Author Topic: Biking in the Maritimes  (Read 2822 times)

CentimentalFreedom

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Biking in the Maritimes
« on: March 27, 2014, 05:30:49 AM »
Hi Everyone!

I am in the process of starting to bike everywhere I go. I am starting in the Summer to condition my body for the commute. I do have a couple of concerns about winter biking. My husband had brought up a few things like biking around large vehicles that can barely control themselves to begin with, sheets of ice, pot holes, etc.

What are your experiences and how can I best prepare for Winter biking conditions?

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Biking in the Maritimes
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 07:46:36 AM »
Studded tires are necessary for ice. You can make your own, but Schwalbe makes the best pre-done ones.

Further reading: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp

I have standard 700x35 tires and they have plenty of grip on just snow/slush.

Having breathable rain gear (GoreTex or the many cheaper and quite nice knockoffs like Marmot PreCip or Columbia OmniTech) goes a long way towards reducing wind penetration, keeping you warmer with fewer layers. Ditto for gloves. Boots can be insulated, but some around here use their favorite biking shoes with a plastic bag wrapped around their feet inside the shoe.

A balaclava is nice. A full face mask is nice if you're biking longer than 5K in temperatures below -15C or thereabouts. Personally, I'd wait and see where your individual comfort threshold is before buying.

As far as conditioning goes, the best advice I have is to bike every day, even if the rides are shorter. You may need a rest day here or there at first, but I find missing a day to be counterproductive. I might change my opinion if I've just done a century, but in general I really like doing a minimum of 15K a day.

Edit: And don't forget lights, since it's going to be dark most of the time you're out.

I wrote a blog post about this as well, and here in WI we had some pretty bad weather. I biked in a few multi-inch storms, a couple near white-out blizzards, and a few times at temperatures in the -25 to -40C range.

thegoblinchief.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/winter-biking-after-one-season/

Others around here are even more experienced than I am.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 07:50:33 AM by Thegoblinchief »

CentimentalFreedom

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Re: Biking in the Maritimes
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 08:44:20 AM »
Studded tires are necessary for ice. You can make your own, but Schwalbe makes the best pre-done ones.

Further reading: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp

I have standard 700x35 tires and they have plenty of grip on just snow/slush.

Having breathable rain gear (GoreTex or the many cheaper and quite nice knockoffs like Marmot PreCip or Columbia OmniTech) goes a long way towards reducing wind penetration, keeping you warmer with fewer layers. Ditto for gloves. Boots can be insulated, but some around here use their favorite biking shoes with a plastic bag wrapped around their feet inside the shoe.

A balaclava is nice. A full face mask is nice if you're biking longer than 5K in temperatures below -15C or thereabouts. Personally, I'd wait and see where your individual comfort threshold is before buying.

As far as conditioning goes, the best advice I have is to bike every day, even if the rides are shorter. You may need a rest day here or there at first, but I find missing a day to be counterproductive. I might change my opinion if I've just done a century, but in general I really like doing a minimum of 15K a day.

Edit: And don't forget lights, since it's going to be dark most of the time you're out.

I wrote a blog post about this as well, and here in WI we had some pretty bad weather. I biked in a few multi-inch storms, a couple near white-out blizzards, and a few times at temperatures in the -25 to -40C range.

thegoblinchief.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/winter-biking-after-one-season/

Others around here are even more experienced than I am.

Thanks!! I'm going to bike it to prove to my husband it's possible!!!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Biking in the Maritimes
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 08:50:53 AM »
Starting this time of year is great. I started in October, so I was still in the "getting fit" stage when weather turned cold and crappy. Being out in it every day also helps your body adapt to both temperature extremes (hot and cold).

I don't think I could have coped with keeping my house so much colder this winter if I wasn't outside in the cold all the time. Though seeing the heating bill be half of what it was despite a colder winter certainly helps :P

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking in the Maritimes
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 08:54:34 AM »
I set my seat low enough that I can easily put a foot down for winter cycling.  This is important, because if things go wrong your bike will slide out from under you.

It's a good idea to get a feel for how your bike handles in the winter conditions you're in.  You have to bike differently when it's slippy.  Your front brake can cause your bike to slide out, you have to hold a line without turning, your shifters and brakes may ice up, so it's good to keep cycling between gears and lightly using the brakes regularly.  Here in TO we typically get the roads cleared after 6-7 cm of snow, and they salt like crazy so ice is rarely a concern.  I use 32mm bike tires, the front one has a little more grip than the back one and it has done pretty well for two winters now.  Studded tires are far too slow for the distances I need to go.

Lights on the bike and as much bright/reflective clothing as you can put on is pretty essential for winter riding.  You need a front headlight that's bright enough to light the road infront of you so you can spot potholes if you're biking in areas without good street lighting.  You do have to be on the lookout for potholes, but if one is unavoidable learn to lighten up your grip and float your ass out of the seat you can reduce the impact to both you and your bike.

As far as clothing goes, I think this is very personal.  My wife needs to be bundled up much more than I do for a given temperature.  The advice I can give you is, keep your hands, head, and feet warm.  Your core needs much less than you would expect because you generate so much warmth while pedaling.

Most of my winter commute is in the -10 to -15 C range . . . I typically wear:

Helmet (tape over the air holes with some scotch tape and this becomes much warmer)
Touque
Facemask

Medium weight ski gloves

1-2 pairs of wool socks
Loose insulated hiking boots

Wind breaker with arm-pit zippers
Light weight long sleeved wool sweater
Sweat wicking t-shirt or long sleeved shirt

Track pants with long underwear

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Biking in the Maritimes
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 08:58:48 AM »
A lighter frame can help recovering from a fishtail. My aluminum hybrid is much easier to keep steady than my old steel (probably HiTens, cause it weighs a good 45 lbs) MTB.

Frame geometries may play a role as well, but I've only owned the two bikes.

Keeping things oiled, especially shifter cables can avoid trouble, but you'll learn pretty quickly what tends to ice up on your bike.

CentimentalFreedom

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Re: Biking in the Maritimes
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 02:51:37 PM »
A lighter frame can help recovering from a fishtail. My aluminum hybrid is much easier to keep steady than my old steel (probably HiTens, cause it weighs a good 45 lbs) MTB.

Frame geometries may play a role as well, but I've only owned the two bikes.

Keeping things oiled, especially shifter cables can avoid trouble, but you'll learn pretty quickly what tends to ice up on your bike.

Oh goodness!! Look's like I'll be wearing lots of padding this winter to break my falls. We're "pot-hole city" here. There's plenty of ice here because of the cold. This is going to be exciting!!

crumbcatcher

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Re: Biking in the Maritimes
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 04:33:21 PM »
What an awesome day to think about winter biking - didn't you guys just have a massive nor'easter?  :-)

CentimentalFreedom

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Re: Biking in the Maritimes
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2014, 07:24:36 AM »
What an awesome day to think about winter biking - didn't you guys just have a massive nor'easter?  :-)


YUP!! It was AWSOME!! I actually WANT to try biking in it... my husband thinks I'm insane!