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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 10-01-12, 02:42 PM   #26
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It isn't so much a matter of preference as it is a matter of safety. The army issues this chart that details the factors that wind play in the equation. I'll ride anything in the yellow section, beyond that, screw it. I am not losing parts of my body for a bike ride if given a choice.
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Old 10-02-12, 02:10 AM   #27
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Don't worry this chart is just a guideline and even though you would ride in the green zone it's not the end of the world when you're well prepared
Flesh may freeze within 30 seconds ... not so much
According to this chart my hand may have frozen because I put my naked hand for nearly 1 minute in the cold air at -116F equivalent when looking for something I couldn't grab with my mitts.

But I got cold feet at 25F and didn't at way below 0F --> here is the false sense of security

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Old 10-02-12, 10:52 AM   #28
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What's that aphorism? "There is no such thing as Bad Weather, only Inappropriate Attire."

Or something like that. I think the coldest temp I've ever cycled in was 17°F. The thing that would give me pause before going out riding in single digit temps are
A) lack of adequate face protection - I haven't yet found a solution for covering up the area around my nose/mouth left exposed by a balaklava that doesn't also cause my glasses to fog up and/or restrict my breathing
B) lack of 100% badass gloves - I've tried a ton of different solutions, mixed&matched numerous layering systems, liners, mittens, finger cozies, Airbloc®, GoreTex®, hands fully inserted into the rectums of live honey badgers, you name it...and my fingertips still get numb after about 60 minutes of cycling in 20° weather. My kingdom for a real sub-zero winter glove that won't sacrifice dexterity!

But winter cycling is an absolute blast, and I kinda like the ritual of checking the weather report and then figuring out what combination of apparel will be appropriate.
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Old 10-02-12, 03:16 PM   #29
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What's that aphorism? "There is no such thing as Bad Weather, only Inappropriate Attire."

Or something like that. I think the coldest temp I've ever cycled in was 17°F. The thing that would give me pause before going out riding in single digit temps are
A) lack of adequate face protection - I haven't yet found a solution for covering up the area around my nose/mouth left exposed by a balaklava that doesn't also cause my glasses to fog up and/or restrict my breathing
B) lack of 100% badass gloves - I've tried a ton of different solutions, mixed&matched numerous layering systems, liners, mittens, finger cozies, Airbloc®, GoreTex®, hands fully inserted into the rectums of live honey badgers, you name it...and my fingertips still get numb after about 60 minutes of cycling in 20° weather. My kingdom for a real sub-zero winter glove that won't sacrifice dexterity!

But winter cycling is an absolute blast, and I kinda like the ritual of checking the weather report and then figuring out what combination of apparel will be appropriate.
I could have written this. These are my two big issues as well. I haven't tried the honey badger solution for the hands and thankfully, now I won't have to! My best solution is pogies with a wool mitt and shell overmitt but it's pretty cumbersome. Anyone tried heated gloves? http://coreheat.net/Products/Products.html#Gloves

And winter riding IS a blast!!
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Old 10-02-12, 04:35 PM   #30
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This winter I will try another solution to see if the new option is better or not but I have a 100% gloves solution that work well up to 0F for a few hours.

Because I have big hands I couldn't just go with cycling gloves available on the market so here is my solution:

from skin to outside

polypro gloves - disposable powder free nitrile/latex gloves
(this mix can be used alone as a good dexterity windproof waterproof solution for temporary use in cold air)
then
black diamond windweight gloves - disposable powder free nitrile/latex gloves (bigger size) - thinsulate lined leather gloves
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/3M-THINSULATE...item27cb6a9c9b

then for extreme cold weather
rbh design vapormitt altitude mitts (the fuzzard) or extreme cold weather mitts artic M-1949

Regarding the size, if your hands require the biggest black diamond size then the thinsulate lined leather gloves will have the size 3XL

But for me pogies are the best solution for someone looking for good dexterity at extreme low temps

Regarding the fog problem the best solution I have found is the pyramex i-force goggles and the adhesive foam tape used to insulate doors and windows. You can sew it on the face mask or stick it to your face and put the face mask on

Last edited by erig007; 10-02-12 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 10-03-12, 01:16 AM   #31
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I ride 20*F to 95*F.I have no interest in getting frostbite or heat stroke.
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Old 10-05-12, 06:03 AM   #32
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The worst conditions, IMO, are raining and below freezing.

The coldest air temp I've ridden in was about -19C - about -2F. That was lovely. Even when the snow blew up, it was cold enough it just ran off me like powder.

