Author Topic: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!  (Read 10206 times)

Weedy Acres

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Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« on: June 17, 2014, 08:59:46 AM »
I'm now longing for those bitter cold days when I bundled up, pedaled fast, and arrived at work invigorated. 

Today, it was only in the 70s in the morning when I left, but the midwest humidity is horrendous.  Despite my dialing my pace WAY back, and making a stop halfway in my 2-mile journey to pick up something at City Hall, I arrived all slimy.  Yeah, I know I don't stink, and after an hour or so I was cooled/dried off.  But this kind of takes the fun out of biking.

Any tips for SUMMER biking?

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2014, 09:32:05 AM »
  • Slow down: You already mentioned it, but it makes a huge difference. I know it can be quite a shock when you are used to blasting up a hill... but you can't do that in the summer and not become a stinky sasquatch
  • Wear workout clothes: and change at work.  There comes a time every summer when long pants on a bike is insufferable.
  • Shift to an earlier commute: The temperature rises fast in the morning and leaving an hour early can turn a terrible ride pleasant.  And though your afternoon commute is now shifted into a warmer time, you are heading home and hopefully towards a shower.
  • Get a helmet with good ventilation: Some of the stylish BMX helmets don't let the air get to your scalp.  You want one that looks like swiss cheese.
  • Tune up your bike: Make sure your tires are properly inflated and that you are running slicks.  Lube the chain and hubs.  Reduce that rolling resistance!
  • Meditate on how much money you are saving: It might not cool you off but it will put a smile on your face!

crazy jane

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2014, 09:32:36 AM »
I agree with you and ride more in the winter. My tip is to leave earlier. It's cooler, less traffic and it's light out around 5. I find I am also very productive when I get to work early.

TrMama

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2014, 09:37:52 AM »
Amen.

My solution is to live in a cooler climate. However, in the summer I wear as little as possible (tank top and shorts) and have a cold shower when I arrive.

Wolf_Stache

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2014, 11:05:59 AM »
All good suggestions so far. here is what I did while biking to work in Utah's 100+ degree weather:

-Wear workout/cycling clothes and change at work
-If possible, wait to shower until you get to work, although if this is not possible a quick wipe down with a dry towel before you put on your work clothes makes a huge difference
-leave early (before 7 am if possible) or as soon as it gets light
-bring LOTS of water, you get dehydrated FAST when it is that hot out
-try to find routes with lots of shade trees, slower traffic

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2014, 09:30:14 PM »
Heh, I was just thinking the same thing yesterday, Big Sis!  Fortunately, we're slightly cooler up here, and my ride home has more downhills, but still, it's not pleasant to arrive (at either end!) all hot and sweaty.

You work with a bunch of men, so I assume they won't care much if you show up sweaty :P  I guess I'd just plan on showering (or just rinsing off) at each end.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2014, 12:50:40 AM »
Today, it was only in the 70s in the morning when I left, but the midwest humidity is horrendous.  Despite my dialing my pace WAY back, and making a stop halfway in my 2-mile journey to pick up something at City Hall, I arrived all slimy.  Yeah, I know I don't stink, and after an hour or so I was cooled/dried off.  But this kind of takes the fun out of biking.

Any tips for SUMMER biking?
Ha! Temps in the 70s *IS* my winter.

CarDude

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2014, 12:52:14 AM »
Yeah, I remember when I used to bike in the summer. Don't really miss those days.

GuitarStv

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2014, 05:59:35 AM »
Shower at work is my only real option.  If it's hot and humid I sweat like a pig, and with a 10 mile commute it's way too much effort to try do go in regular clothes and not sweat.  :P

fallstoclimb

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2014, 08:13:29 AM »
I have a 6 mile commute in a humid region and have no issue cleaning up at work without a shower. 

Tips:
1. Sit at your desk in the a/c long enough to stop sweating
2. Go to a bathroom stall, strip down, use a baby wipe on the areas that sweat
3. Rub corn starch on the damp areas -- seriously this dries up sweat like no one's business
4. Put on fresh clothes
5. Brush out sweaty hair  (this is where long hair is useful).  Put on makeup if that's your thing.
6. Good as new! 

bogart

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2014, 09:04:24 AM »
I don't bike much, but I run outside for exercise and as I'm not a morning person, run (haha) into some of the same problems (I did yesterday's run, er, jog, in about 95 degree heat).  Besides the "slow down," and "cold shower afterward" advice that others have offered (well, and find shady routes with few uphills -- but that may not work for a commute depending on how many options exist for routing), I find it helpful to tie a (rolled up) bandana around my neck that I soaked, wrapped around ice cubes, and froze beforehand.  I think you can also buy devices that are designed for this, but I find the bandana easy and have them already available.  For running, I freeze plastic bottles (I use cheap versions similar to Vapur, but you can use pretty much anything -- just don't put the lid on and don't fill the water bottle all the way up before putting it, upright obviously, in the freezer) and carry them in my hands, but that won't work for biking.  But freezing a water bottle or 2 for your holder and sipping from it (depending on the length of your ride and the heat, you may want to freeze one so it's full, or just half full and pour water on top before you set out).  In my experience putting ice on the prominent veins in my wrists also seems to help me feel cooler, so frozen wristbands might be a good thing to try, though I've never done it.

