Winter commute

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by John Griffiths, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. Hi folks,
    Sorry to throw a downer on the lovely cycling weather we've been having
    recently but....
    I've recently starting commting to work by bike and I've enjoyed the
    experience so much (numpty white van drivers aside) I want to carry on.
    However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting. Anyone
    have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more safe and
    comfortable?
    Cheers
    John
     
    Tags:


  2. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    John Griffiths wrote:
    > Hi folks,
    > Sorry to throw a downer on the lovely cycling weather we've been having
    > recently but....
    > I've recently starting commting to work by bike and I've enjoyed the
    > experience so much (numpty white van drivers aside) I want to carry on.
    > However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting. Anyone
    > have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more safe and
    > comfortable?


    Well there is winter and there is Winter. Where are you based? Do you
    normally get snow/ice or just cold mucky rain?

    What is your commute like? Road/off-road/long/short etc.

    ...d
     
  3. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    David Martin wrote:

    > Well there is winter and there is Winter. Where are you based? Do you
    > normally get snow/ice or just cold mucky rain?
    >
    > What is your commute like? Road/off-road/long/short etc.


    And can you reasonably expect to be in the dark in one or both
    directions, and if so for how long?

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  4. John Hearns

    John Hearns Guest

    On Wed, 20 Jul 2005 07:42:51 +0000, John Griffiths wrote:

    > Hi folks,
    > Sorry to throw a downer on the lovely cycling weather we've been having
    > recently but....
    > I've recently starting commting to work by bike and I've enjoyed the
    > experience so much (numpty white van drivers aside) I want to carry on.
    > However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting. Anyone
    > have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more safe and
    > comfortable?

    Ron Hill Bikesters - long trousers like tracksuit trousers.
    Tracksuit bottoms are made out of cotton, and soak the water up.
    Bikesters don't soak water up, and dry out rapidly.

    Full-finger winter gloves or ski gloves.

    Wear a warm hat or skullcap below the helmet if wearing one.

    Think about getting contact lenses if you wear specs. You won't get rain
    and muck all over your glasses.

    Leave a set of clothes in the office.
    Nice warm showers for when you arrive.
     
  5. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "John Griffiths" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Hi folks,
    > Sorry to throw a downer on the lovely cycling weather we've been having
    > recently but....
    > I've recently starting commting to work by bike and I've enjoyed the
    > experience so much (numpty white van drivers aside) I want to carry on.
    > However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting. Anyone
    > have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more safe and
    > comfortable?


    Depends on lots of things. How long is the commute? A two or three mile
    commute may require little more than a jacket, gloves and lights. Longer
    may suggest overshoes and nice warm cycling tights.

    Short distance urban cycling may not need much other than a simple set of
    lights and some reflective stuff on the bike or you. A stretch of unlit
    road will mean more lights and more reflective.

    My experience of a short, urban commute is that it is rare to need much
    extra clobber. As it gets colder I increase the amount of clothing -- but a
    good pullover and a windproof gillet are enough most days well into
    December. One day last year I got a soaking on the way home -- horizontal
    rain with hard lumps of hail and freezing slushy stuff all at the same time.
    Horrible but a 1 in a thousand event -- shouldn't happen again until about
    2007 :~) Much cursing and a defrost in the shower once home. Fine for a 2
    mile trip -- positively stupid if travelling 10 miles.

    I always accept that there may be a few days when the car or the bus look
    attractive. I actually enjoy cycling in rain -- but not sitting in wet
    things -- so if it is pissing down I may go out for a fun ride but then opt
    for the car to commute. I do not do cycling in icy conditions -- the
    plonkers round here cannot control their cars well enough!!

    T
     
  6. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    Tony W wrote:
    > My experience of a short, urban commute is that it is rare to need much
    > extra clobber. As it gets colder I increase the amount of clothing -- but a
    > good pullover and a windproof gillet are enough most days well into
    > December. One day last year I got a soaking on the way home -- horizontal
    > rain with hard lumps of hail and freezing slushy stuff all at the same time.


    That'll be october here ;-) It depends where you are and what the
    prevailing weather conditions are. Generally a waterproof with good
    ventilation is fine, long fingered gloves are good. If the weather is
    bad then a change of gear is good, though that depends on
    circumstances. I like my Altura winter cruisers.. toasty warm, but
    generally commute in normal clothes. In the depths of winter I'll wear
    a jumper under the coat on the way home (uphill)

    Mudguards are a useful accessory for wet weather.