Rain when air and ground temp are below freezing is really horrible. your clothes get wet, then they start to freeze. Sucks the heat right out of your body. Ice forms on the road. Ice forms on your bike - water gets into gears and freezes, into cables and freezes.
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Old 10-08-12, 05:24 AM   #33
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About 30 years ago I rode in the winter. The grease in the freewheel would get to stiff, and it would not lock up. Had to use only silicone grease (dow corning 33) on all the bearings. Brakes then were not that good, and in the winter it was a lot worse. Had to allow for that. Wonder if modern stuff has that issue now.

Rod
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Old 10-08-12, 10:52 PM   #34
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how cold is too cold to ride?

When the chain of your bike, screws, brake cables and every metal start to break due to change of material properties. You can't ride anymore.
When your sweat freeze on your jacket and any breathable garment you're wearing. And then your garment start becoming heavier and heavier due to ice forming from your sweat.
When the grease on your chain start freezing
When your garments start loosing their insulation properties.
When so much snow is on the road that your bike can't move anymore
When your goggles freeze with every breath you take

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egh60...eature=related

To sum up, when you're cold
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Old 10-09-12, 12:13 AM   #35
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0 Kelvin, which is theoretically impossible, so you're all good.
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Old 10-11-12, 01:33 PM   #36
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As Daredevil said, 20s and 30s are a piece of cake. By the end of your first winter riding season you won't even consider those temps "cold weather riding."
I agree with this. You just get used to it, and you figure out what works or doesn't. Everybody is different on what they prefer.

I think the coldest I have ridden is around -20F. I have been out walking in much colder, but not biking.
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Old 10-12-12, 08:17 PM   #37
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It didn't get all that cold last winter, but my record was 15 miles at -14 degrees F. The ride wasn't bad at all with just a couple light layers. One of the best winter items I found was a runner's hoodie that has a 1/4 zip front and a hood large enough to pull up over my helmet. When it gets around 0 degrees F, I put on my fleece balcava under my helmet and pull the hood up over it. I actually have to be careful to keep from getting sweaty. Check my avatar, those icycles are from a combination of the moisture in my breath and sweath dripping off my brow then freezing on the edge of the balcava. One thing I like about that balcava is that it leaves a small gap on each side of my nose, so each exhaled breath warms my eyes slightly. I didn't even wear sunglasses that day.

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Old 10-16-12, 07:12 AM   #38
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My lower limit is around 0f/-18c, and that's about as cold as it ever gets around here. If I carried my bike on my winter travels, which I don't, I'd have the opportunity to ride in -35c or so, but I have no desire to do that.
In the winter of 2007, I was working in the Northwest Territories, and regularly saw people riding bikes in -40 temps. BRRRRR!
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Old 10-16-12, 12:57 PM   #39
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When my commute as 5 miles, I commuted down to -24F. Had all skin covered. My limit is feet and hands. I needed chemical hand and foot warmers and multi layered mittens.
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Old 10-17-12, 03:55 AM   #40
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I don't know how cold is too cold for me. I've been down to 0F with vastly inferior gear than what I have now. It wasn't pleasant but I survived.

That said, I moved to central Montana this summer after living my whole life in the Midwest and I've never been through a winter like is possible around here. Nobody around here thinks I can ride throughout the winter. I don't know if I can or not, but I won't give up easily. If anything stops me, I'm wondering if it will be the wind rather than the cold since my winter bike is a fixed gear. Yesterday the wind was blowing at 40mph and gusting over 50mph (but with mild temperature).

I'm also not sure how cold is too cold to start my car. I may have no alternative than to ride the bike.
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Old 10-17-12, 10:22 AM   #41
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as soon as I saw "Montana" I thought WIND. It will indeed be the wind that will be the biggest issue. and I would caution you to be prepared for a rare flat or other mechanical problem which means have panniers and spare clothing to put on in the event you have to walk or be delayed fixing a flat. In spite of the fact you are in a southern state, it can get chilly....
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Old 10-17-12, 10:50 AM   #42
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When I went skiing after some 12 year break, I realized: running 50 km/h at -10 degrees celsious, no problem. Pure joy. Why do I stop cycling in the winter then? I could use ski mask, gloves, jacket, winter boots. That's when I started ridin all year long.

Doesn't get below -20 degrees celsious and I don't have to climb hills so no problem. Like someone said - it's worst when it rains and outside is below 10 degrees celsious. Whatever I do then, I don't feel nice and comfortable. -10 degrees and snow is a lot more comfy than +10 and rain. But I survive. No health problems related to cycling in the cold. Not yet, not that I know of.
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Old 10-17-12, 11:58 PM   #43
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My worst experience in cold winter wasn't at -36C and 70 km/h headwind.