I doubt any of this will help much with the sweat issue (well, except the cold shower if that's an option), but it may help with how you feel during/after the ride.

bacchi

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2014, 09:51:42 AM »
I freeze a water bottle overnight. At lights, I press it against my wrists. I also put a gel ice pack against my back.

It's a not-fun ride.

MayDay

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2014, 10:43:18 AM »
This is very timely.  Despite a record-cold May, June is having highs in the 90's.  Blech. 

Anyway, the kids have swim lessons in the morning (not bike-able to the pool, daly).  Which means the only chance we have to ride is the sweltering hot afternoons.  We are biking it today, to the library.  The path is partially shaded.  It is going to be awful, but there isn't really any other choice.  Plus I will be carrying a full backpack of books (using a trail-a-bike so can't use my rear rack). 

MooseOutFront

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2014, 11:08:47 AM »
I think the advice to sit at your desk until you stop sweating is very good.  I keep a towel at work and completely wet my hair in the sink, dry, and fix it.  Makes me feel like I had a shower.  (male, normal length hair).

Ashyukun

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2014, 11:16:36 AM »
Definitely going to be keeping tabs on this thread for ideas. I used to get up early enough to ride in and shower at the gym a few minute's coasting downhill away from my office, but unfortunately my schedule has changed and where I'm coming from shifted such that this isn't as reasonable so I'm showering at home before riding in. Up until this week it's not been a problem, but this week has been REALLY bad. I'm liking the chilled pack against the back idea- most of my jerseys have pockets there that would work very well for that, and it's one of the places that sweats the worst. May have to try not changing until after I've cooled down, but I'm not wholly sure how well that will go over being in biking spandex in my engineering office. :P

madgeylou

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2014, 11:28:59 AM »
hmm, see, i kinda love riding in the heat! the breeze feels great, and i find that the more i do it, the more acclimated i become. tons of water is key, along with stopping for a rest in the shade as needed.

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2014, 01:11:23 PM »
refrigerate or freeze a few of those little packets of Wet-Wipes to use to "wash" with once you get to work. It cools you down, gets the sweat-slime off, makes you smell nice, and are small and easy to carry. That and maybe a tiny portable fan to use after wiping down with the wet wipes.

FrugalZony

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2014, 03:14:44 PM »
Ha, I was just thinking how pleasant my ride was this morning in the high eighties, despite all my friends thinking I am nuts to ride during the summer.
When I was riding back during lunchbreak it was 97 and I loved it. I love the dry heat in AZ, I barely break out a sweat.

I did take the car back to work after lunch, because I have to run errants on the way home, but I remember thinking was a bummer it was not to be able to take the bike.

That said, I have a very high heat tolerance and have the luxury to just jump in the pool during lunch break, after riding home.

I do keep baby wipes and a deodorant at work, just in case. But most times, I just dampen a paper towel and wipe my neck down a bit, to get a cooling effect.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2014, 05:01:56 PM »
The only thing I really dislike is sweat dripping into my eyes and/or onto my glasses. I need to pick up a sweatband or something for the really hot days.

Water, water, water. I can burn through a quart or more an hour, which is actually nothing. When I did manual labor, I could go through a gallon an hour on the worst days. I won't even begin to describe the pesticide application days....

I put dress clothes right over my biking gear. As long as I remember to do laundry and I'm not using day old jerseys as an undershirt, I don't stink and dry off pretty damn quickly even with a sopping wet lower back from carrying a pack. I'm saving for panniers but with the pack it's still doable, just definitely less comfortable.

Honestly, keep moving unless you're feeling heat exhaustion. Stopping just makes me sweat more since the nice breeze is suddenly gone.

NinetyFour

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2014, 07:10:48 PM »
I would encourage you to refrain from using disposable products like baby wipes.  If you can, just have some washcloths at work.  If you have a fridge/freezer at work, you could even store a couple of wet washcloths there so they are nice and cold.

Then change out the washcloths with others from home every week or so.

Also, for your ride, take a bandana and put some ice in it.  Wrap it up tight and tie it (so it is comfortable) around your neck.  Feels great on a hot ride.

Good luck!

bogart

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2014, 08:14:54 PM »
I would encourage you to refrain from using disposable products like baby wipes. 