    My coldest commute was at -15C. Studded tyres on the bike and copiuos
    layers of extra clothing, ski goggles, no exposed skin. That is a bit
    extreme for UK unless you live in Aviemore or Tomintoul.

    ...d
     
  7. Roos Eisma

    Roos Eisma Guest

    "Tony W" <[email protected]> writes:

    >I always accept that there may be a few days when the car or the bus look
    >attractive. I actually enjoy cycling in rain -- but not sitting in wet
    >things -- so if it is pissing down I may go out for a fun ride but then opt
    >for the car to commute. I do not do cycling in icy conditions -- the
    >plonkers round here cannot control their cars well enough!!


    When it's icy/slushy/snowy I rather cycle than drive - I know I can't
    control my car well enough in those conditions while I know I can handle
    my bike. And I don't want to be a plonker myself :)

    Roos
     
  8. > However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting.
    > Anyone have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more
    > safe and comfortable?


    Mine's a short urban commute. For that I'd recommend:

    Bright front light combined with cheapo flashing front light (one alerts
    'em to 'bike', the steady one helps 'em get a fix on your position).
    Same on rear.

    Mudguards.

    Full fingered *windproof* gloves. Not too thick.

    Windproof top. Waterproof makes me sweat lots, so windproof + water
    resistant is normally best.

    Waterproof top for when the rain is getting silly (I'm in Manchester,
    it's only meant to drizzle).

    Basball cap. Stops rain getting into the eyes (IMHO this is essential
    to make cycling in the rain fun).

    Ickle scarf type thing to stop the wind going down the front of my neck.

    As for warmth I start off c-c-c-cold and after a few minutes I'm nice
    and toasty. It's amasing how much you warm up. For most of the
    winter I just wear a long sleeved shirt under the windproof.
    Alternatively it's no windproof and a few shirts under a thick jumper.

    If my commute was longer I'd be wanting a pair of toasty gloves for the
    few days that it's _really_ cold, bikesters or similar to make cycling
    in rain more comfy for the legs, a hat with a wide brim to stop rain
    going down the back of my neck and maybe a balaclava for when it's a
    toasty glove day. The thing that keeps me toasty-warm is cycling fast,
    so if it were a longer commute I'd probably want something to compensate
    for the drop in speed.

    Cycling in winter is fun as long as you're properly dressed for it
    (being over dressed is as fun-destroying as under dressed). It easily
    beats the crowded bus for comfort, and going by car would be easier, but
    would mean getitng exercise sometime else or <shudders> eating less.
     
  9. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    Mark Thompson wrote:
    > > However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting.
    > > Anyone have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more
    > > safe and comfortable?

    >
    > Mine's a short urban commute. For that I'd recommend:
    >
    > Bright front light combined with cheapo flashing front light (one alerts
    > 'em to 'bike', the steady one helps 'em get a fix on your position).
    > Same on rear.


    Best to have lots of lights..

    > Mudguards.
    >
    > Full fingered *windproof* gloves. Not too thick.


    I have some Altura ones picked up cheap at the York Rally.. Not had to
    use them yet.

    > Windproof top. Waterproof makes me sweat lots, so windproof + water
    > resistant is normally best.


    > Waterproof top for when the rain is getting silly (I'm in Manchester,
    > it's only meant to drizzle).

    That was the summer ;-)


    > Basball cap. Stops rain getting into the eyes (IMHO this is essential
    > to make cycling in the rain fun).


    And clear protective glasses. Nothing spoils riding in the snow like
    not having eye protection.

    > As for warmth I start off c-c-c-cold and after a few minutes I'm nice
    > and toasty. It's amasing how much you warm up. For most of the
    > winter I just wear a long sleeved shirt under the windproof.
    > Alternatively it's no windproof and a few shirts under a thick jumper.


    Same here and I have a minor hill on my commute (almost the size of
    highgate hill)

    > If my commute was longer I'd be wanting a pair of toasty gloves for the
    > few days that it's _really_ cold,


    I find that if they are warm enough for my 30mph run down into work in
    the morning then they are warm enough whatever.

    > bikesters or similar to make cycling
    > in rain more comfy for the legs, a hat with a wide brim to stop rain
    > going down the back of my neck and maybe a balaclava for when it's a
    > toasty glove day.