By far the worst for me was moving through 2 feet deep snow at -15C, 20km/h headwind with a bike full. This was a nightmare.
You have to walk through snow with the bike beside you because you can't ride it with so much snow.
Every step you take sink in the snow and you have to push the bike which sink in as well. So it's more raise up the bike move the bike raise your foot then move.
I think my speed was about 100 meters per hour.
And I didn't have high boots so my shoes was filled with snow

Another time was climbing a hill with my bike beside me at the previous mentioned weather -36C and 70km/h headwind. The problem was that the path was frozen and i didn't have stud on my shoes so it was more 2 steps forward and 1 step backward. Painful but it's nothing compared to walking through snow with the bike.

So if you're into challenge or workout go try that

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Old 10-18-12, 12:40 AM   #44
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Personal record was -35F. That was uncomfortable and not repeated. Somewhere between -10F and -20F was my personal limit. -10F to +25F was no problem as long as dressed appropriately.

Some of my worst rides were in the upper twenties to mid thirties. Warm enough for stuff to start melting, getting me wet, and refreazing in the shade or as the day cooled.
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Old 10-18-12, 09:21 AM   #45
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Some of my worst rides were in the upper twenties to mid thirties. Warm enough for stuff to start melting, getting me wet, and refreazing in the shade or as the day cooled.
I agree. I remember a day I rode home from work with the temp just below freezing. It was raining pretty hard and the temp was right at that point where the rain would freeze almost immediately upon hitting the ground. I had so much ice on me and the bike that the added weight was slowing me noticably. When I got home I looked like somebody had made an ice sculpture of the Michelin Man.
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Old 10-18-12, 09:44 PM   #46
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I agree. I remember a day I rode home from work with the temp just below freezing. It was raining pretty hard and the temp was right at that point where the rain would freeze almost immediately upon hitting the ground. I had so much ice on me and the bike that the added weight was slowing me noticably. When I got home I looked like somebody had made an ice sculpture of the Michelin Man.
Something about this post was troubling. I finally decided it was your user title: "The Fat Guy In The Back". It seems incongruous with this post. Parsing through it I found : "rain...freeze...ice on me and the bike .. I got home" which led to "rain...freeze...ice...I got home" then just to "rain...freeze...ice...home"

There, IMO, is your user title.
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Old 10-29-12, 05:43 PM   #47
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Like some of the others said, 20 deg F is a snap. Of course you need to cover everything including your face and ears. But after that, 20 deg is a nice day. (It's one of the advantages of being a serious bicyclist; it extends the 'nice weather' season a good deal.)

10 deg F is not bad, though you're beginning to develop some cold spots. Like feet and hands.

I don't have a big problem with 0 deg F. But my feet will be cold and numb.

Bar mitts help a lot with winter. I've come to the point that I won't ride without them.

And you have to develop a breathing style that minimizes glasses/goggle fogging. You almost grimace, breathing out one far side of your mouth and trying to aim behind.

But riding in the cold is very rewarding.
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Old 10-30-12, 09:19 AM   #48
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A) lack of adequate face protection - I haven't yet found a solution for covering up the area around my nose/mouth left exposed by a balaklava that doesn't also cause my glasses to fog up and/or restrict my breathing
B) lack of 100% badass gloves - I've tried a ton of different solutions, mixed&matched numerous layering systems, liners, mittens, finger cozies, Airbloc®, GoreTex®, hands fully inserted into the rectums of live honey badgers, you name it...and my fingertips still get numb after about 60 minutes of cycling in 20° weather. My kingdom for a real sub-zero winter glove that won't sacrifice dexterity!
For B, I use scooter mitts. I can wear lighter gloves but my hands stay warm.

For A, I've used 3 hole face masks and a light balaclava down to around 15°F or so. Between 5 and 15, I use Seirius Innovation Clava with a pair of tinted yellow glasses. Below 5, I use the Talus ColdAvenger Expedition with vented ski goggles. The goggles fog up my glasses a little but I find moving my head to adjust the airflow unfogs them quickly.
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Old 10-30-12, 11:50 AM   #49
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how cold is too cold to ride?

depends on how far you have to ride. for instance, if the thermometer is reading below 0F, i highly dislike going more than 3-4 miles round trip. however, temps in the teens through 30's can be invigorating.

as a side note, a blast of arctic cold can replace coffee first thing in the morning
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Old 10-31-12, 03:14 PM   #50
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It's not really about the temp for me, or really even about the riding. If I feel the conditions are going to be unsafe or too cold/isolated to be stranded in I'll pick a different route or take a pass.

Also, I don't do ice. It's just not worth the risk to me, and I don't live in a place where studs make sense for the handful of times a year they might be helpful.
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