I'm also a fan of avoiding disposables, but the appeal of baby wipes may relate to their content -- in humid climates, adding alcohol to a cooling mixture (rubbing alcohol + cold water) can help, b/c the water doesn't evaporate effectively and can sit on the skin and, having warmed up (which it will do quickly, between the heat of the skin and the heat in the air), provides an insulating layer that impedes cooling. 

So those looking for a replacement for disposables wipes as a cooling tool may find washcloths or bandanas dipped in a rubbing alcohol/water mix work better than just cold (water) washcloths. 

Humidity in my area right now:  87%.

bikebum

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2014, 08:47:11 PM »
I notice some comments about it not being too bad to ride in the heat, but humidity makes a HUGE difference. Where I live, it gets above 110 F but humidity is around 20%, so the apparent wind chill makes biking much more comfortable than you'd think. Hottest I've ever been while riding in the summer is when I stopped to repair a flat tire.

For those in humid areas, bag of frozen peas in the shorts? That's the best I got.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2014, 09:18:21 PM »
So far we've gotten close to 90, with quite high humidity. The more time you spend out of your AC box, the easier it gets. Water, water, water. If you're really pushing it, pedialyte or salt pills, or fruit.

PindyStache

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2014, 09:38:11 PM »
Heat + humidity are OK. I sweat buckets even when it's 60 degrees F and cloudy, wearing shorts + tshirt. I actually appreciate the opportunity to acclimatize. Then it feels refreshing to step into an 82 degree un-air-conditioned house. The shower at work is a godsend though.

But wtf is up with the BUGS. I hardly have to eat breakfast. Seriously, I never wear a facemask in the winter, but tonight I wanted just that for all the gnats flying in my eyes and mouth. Can I even call myself a vegetarian anymore??? Picking gnats out of your eye with sweaty hands as your face drips with more sweat is one way to put modern comforts into perspective.

Also... classic cars. I appreciate the engineering and wrench-turning ingenuity, but seriously what a resource-gobbling, stink-inducing, ear-drum-shattering hobby! Learn to quilt for fucks sake and make some blankets for baby kittens. Stay off the road with your particulate matter pollution exemptions, your hole-in-the-hood you call an exhaust system, and your shitty little windows that you aren't even trying to use to see other things on the road anyway. You only get to drive them a quarter of the year anyway.

Diamondpick

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2014, 07:17:24 AM »
Rule #5. HTFU

fallstoclimb

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2014, 07:33:56 AM »
I would encourage you to refrain from using disposable products like baby wipes.  If you can, just have some washcloths at work.  If you have a fridge/freezer at work, you could even store a couple of wet washcloths there so they are nice and cold.

Then change out the washcloths with others from home every week or so.



I think this is a silly thing to worry about when the alternative to not using baby wipes might be DRIVING to work.   It's certainly better for the environment and my checkbook for me to use a single baby wipe a day than start my car up and burn the gas driving to work.  Pick your battles.

Baby wipes are superior to washcloths for cleaning up due to the alcohol content, and are more effective at preventing bacterial-related saddle sores from not having a shower at work.

smalllife

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2014, 07:42:08 AM »
I would encourage you to refrain from using disposable products like baby wipes.  If you can, just have some washcloths at work.  If you have a fridge/freezer at work, you could even store a couple of wet washcloths there so they are nice and cold.

Then change out the washcloths with others from home every week or so.



I think this is a silly thing to worry about when the alternative to not using baby wipes might be DRIVING to work.   It's certainly better for the environment and my checkbook for me to use a single baby wipe a day than start my car up and burn the gas driving to work.  Pick your battles.

Baby wipes are superior to washcloths for cleaning up due to the alcohol content, and are more effective at preventing bacterial-related saddle sores from not having a shower at work.

Or you could make alcohol spray - if you try to limit what you put in your body, a homemade spray might be the best solution.   Search for homemade baby wipes, the natural mama blog thing has a bunch of options.

kendallf

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2014, 09:03:00 AM »
I ride through the Florida summer -- but I have a shower at work.  I am often still sweating after riding the last mile or so slowly as a cool down, showering, and getting dressed again.  If you can sit down for a few minutes in the cool, it helps.

hybrid

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2014, 10:28:53 AM »
I biked to work M-W this week and the temperatures were in the mid-90s the past few days. It has just plain worn me out, especially the hills, and I drove the car today and will get back on the bike tomorrow. But I'll take the heat (and the abundant light) over the cold and dark this past winter 10 times out of 10.

Maybe by mid-July I'll be singing a different tune....  ;-D

I have never enjoyed a car ride to work so much as I did this morning with the AC in my face and my aching body just resting. It felt luxurious, because it was. Tomorrow it would feel a lot less luxurious. This is what I'm trying to make my car commute like, a little bit of necessary luxury to break up the week.