    A souwester works wonders for the rain (as does a h*****t with a visor)
    but the souwester does tend to lift off and strangle you at speeds over
    30mph. Favourite is a lowe mountain cap which also has ear flaps. I
    can't find where I put it right now though.

    > The thing that keeps me toasty-warm is cycling fast,
    > so if it were a longer commute I'd probably want something to compensate
    > for the drop in speed.

    Not really. It won't make a massive amount of difference unless you
    have a long hill.

    > Cycling in winter is fun as long as you're properly dressed for it
    > (being over dressed is as fun-destroying as under dressed). It easily
    > beats the crowded bus for comfort, and going by car would be easier, but
    > would mean getitng exercise sometime else or <shudders> eating less.


    Absolutely..

    ...d
     
  10. John Griffiths wrote:
    > Hi folks,
    > Sorry to throw a downer on the lovely cycling weather we've been having
    > recently but....
    > I've recently starting commting to work by bike and I've enjoyed the
    > experience so much (numpty white van drivers aside) I want to carry on.
    > However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting. Anyone
    > have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more safe and
    > comfortable?



    Mine is a long Urban and country commute of 21 miles each way much of it
    on unlit roads. My list:

    1) Mud guards
    2) SON powered front lights running at 12V. Simply fantastic
    <URL:http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/chrisg?anchor=even_more_impressed_with_my>.
    3) A powerful LED front light so I have a fully independent back up if
    the above ever let me down (that has not happened yet).
    4) 3 rear lights, one flashing light attached to my Sam Browne.
    5) Pedal reflectors (so I'm legal, campag profit do have reflectors for
    clipless pedals, which work ok if modified
    (<URL:http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/chrisg?anchor=reflecting_with_cable_ties>).
    6) Full waterproofs, trousers and top, hardly ever wear them but it's
    good to know I have them.
    7) Waterproof shoe covers, help keep your feet warm even when no rain.
    8) Good gloves. One pair for sub zero one pair for 0 - ~12 and then
    fingerless gloves beyond that. Choose the right ones in the morning.
    9) Shorts and long over trousers when cold.
    10) Arm and leg warmers when not too cold.
    11) Smug satisfied smile when you arrive home on a cold wet evening.
     
  11. Mark  Felber

    Mark Felber Guest

    --
    mark
    "John Griffiths" wrote ...
    > Hi folks,
    > Sorry to throw a downer on the lovely cycling weather we've been having
    > recently but....
    > I've recently starting commting to work by bike and I've enjoyed the
    > experience so much (numpty white van drivers aside) I want to carry on.
    > However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting. Anyone
    > have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more safe and
    > comfortable?
    > Cheers
    > John


    If you're expecting ice and/or snow then Nokian studded tires/tyres are
    excellent.

    Blocking the wind from your body and keeping the extremities warm are
    crucial. Pearl Izumi makes a thin Lycra skull cap and a Lycra balaclava,
    both of which fit under a helmet if you wear one. Helmets are also a good
    place to attach blinkie lights and reflector tape, and they just might save
    you a little pain in a low speed crash. If the Bell Metro is available in
    your area it has a clip to attach a blinkie light at the back, and can be
    fitted with ear muffs and plugs for the vent holes (sold by Bell, of course)
    to warm things up. Neoprene shoe covers will help keep the toes warm. Buy
    them a little loose on your shoes to trap a little air around your feet, and
    so the zippers won't wear out as fast. Pearl Izumi Lobster mitts
    (two-fingered gloves) are also quite warm.

    Cateye makes an excellent line of LED (light emitting diode) headlights and
    taillights. Get several taillights, mount them in a few different spots on
    the bike. Lights can be clipped to clothing and bags, but it's hard to keep
    them aimed properly. LED headlights are generally good for marking your
    position to motorists or cycling on well-lit streets, although the
    technology is improving. If you can find AA (LR6?) lithium batteries they
    last much longer than alkaline batteries, especially in cold weather. There
    are rechargeable AA and AAA batteries, but I find recharging batteries to be
    a pain, and I ride slowly enough that the battery needs recharging before I
    get home.

    Schmidt (Wilfried Schmidt Maschinenbau Gmbh) and Shimano both offer hub
    dynamos. The Schmidt is a beautifully made, well designed piece of
    equipment, and priced accordingly. Shimano now offers two hub dynamos, the
    cheaper one is said to be quite adequate for commuting, the more expensive
    one is said to be nearly as good as the Schmidt for 1/2 the price (where I
    live, anyway). I just ordered the better of the two Shimano hubs along with
    a Lumotec headlight, I look forward to trying it.

