Author Topic: Biking in bad weather/winter  (Read 1673 times)

martyconlonontherun

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Biking in bad weather/winter
« on: August 17, 2017, 11:11:12 AM »
Just started biking to work, but its been 75 and sunny every day in Milwaukee.. Pretty unheard of. Im waiting on winter and wondering how many of you bike to work in a northern climate during the winter and if you have any suggestions.

I travel half the time and have free parking, so I dont think i can justify a nice bike with snow tires. Will my hybrid make it through?

nereo

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Re: Biking in bad weather/winter
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2017, 11:35:31 AM »
Check out this helpful thread:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/winter-biking-thread/

...lots of great advice and tips.  It *is* possible to bike through the winter, even in very cold, snowy climates.
Regarding snow tires - they aren't terribly expensive. You can get a second set of wheels (or even a second bike) should you want studded snows.
full disclaimer: I bike until the snow banks start building up in December, then hang up my bike until they melt back in late March.  Others around here are more hardcore.

Optimiser

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frugaliknowit

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Re: Biking in bad weather/winter
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2017, 10:25:30 AM »
Commute to work in Chicago, 8 miles each way.

It's not that complicated.  You get very warm while pedalling; it's like a fireplace in your belly:).  You can try various light layers as your going along (winter sets in kind of slowly...).

I cannot emphasize enough:  Don't skimp on lighting.  I have a powerful tail light, a powerful helmet light, and a super powerful handlebar mounted high intensity light.  All USB chargable.  If you're riding everyday in the winter, get good stuff.  It's freagin' dark in December!!

Personally, I wait a couple of days after it snows to ride (gives the plowing/salt/melting process some time) and don't own snow tires.  I broke my rule one day last March and spun out on some black ice (luckily just bruises...).

A balaklava (spelling), some lighter weight gloves (35-55 degrees) and some super warm gloves (<35 degrees) will be needed.

Pearl Izumi stuff, while expensive, really holds up:)

nereo

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Re: Biking in bad weather/winter
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2017, 10:35:44 AM »
+1 to having good lights. Reflectors don't cut it, and do nothing for cars coming at an angle from you (e.g. cars making a right hand turn into your immediate path).
LED lights are so cheap there's no reason not to have at least front and tail lights.  Your car has lights all around it, so should your bike.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking in bad weather/winter
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2017, 11:07:23 AM »
Very important in the winter to have bright lights . . . it gets dark early and it's often cloudy.  I also really, really, really would recommend fenders.  Road conditions get miserably wet all the time after October and keeping yourself dry helps keep you warm.  More importantly though, fenders keep crap off your drivetrain which extends the life of your components.

The type of tire you need depends on the road conditions where you cycle.  In Toronto here the salters are out very soon after most snowfalls, and it's rare that snow accumulates on the road . . .  just lots of slush.  That means that I can get away with using regular tires through the winter.  Studded winter tires are really for ice.  The only weather condition that I don't go outside in is freezing rain.

Cycling in the winter is all about keeping a comfortable body temperature.  People tend to overdress, which then means that they're sweating like a pedophile at recess time after a few blocks . . . which then soaks through and makes you miserably cold before too long.  A good rule of thumb is that you want to be a tad chilly when you start out so that when you warm up you won't overheat as badly.  (It's a good idea to bring some extra emergency clothing if you're just figuring this stuff out though . . . nothing worse than being 40 km from home and freezing cold.)