Frigid weather riding...

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by giddyupchik, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. giddyupchik

    giddyupchik New Member

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    I am currently living in California...beautiful weather. In January I'm moving to Walla Walla Washington [the average temperature for Jan. is 42].
    So my question is how cold is too cold? I've never lived in a place where the temperature is 42 at it's high. How cold can you ride?
    I'm pretty hardcore and willing to do what it takes, just wondering how much I'm going to be in on the trainer.

    Any tips for cold weather riding?
     
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  2. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    Here in Hokkaido, Japan, a warm winter day is 0c (32F); most days it averages about -10c (15F)....if you layer correctly and keep extremities covered, keeping warm is not a problem at all. For me, my personal limit was -22c (-7F) :eek: at that temp, nothing worked to keep my toes and fingers from severe pain!
    So...it can be done, just use common sense. For winter rides, I ride a mtn bike with spiked tires (icy roads here), and always wear a backpack which has one extra layer of clothes, some food, and a bottle. That way, if I get wet, I can change without risk of hypothermia, and I always have one bottle that is not frozen. Also, I wear a balaclava, windtex hat, lobster gloves, neck gaiter, goretex socks, and double booties over my shoes. 2 pairs of tights on the coldest days. 3 layers on top, the base layer a wicking material.
     
  3. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    Just wanted to add something to my post above...in the middle of winter, when it's the coldest, I only ride outside 2 days a week :eek: ...the rest is on a trainer, and one day a week for x-country skiing/skating cross training. Those average temps I quoted above are for the middle of the day...too cold in the morning to ride before work - that's when it's likely to be between -20 to -25, sometimes even -30c (-22F!!!) In those temps, not only is it painful, but I don't get a quality workout....so also think about that when you decide how to split your time between indoor and outdoor rides.
     
  4. Cycler6n

    Cycler6n New Member

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    me personally, I would use a pro trainer
     
  5. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Ride outdoors as much as possible. Trainers and rollers are great but not as good as being outside. I usually don't worry about the temperature as much as whether or not there is snow and ice on the road. I can ride well in sub-freezing temperatures but not on snow and ice. I don't even like to drive on the stuff. Personally I am looking forward to global warming:eek: .
     
  6. ovalbackmarker

    ovalbackmarker New Member

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    I would love to have 42 degree temps in January. Here in the midwest it is around 0 to 20 for the high in January. We still ride, just not as far. A typical ride is 15 miles out for a warm drink and back.Make sure to keep your head, hands and feet warm. Also watch your nose for frostbite.Even with the cold weather, it sure beats a trainer.
     
  7. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    22 can be easier than 42 if there's precipitation involved. When it's cold and raining you have to have good gear.

    Get gear that breathes. In an emergency I once rode with kitchen rubber gloves under my gloves and was warm. If your gloves don't evaporate sweat well, though, your fingers will quickly go numb.

    I keep some goggles handy because when a freezing wind hits your face, you're going to be blinded with tears.

    Carry some extra clothes in the event of a breakdown.

    Aluminum is not corrosion proof. Keep your bike clean of road salt regardless of what it's made of. Or keep it outside so the cold slows chemical reactions and keeps ice from melting and refreezing inside various mechanisms.

    Maybe get a cheap winter wheelset. Road salt and slush do a very good job of keeping grit stuck to your rims and brakes.

    Last, don't forget that strenuous exercise may warm your core but does not protect against frostbite because stress pulls blood away from your extremities.

    In spite of the above, I still do winter riding for fun. It's not that big a deal if you prepare.
     
  8. giddyupchik

    giddyupchik New Member

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    Hey thanks for the advice...makes me feel a little better.

    Also, what the hell are you doing riding in -7 degrees???? You're crazy!!
    (I guess I shouldn't be complaining...)
     
  9. Fatherzen

    Fatherzen New Member

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    I would recommend going to http://icebike.org/ . There is a lot of good advice there on clothing and equipment for riding in frigid weather. You will also see that -7 degrees isn't that bad.

    As a year round bicycle commuter one grows accustomed to riding no matter what the weather is. There is no such thing as bad cycling weather, only bad cycling attire.
     