    Reflectors, reflectorized clothing, and reflector tape (from auto supply
    stores) are all excellent ways to augment your bicycle lights, but they are
    *not* a substitute for lights.

    My personal coldest commute ever was -20 deg F (-29deg C), I survived with
    no ill effects but I'm in no hurry to set a new record in that field of
    endeavor.
    HTH,
    --
    mark
     
  12. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Mark
    Thompson ('[email protected]') wrote:

    >> However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting.
    >> Anyone have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more
    >> safe and comfortable?

    >
    > Mine's a short urban commute. For that I'd recommend:
    >
    > Bright front light combined with cheapo flashing front light (one
    > alerts 'em to 'bike', the steady one helps 'em get a fix on your
    > position). Same on rear.
    >
    > Mudguards.
    >
    > Full fingered *windproof* gloves. Not too thick.


    Matter of taste. My hands overheat quickly, particularly if I'm wearing
    warm stuff everywhere else. I prefer trackmitts in all but the coldest
    weather (and even then, if I'm going any distance).

    > Windproof top. Waterproof makes me sweat lots, so windproof + water
    > resistant is normally best.


    Absolutely. A light windproof gilet is a wonderful thing. A windproof
    jersey is good, too, of course.

    > Waterproof top for when the rain is getting silly (I'm in Manchester,
    > it's only meant to drizzle).


    Remarkably infrequently needed. But when it is needed, it /is/ needed.

    > Basball cap. Stops rain getting into the eyes (IMHO this is essential
    > to make cycling in the rain fun).


    You could always try (gasp) a cycling cap...

    > Ickle scarf type thing to stop the wind going down the front of my
    > neck.


    It is impossible to sufficiently praise buffs.

    I'd also /strongly/ recommend the sort of lycra longs which have fleece
    on the inside - often sold as 'roubaix'. Very comfortable and cozy.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    [ This .sig subject to change without notice ]
     
  13. > You could always try (gasp) a cycling cap...

    Heh, not when a baseball cap costs me £3 a throw (like sunglasses and
    remote controls somehow they get lost very easily.

    >> Ickle scarf type thing to stop the wind going down the front of my
    >> neck.

    >
    > It is impossible to sufficiently praise buffs.


    That's the one :)
     
  14. >> Full fingered *windproof* gloves. Not too thick.
    >
    > Matter of taste. My hands overheat quickly, particularly if I'm wearing
    > warm stuff everywhere else. I prefer trackmitts in all but the coldest
    > weather (and even then, if I'm going any distance).


    It's just my fingers that get cold, so I spent some time finding gloves
    that were windproof but not too warm. Ideally I'd have handless gloves or
    ickle lycra digit warmers, but finger puppets are the only suitable thing
    on the market :-/
     
  15. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    John Griffiths wrote:
    > I've recently starting commting to work by bike and I've enjoyed the
    > experience so much (numpty white van drivers aside) I want to carry on.
    > However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting. Anyone
    > have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more safe and
    > comfortable?


    This is what I wear on the very coldest days. It would be too much for
    most days:
    <URL:http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/colyer_pictures/speedy5/cycling/dressforwinter.html>

    The only thing I'd change (if it wasn't so expensive) is the lack of
    removable sleeves on the Goretex. If you buy a waterproof then
    removable sleeves, or at the very least pit zips, are a must.

    Roubaix tights, a Parrot base layer [1], Ronhill bikesters,
    water-repellent neoprene overshoes and a windproof gilet (Parrot do a
    good one) are all well worth having IMHO.

    In autumn and spring I like Sealskinz gloves, in winter I like Pearl
    Izumi Lobster Mitts. Some people don't like wearing warm gloves for
    cycling, YMMV.

    If you wear full finger waterproof gloves then I recommend also wearing
    silk inner gloves [2]. The extra warmth is good, but better still is
    the fact that the inner gloves can easily be washed every week, so you
    can get away with only washing the waterproof gloves once a year.

    [1] <URL:http://www.parrot-online.com/>
    [2] <URL:http://www.patra.com/>

    --
    Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
    <URL:http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/>
    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine
     
  16. I live in West London and do about a 15 mile round trip on main roads which
    are rarely bothered by snow.
    John

    "David Martin" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    >
    > John Griffiths wrote:
    >> Hi folks,
    >> Sorry to throw a downer on the lovely cycling weather we've been having
    >> recently but....
    >> I've recently starting commting to work by bike and I've enjoyed the
    >> experience so much (numpty white van drivers aside) I want to carry on.
    >> However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting. Anyone
    >> have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more safe and
    >> comfortable?

