is it ok to ride in the cold...

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by greenhornbiker, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. greenhornbiker

    greenhornbiker New Member

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    Just curious, are there any concerns/hazards to be aware fo when riding (road bike) in below freezing temps? I am new to the sport and unsure??
     
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  2. Animator

    Animator New Member

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    If the road is clear of snow and ice, then there's really nothing out of the ordinary to worry about. Dress appropriately, of course. That will likely take some experimentation to get right for you.
     
  3. AngryPenguin

    AngryPenguin New Member

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    Aside from the obvious icy roads as long as you dress yoursef up properly you should be fine.

    Wear lots of layers so you can take a couple off when you get going and gloves are essential to stop the hands turning blue. Try and find a thin hat too to go under your helmet, covering the top of your head is important for some people but everone agrees that covering your ears is essential becuse in low temps it can be agonising to have your ears whistling in the breeze.

    A nice tip that I picked up somewhere to keep your feet warm is to put on your socks then put a Tescos bag or other plastic bag over your foot and then put another pair of socks over the top. After a few hours you do get a bit of a boil in the bag effect but it certainly keeps them warm.
     
  4. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    The only other thing that I could add is if your friends lead you up a steep climb that leaves you breathing heavily in cold air. I ended up with pneumonia last winter because of it. :( If I had controlled my breathing or used a lower pace going up the hill I would have been fine. Lesson learned for me. :)
     
  5. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Learned that lesson last year, too, with exercise-induced asthma. This year, there's no heavy breathing in the cold, very dry air.
     
  6. john979

    john979 New Member

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    I will triple that. I never had pneumonia before in my life until last year when riding hard in the cold.
     
  7. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    I carry a breath warming face mask with me for emergencies. It's easy to put on if you break down or feel your lungs and nasal passages getting chilled. It actually gets too damp if used all the time.

    P.S. don't forget to either wash your bike or store it in the cold. Road salt will attack aluminum which is unprotected, such as rock chips or anodized components which are scratched.

    Salty slush sticks grit to your brake pads like nothing else. It helps to have a water bottle in the pocket to give them a rinse.
     
  8. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    I don't see how you get pneumonia from a hard ride up a hill in cold weather.

    Also, I don't believe there is any such thing as cold weather induced asthma. According to a recent article I read, it is really induced by dry air. It's just that the air is so much more dry in the winter that people think it is caused by the cold. I read that tests show that asthma can similarly be induced by warm air if it has the same dryness as the winter air.
     
  9. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Please point out where anyone said there was.

    Ok, let's think about that one. If the air is always so much drier when it's cold out, does it really matter whether it's caused by dryness or cold, per se? It's still a valid caution for someone asking about the hazards of riding when it's cold.

    Then I'll remember to *also* caution people who ask whether it's okay to ride their bikes across the Sahara. ;)
     
  10. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I am not a doctor but that is how it was diagnosed from my doctor after a series of tests and was treated as such after that ride. I was healthy immediately before that ride.

    The following link does indicate what you state, but again remember that this is happening in cold air for a number of people. The OP asked for things to be aware of in cold air and this can be a valid concern for some individuals and perhaps not a concern for everyone.

    Link



    From the American Lung Association

    Does weather affect my asthma?
    It can. Breathing very cold air can trigger asthma episodes in some people. Certain weather patterns known as "inversions" can cause a build-up of industrial air pollution, another lung hazard for asthma sufferers. Since each person with asthma is different, weather factors that affect others may or may not affect you. Try to notice how weather changes affect your asthma, and discuss those effects with your doctor.

    If your lungs are sensitive to cold air, winter could be your worst time. That problem can be relieved by breathing through your nose rather than your mouth and covering your nose and mouth with a warm scarf. Or you can use a special cold-weather mask available at your drug store.


    :) Sorry for the Redundant post - I had the same thoughts as frenchy's post, but was slower at the keyboard.
     
  11. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I had mine checked twice for pneumonia, but the doctor said 'no' both times. Antibiotics didn't work, and in the end it took a steroid inhaler to get rid of it. :(


    Since the New York Times saw fit to print just what was interesting, and not what was informative, here's a little more about the correlation between cold air and moisture content:

    In Alice Springs, Australia (never been there, I'm sure it's nice, but on the satellite image it's in the middle of a big ol' patch of brown, in the Northern Territory) it's currently 95 degF, with a relative humidity of 14%, at 9:30pm local time.

    Meanwhile, in Toronto, Canada it's currently 23 degF, lightly snowing, with a relative humidity of 83%.

    The moisture content in Toronto, is about 13 grains per pound of air, while there are about 34 grains per pound of air in Alice Springs. When we're talking about environmental conditions (vs lab conditions), the temperature of the air plays the biggest role in how much moisture that air will contain.
     
  12. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Perhaps my doctor was guessing to some degree. He actually treated me with antibiotics and an Advair inhaler. You could hear the fluid in my chest without a scope so he didn't want to take a chance and not treat for pneumonia. I continued to train indoors, but it took about a month for my lungs to stop burning if I started breathing heavy.
     
  13. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    Oh Frenchyge, you're such a ham.
     
  14. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Nawww.... just an engineer. :)
     
  15. bing181

    bing181 New Member

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    Been there, but don't know that I'd describe it as 'nice'. It's a real outback town, pretty much on a road between nowhere and nowhere.

    On the other hand, the surroundings are stunning, in a barren, open kind of way .. though not all that great for bike-riding except for the trans-continental variety.

    OT ... Normal transmission will resume in a minute.

    B
     
  16. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I was looking for a "summertime in the desert" locale to use as an example, and since all the northern hemisphere deserts are currently experiencing winter I thought it looked like a suitable place (and fortunately, weather.com lists it). I didn't want any residents to think I was picking on their home, though, just using their weather for my example. :)
     
  17. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Of course when you breathe cold air your body warms it up which means the relative humidity plummets and it becomes excellent at absorbing moisture from your lungs. The chill probably also contributes to lowering resistance too, somewhat.
     
  18. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit New Member

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    I would ignore all the scaremongering in some of the replies and attempt to find out what suits you. I shall be going out Sunday morning with the forecast being -2 C (28F), and I'm sure it will be even colder once I get in the mountains, but I won't let it slow me down. You have to use common sense, if you feel things are not right then don't push it.

    In my 30s when I was doing competitive road running, I remember running with my beard (had a beard then) absolutely covered in long frozen sweat icicles with the temp at god knows minus what. So just be careful and experiment, we are all different when it comes to tolerating pain, cold etc. Tyson
     
  19. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    Hey Frenchyge

    I'm an engineer too. Nuclear here...what about you?
     
  20. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Yep, small world. 7 years in the US nuclear Navy for me, and then the last 8 years in building environments (temperature and humidity stuff) and energy conservation. Mechanical engineer by degree.

    Cheers. :)
     
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