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General Discussion => Share Your Badassity => Topic started by: hunniebun on January 14, 2015, 01:11:02 PM

Title: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: hunniebun on January 14, 2015, 01:11:02 PM
Just wanted to give some praise and encouragement to those mustachians out there who ride their bikes all winter. Yesterday it was -35 C, with a crazy wind blowing and I saw not one - but two dedicated souls peddling through 6 inches of snow, uphill over a bridge.  I used to think these people were crazy and had a death wish. Now I know that they are uber bad-ass and likely have hundred's of thousands of dollars in the bank that they have saved by not wasting their money on cars and gas...not to mention are extremely buff! 

So I nod my head to you winter bikers. Well done. 
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Skipper on January 14, 2015, 02:00:03 PM
I totally agree.

How DO you not die on a bike in snow? My bike tires see snow and immediately decide I can deal with it my damn self, ya know, with the feet an' all.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: vhalros on January 14, 2015, 02:06:57 PM
Quote
How DO you not die on a bike in snow? My bike tires see snow and immediately decide I can deal with it my damn self, ya know, with the feet an' all.

Better tires maybe? Road slicks are like death in the winter, some tread is necessary. Also maybe studs depending on the conditions.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Wolf_Stache on January 14, 2015, 02:57:32 PM
Quote
How DO you not die on a bike in snow? My bike tires see snow and immediately decide I can deal with it my damn self, ya know, with the feet an' all.

Better tires maybe? Road slicks are like death in the winter, some tread is necessary. Also maybe studs depending on the conditions.

Depends on the area of the country. Seattle I can ride on my road slicks year round. When I was in Utah I got some fatter treaded tires for winter snow riding.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Thegoblinchief on January 14, 2015, 03:06:34 PM
There's threads upon threads of advice about winter biking in general. Since tires came up, here's a great knowledge dump:

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

TL;DR: for pure road riding for MOST sizes of common tires, the Nokian A10 and Schwalbe Winter are your best bet for ice, hardpack, slush, etc.

For roads that haven't been cleared yet, paths with ruts, and light trails, the Schwalbe Marathon Winter is excellent.

For off road riding, read the article.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Beric01 on January 14, 2015, 03:38:46 PM
I actually wish it were colder here in California. It's right on the edge of needing to bundle up more. I've only worn jeans once so far while biking this winter. Biked to work today in a windbreaker+shorts, and probably could have skipped the windbreaker at 50F.

Coldest so far it's been is 35-40F. All I wore was a sweater under my windbreaker, gloves and a headband I wore around my ears. My co-workers are all asking how I can bike to work is this weather, and I'm like, how is this even cold? I kind of wish I could bike in weather below zero at least once.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Grid on January 14, 2015, 04:22:45 PM
I actually wish it were colder here in California. It's right on the edge of needing to bundle up more. I've only worn jeans once so far while biking this winter. Biked to work today in a windbreaker+shorts, and probably could have skipped the windbreaker at 50F.

Coldest so far it's been is 35-40F. All I wore was a sweater under my windbreaker, gloves and a headband I wore around my ears. My co-workers are all asking how I can bike to work is this weather, and I'm like, how is this even cold? I kind of wish I could bike in weather below zero at least once.

Well one winter biking outside here in Indiana has bolstered my desire to find someplace more mild year-round (even though this winter has been relatively mild compared to last winter).  I was not prepared for the one single-digit day we had last week.  My eyelids were burning from the wind, and I progressively lost feeling in my fingers (which were in 2 gloves each by the way).  My ride is about 3 miles, but still it's not an experience I'm looking forward to repeating any time soon, though I'll repeat it if necessary obviously.  Still, it was nice "just once" to see how it felt.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Beric01 on January 14, 2015, 04:44:09 PM
I actually wish it were colder here in California. It's right on the edge of needing to bundle up more. I've only worn jeans once so far while biking this winter. Biked to work today in a windbreaker+shorts, and probably could have skipped the windbreaker at 50F.

Coldest so far it's been is 35-40F. All I wore was a sweater under my windbreaker, gloves and a headband I wore around my ears. My co-workers are all asking how I can bike to work is this weather, and I'm like, how is this even cold? I kind of wish I could bike in weather below zero at least once.

Well one winter biking outside here in Indiana has bolstered my desire to find someplace more mild year-round (even though this winter has been relatively mild compared to last winter).  I was not prepared for the one single-digit day we had last week.  My eyelids were burning from the wind, and I progressively lost feeling in my fingers (which were in 2 gloves each by the way).  My ride is about 3 miles, but still it's not an experience I'm looking forward to repeating any time soon, though I'll repeat it if necessary obviously.  Still, it was nice "just once" to see how it felt.

Yeah, I wear glasses so that probably helps protect my eyes from the wind some. Perhaps some sort of full mask/goggles might also be helpful as well. One thing that really annoys me is mist/fog while wearing glasses - it's actually harder to deal with than rain! You have to pull over to the side of the road every mile to wipe off your glasses. :P

On gloves, I completely agree! Riding into the wind your hands always seem to get colder than you would expect. I have a pair of ski-type gloves that provide both warmth and wind protection, but they can be a little overkill in warmer than 40F. I think in the single digits I would just wear my leather gloves inside the ski gloves. But the biggest problem is that once your hands get cold, they never seem to warm up until you get inside. Perhaps some hand warmers could be in order, as "defrosting" your hands can be fairly painful.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: BlueMR2 on January 14, 2015, 04:56:10 PM
How DO you not die on a bike in snow? My bike tires see snow and immediately decide I can deal with it my damn self, ya know, with the feet an' all.