    >
    > Well there is winter and there is Winter. Where are you based? Do you
    > normally get snow/ice or just cold mucky rain?
    >
    > What is your commute like? Road/off-road/long/short etc.
    >
    > ..d
    >
     
  17. Ian

    Ian Guest

    Simon Brooke wrote:
    >>Mudguards.


    Essential - proper ones too, not crud catchers (great on mountain bikes,
    rubbish for commuting).

    >
    >>Waterproof top for when the rain is getting silly (I'm in Manchester,
    >>it's only meant to drizzle).

    >
    >
    > Remarkably infrequently needed. But when it is needed, it /is/ needed.


    But don't forget, when you set out in the morning in the windproof top
    it is sure to be p*ssing it down when you come home, so I just use a
    breathable waterproof top all the time, if I get too hot I open the
    front and pit zips a bit.

    Unless it is *really* cold (i.e. sub zero and windy) then the effort of
    cycling gets me warm and keeps me warm for the 6 miles I ride to work.
    But I am lucky in that there are only a couple of stops at traffic
    lights on my route so I don't get a chance to cool down.

    Ian
     
  18. "Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > David Martin wrote:
    >
    >> Well there is winter and there is Winter. Where are you based? Do you
    >> normally get snow/ice or just cold mucky rain?
    >>
    >> What is your commute like? Road/off-road/long/short etc.

    >
    > And can you reasonably expect to be in the dark in one or both directions,
    > and if so for how long?


    I'm in work by about 8 and leave about 4/5, so in the winter pretty much the
    whole journey will be in darkness.
    John
     
  19. I submit that on or about Wed, 20 Jul 2005 07:42:51 +0000 (UTC), the
    person known to the court as "John Griffiths"
    <[email protected]> made a statement
    (<[email protected]> in Your Honour's
    bundle) to the following effect:

    >I've recently starting commting to work by bike and I've enjoyed the
    >experience so much (numpty white van drivers aside) I want to carry on.
    >However, the thought of doing it in the winter is a bit daunting. Anyone
    >have any advice for essential kit that will make it a bit more safe and
    >comfortable?


    Obviously Sir will be requiring one of these...
    http://www.bikefix.co.uk/sm.html

    In addition to Wot They Said, I would say that for a year-round London
    commute a hub dynamo lighting system is going to be a strong
    contender, backed up by LEDs, along with Schwalbe Marathon tyres,
    mudguards, a Buff, lobster claw gloves and a good quality breathable
    jacket (I have an Altura one which has lasted well). A Russian army
    surplus hat is reportedly an excellent combination ear warmer and
    keep-rain-out-of-eyes device.

    Or get a Brompton and wimp out :)


    Guy
    --
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

    "To every complex problem there is a solution which is
    simple, neat and wrong" - HL Mencken
     
  20. wafflycat

    wafflycat Guest

    "John Griffiths" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    >
    > I'm in work by about 8 and leave about 4/5, so in the winter pretty much
    > the whole journey will be in darkness.
    > John
    >


    If you are on unlit roads, lots of good lighting is essential, both to see
    where you are going and to be seen by. I have two of the big 5LED Cateye
    front lights (on handle bars via Minoura space bar) which give a good beam
    so I can see where I'm going, with a S-Sun 3 LED mounted on inner fork to
    light the edge of road clearly, a small flashing LED as emergency 'be seen'
    only and a helmet-mounted LED torch too.... On the back I have three rear
    red LEDs & a red LED on the rear of my helmet.. Then I wear acres of
    reflectives and the bike has reflectives on it too. I use the LEDs for the
    runtime and brightness. My son, who has a winter commute along dark country
    lanes has similar set up and from watching him I can tell this is a very
    visible set-up from the point of view of a driver. There's been the odd
    occasion he's been late, so I've set out in car to check he's okay and I've
    found I can see him well in advance of reaching him :) I recommend a
    helmet-mounted front light as that really seems to have a "What the f**k is
    that?" effect on motorists who seem to give me an extra-wide berth and dip
    their headlights sooner and more often than without helmet-mounted light.

    Cheers, helen s
     
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