richard Sachs, 2010 Carl Strong, 2006 Cannondale Synapse

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 434 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by BikEthan View Post
It really is all about the right clothing and equipment.

+1
Who was it that said "There is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices." ?

I haven't found a specific temperature cutoff below which I won't ride, but there are certain metrics that I use to inform my Will I Ride? decision & temperature certainly is one of them. If I'm commuting I'll rarely ride below 20F, because the commute isn't long enough for me to warm up in time (and if I just work harder then I'm all sweaty when I arrive at work, which I can't bring myself to do to my coworkers). But if it's a recreational ride I'll happily go out in temps below 20F -- in fact, I've discovered that I have enough winter cycling kit to easily ride below 0F -- but I do most of my weekend riding with my wife, who is far less enamored of the cold & quite gifted in her ability to convince me to forego a ride to just stay in bed.

So in actuallity I rarely ever ride below 20F. But that's not my Lowest Temperature Cutoff, it just happens to work out that way!
Bob Ross is offline  
Old 01-22-09, 10:20 AM
  #20  
ianjk
:)
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: duluth
Posts: 3,392

Bikes: '07 Pista, '09 Fantom Cross Uno, '8? Miyata, '67 Stingray, '0? Zoo mod trials, Tallbike, Chopper, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '67 Triumph Chopper, '69 CB350, '58 BSA Spitfire, '73 CB450

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Still haven't had a day too cold to ride (-20F so far this winter). CC skied to the bar one night instead of riding due to excessive snow tho.
ianjk is offline  
Old 01-22-09, 10:56 AM
  #21  
PGSteamner
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I discovered the other week that -15 degF is my cut off. At this temperature the grease in my bike froze up. The brake cables and levers stopped moving and there was an overall feeling that the bike was deteriorating. I had to get off and walk, but this turned out to be surprisingly pleasant.
PGSteamner is offline  
Old 01-22-09, 01:04 PM
  #22  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,447

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2870 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 50 Posts
Originally Posted by PGSteamner View Post
I discovered the other week that -15 degF is my cut off. At this temperature the grease in my bike froze up. The brake cables and levers stopped moving and there was an overall feeling that the bike was deteriorating. I had to get off and walk, but this turned out to be surprisingly pleasant.
This happened at -15F?? It had to be quite a bit colder for my bicycle to freeze up like that. You might want to try a different lubricant.
Machka is offline  
Old 01-22-09, 01:54 PM
  #23  
jimmibudd
flaccid member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: winter-peg, manitoba
Posts: 98
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
too cold?
never....
i too bike in winnipeg daily/year round...

biked into a -48c windchill this year..... my coldest to date.... i wear balaclava, goggles,etc.... no exposed skin!!

once you get pedalling temp isn't really a factor.... it's more of mental hurdle...

jB
jimmibudd is offline  
Old 02-01-09, 08:48 AM
  #24  
cmcanulty
Senior Member
 
cmcanulty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 415
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have done-30F not wind chill but in old age -10F if about my limit. I stay hot but my hands hurt even in double good mittens. Plastic bags between sox and boots keeps feet warm.
cmcanulty is offline  
Old 02-01-09, 09:54 AM
  #25  
Lebowski
bikes are sexy
 
Lebowski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Sheboygan area, WI
Posts: 599

Bikes: [2008 specialized allez tripple], [2006 Specialized hardrock sport], [1998 Robinson Rebel], [1980's vintage schwinn ministing], [2008 specialized epic comp] - [2009 origin8 scout 29er], [2005 KHS DJ200]

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
-30f was as far as i have gone. it was -40 a while back and i was prepared to make the journey, however i still live with my parents, and they thought i was going to die and insisted on driving me to work.
Lebowski is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.