PindyStache

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2014, 10:50:48 AM »
Way to go Hybrid! Keep at it and soon enough your legs will feel like they're missing something on the days you DON'T bike, almost like they ache to get back on the pedals...

enigmaT120

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2014, 11:25:04 AM »
Rule #5. HTFU

I need to etch that into my stem cap.


Wolf_Stache

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2014, 11:25:45 AM »
Way to go Hybrid! Keep at it and soon enough your legs will feel like they're missing something on the days you DON'T bike, almost like they ache to get back on the pedals...

That actually happens to me! If I don't ride my bike for a few days in a row my knees actually start aching! The only way I've found to stop it is to hop on the bike again!

lackofstache

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2014, 11:48:04 AM »
This week has been warm, I always take 45 minutes-1 hr before changing clothes if I'm sweating & try to wipe down a bit & wash off my face (no shower at work). I don't drink much water, maybe a 12 oz glass per morning after the ride, but depending on what you eat, your body may need more. My boss has no problems with how I look/smell & allows me to keep my bike in my office, so all customers can easily see why I'm wearing shorts, if I am.

lisahi

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2014, 12:47:22 PM »
I'm in South Texas and it's 85 degrees and humid when I leave in the morning and 106 degrees and humid when I leave work in the afternoon. But even in 70 degrees, the humidity causes me to be a sweaty mess when I show up to work. Luckily, there's a shower on site. A crappy shower with no water pressure, but it does the trick. I always wear bike gear/workout clothes to ride. It's much cooler. I also have an insulated water bottle that will keep ice water cold for hours.

In the evening, I'm not so concerned about how I look or smell because I'm only going home. But I do make sure to wear breathable clothing. Bought some dri-fit long-sleeve shirts from Academy that work great and keep me cooler than I would have thought. I only felt sick (due to the heat) one time when I returned home and that was because I ran out of water halfway through my ride. So water is key.

NinetyFour

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2014, 05:10:46 AM »
I would encourage you to refrain from using disposable products like baby wipes.  If you can, just have some washcloths at work.  If you have a fridge/freezer at work, you could even store a couple of wet washcloths there so they are nice and cold.

Then change out the washcloths with others from home every week or so.



I think this is a silly thing to worry about when the alternative to not using baby wipes might be DRIVING to work.   It's certainly better for the environment and my checkbook for me to use a single baby wipe a day than start my car up and burn the gas driving to work.  Pick your battles.

Baby wipes are superior to washcloths for cleaning up due to the alcohol content, and are more effective at preventing bacterial-related saddle sores from not having a shower at work.

Surely there is some way to clean up without using disposable products?  You are saying it is a choice between using baby wipes and driving a vehicle?  Why?

I have the luxury of being able to shower when I get to my workplace, but if I weren't able to use the shower, I would use washcloths/towels to do some cleaning up.

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2014, 06:00:49 AM »
I bike the Greenway in Manhattan then cut across to my job in Flatiron.  I leave at (for some) the unGdly hour of 5:30am.  Fortunately at that time, its usually very cool and you more often than not have the breezes coming across the Hudson from NJ.  Great commute so far, even in the summer.  The ride home?  Not as nice with all the cars to avoid, and the slow people on the path who need to get out of my way....on your left!

livrocentral

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #36 on: July 02, 2014, 10:46:32 AM »
One thing I would add is to set up a clothesline at work if you can, so your riding clothes have a chance to air out. It's much more pleasant on the ride home when you don't have to put on clammy clothes. (I used to run the clothesline under my desk.)

I biked to work for 2 years (now I work from home) and I initially signed up for the on-site gym so I'd have access to the shower and changing areas. But I only used the actual shower twice the entire two years! Most days I showered before heading in and put on fresh bike clothing, and tried to leave early enough so I didn't nervous-sweat on the way there. When I got to work I used a dry cloth to towel off before removing the biking attire and putting on a suit. I'd usually wait a few minutes to tie my tie until my body temperature went down a little.

The worst part was the elevator ride to the 16th floor (stair access from the ground was not permitted for security reasons)--that was when I sweat the most, because I'd just finished riding and hadn't had a chance to cool off yet.

hybrid

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2014, 12:00:55 PM »
Going to be near 100 today in Richmond, hotter on the pavement, and humid to boot. An ugly ride home today...

Still wouldn't trade it for winter biking! :-)

frugalnacho

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Re: Forget winter...biking in the summer sucks!
« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2014, 12:23:35 PM »
I'll take 90 degrees, humid, and sunny over the damn sub freezing icy winter weather any day.   I should move to florida, I would love it.