  10. Bro Deal

    Bro Deal New Member

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    42 is no problem. 55 - 60 is my favorite temperature to ride in. I think that as you approach 30 it quickly becomes a serious chore to ride on the road. You can do it but there is no pleasure. It is not just the temperature but also snow on the side of the road reduces the width of the shoulder area. Sand thrown on the road for traction does the same plus it causes more flats. Fixing flats in sub-freezing temperatures sucks. Motorists do not expect people to be riding, so the risks there go up.

    My cut off is 30 - 35. Below that I would rather do something else. Trail running, hiking, skiing, mountain biking in valleys, etc. Beats the hell out of using a trainer.
     
  11. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    Was -2C (28.4F) here this morning. Have had to put the string-backs away now for this year, boo hoo.

    Main problem riding this morning was one silly girl commuter who thought it OK to pull out to overtake another cyclist without looking behind or really realising there was ice on the ground. Long story cut short: she was broadsided by the guy in front of me. Made me laugh. As I was catching up to that bunch, ' thought to myself "She's wearing purple, warning!" so had already dropped off the cycle path onto the road.

    Dunno about you, but with commuting by bike for so long I seem to have developed a sixth sense for when someones is about to do something really dumb in front of me.
     
  12. chelatna

    chelatna New Member

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    I lived in Walla Walla for several years and it's a great area. You'll probably want more layers, but it's not like Alaska or anything (I lived there too). Here in western Oregon it's wetter and maybe a tiny bit warmer, but with decent gloves and lightweight rain gear, the problem is actually keeping cool enough. Once it gets below about 45F, I notice a real difference wearing something that blocks the wind. See what the locals are doing. I do remember that sometimes Walla Walla gets weird temperature inversions where it can stay below freezing for days and everything gets covered with frost. Me personally, if it's icy, I take the bus.

    Good luck! :D
     
  13. WIGGUM1

    WIGGUM1 New Member

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    Cold weather riding is one thing, but I hate riding in a strong headwind. Here in Denver, it can be cold, but the sun is usually out. It is when the wind is gusting that things get nasty. We usually don't have snow stay on the ground. I was wondering for you in the midwest and Japan, what do you do about the snow?
     
  14. xtrainer

    xtrainer New Member

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    I think it is not possible to (safely) ride a road bike with slicks when there is snow on the roads. I would suggest a cx bike or mountain bike instead. Preferably equipped with studded tires; studded tires are now available in 700x35 and 700x42 for cx bikes also.

    Riding a cx bike with heavy studded tires (900g a piece) is totally different from summer time riding but it is still fun.
     
  15. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    I ride down to 20 F degrees. Key is the clothing and being layered. I have spend far more money on the winter clothing then I do for the summer wear.
     
  16. reub2000

    reub2000 New Member

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    The reviews for the Nokian W106 tires all say that the tires can't handle snow.

    Anyways, my bike is a flatbar, and can easily handle 700x35c tires.
     
  17. musher

    musher New Member

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    Wrong,Jan. is avg. 22 to 35 F Hi in walla walla:D . Welcome to Washigton:) .
    Hi, i am from E. Wenatchee Wa ( avg. 22 to 35 F Hi ), 2 1/2 hours north of Walla walla, Mission Ridge our ski resort open in ThanksGiving ,the firts ski resort to open in the northwest ;) .Welcome again and enjoy the snow.

    They have a nice Stage Race in WallaWalla ,maybe i'll see you their,what cat. do you race .
    Ride Hard ,Musher
     
  18. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    The snow here tends to get compacted by the cars and frozen onto the road, usually creating a layer about 3-4 cm thick. Actually, it's perfect for spike tyres! So snow is not usually a problem....unless there is a blizzard, in which case, it can be impossible to ride until it has been plowed or compacted. The more serious problem here recently has been the ice on the roads. Usually, the spike tires can handle it no problem, but in recent years since the weather has been getting warmer, the ice is now a translucent type of ice, not the white stuff.....no traction whatsoever, no matter what you use! Scary stuff :eek: On those days, it's either the trainer or x-c skiing!
     
  19. xtrainer

    xtrainer New Member

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    I would never buy a pair of Nokian W106 tyres for training purposes. Even Nokian has much better tyres, for example W240. Continental has a cx suitable tyre called Nordic Spike that is almost identical to Nokian (and made in the same factory), but rolls much better. Schwalbe makes possibly the best cx winter tyre at the moment, the new Marathon Winter.
     
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