Same deal as driving in snow.  Practice, don't make sudden moves, slow down, use appropriate tires.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Grid on January 15, 2015, 05:05:25 AM
I actually wish it were colder here in California. It's right on the edge of needing to bundle up more. I've only worn jeans once so far while biking this winter. Biked to work today in a windbreaker+shorts, and probably could have skipped the windbreaker at 50F.

Coldest so far it's been is 35-40F. All I wore was a sweater under my windbreaker, gloves and a headband I wore around my ears. My co-workers are all asking how I can bike to work is this weather, and I'm like, how is this even cold? I kind of wish I could bike in weather below zero at least once.

Well one winter biking outside here in Indiana has bolstered my desire to find someplace more mild year-round (even though this winter has been relatively mild compared to last winter).  I was not prepared for the one single-digit day we had last week.  My eyelids were burning from the wind, and I progressively lost feeling in my fingers (which were in 2 gloves each by the way).  My ride is about 3 miles, but still it's not an experience I'm looking forward to repeating any time soon, though I'll repeat it if necessary obviously.  Still, it was nice "just once" to see how it felt.

Yeah, I wear glasses so that probably helps protect my eyes from the wind some. Perhaps some sort of full mask/goggles might also be helpful as well. One thing that really annoys me is mist/fog while wearing glasses - it's actually harder to deal with than rain! You have to pull over to the side of the road every mile to wipe off your glasses. :P

On gloves, I completely agree! Riding into the wind your hands always seem to get colder than you would expect. I have a pair of ski-type gloves that provide both warmth and wind protection, but they can be a little overkill in warmer than 40F. I think in the single digits I would just wear my leather gloves inside the ski gloves. But the biggest problem is that once your hands get cold, they never seem to warm up until you get inside. Perhaps some hand warmers could be in order, as "defrosting" your hands can be fairly painful.

Full-on goggles like I've seen people wear for snowboarding seem like a good option in this case, and as far as gloves go, I would think there would be a better shield from the elements invented - as hand warmers only last so long.  The idea of an artificial protection from the cold rather than the right type of insulation for the hands puts me off.  I think the reason is that it would be a recurring expense versus a one-time buy lol.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: vhalros on January 15, 2015, 05:59:35 AM
I wear a pair of cheap plastic safety glasses in the winter, and to prevent them from fogging up I just put a drop of shampoo on them, spread it into a thin coat, and let it dry. It doesn't 100% eliminate, but does drastically reduce fogging. I have to reapply about once a week though. There are commercial anti-fog coatings that will probably last longer, but it would be a long while before you made up the cost difference.

Regarding heating packs/hand warmers, there are a variety of different reusable ones; the chemical ones (that you boil to 'recharge'; "HotSnapz" is one brand) and electric ones (that usually also serve as a USB battery). I'm not sure how they compare to the disposable ones though.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Ottawa on January 15, 2015, 06:07:04 AM
It might seem like badass, but I doubt the cyclists think so (I know I don't!).

The single most common question/comment I get is something like "Wow, must be cold eh!?".  It certainly might seem that way from the perspective of someone feeling quite cold walking or sitting in a -25C car seat.  It certainly might look that way when ice and frost are growing all over my balaclava and helmet! 

However, the thing about cycling is - you are generating some serious heat under that clothing.  I find the biggest problem is making sure you aren't over dressed! 

Thanks for the badass shout though :-)
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: GuitarStv on January 15, 2015, 06:36:38 AM
Honestly, I used to go cross country skiing for hours in -40C temperature when I was growing up in Northern Canada.  Cold temperatures on a bike don't really seem too different.  Use much of the same sort of clothing for cycling . . . you want stuff that's breathable, warm but not too warm, and doesn't restrict your movement.  You don't want any exposed skin.

I'm lucky that here in Toronto the street plows and salt trucks are out pretty quickly after a storm so it's rare that I'm biking through more than six inches of snow, and there isn't often ice to worry about.  As such, no special tires are required.  I use a relatively skinny 30 mm tire with some tread on it, it punches through slush and snow and grips fine/rolls well on clear pavement.  You do have to maintain your bike though, regularly hosing it off after long rides and keeping everything that moves heavily lubed up (that salt is a double edged sword).

Cold and snow is no biggie in the winter.  The badassity comes with the higher winds that we get in the winter.  I had a ride into a 60 kph headwind with gusts to 80 kph this year already . . . it is somewhat demoralizing to start cycling, get up to speed, then come to a complete stop due to a gust of wind.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: BlueMR2 on January 15, 2015, 10:08:08 AM
Honestly, I used to go cross country skiing for hours in -40C temperature when I was growing up in Northern Canada.  Cold temperatures on a bike don't really seem too different.  Use much of the same sort of clothing for cycling . . . you want stuff that's breathable, warm but not too warm, and doesn't restrict your movement.  You don't want any exposed skin.

Makes me think of my motorcyclist friends that put the motorcycle away at 50F because it's "too cold out", then jump on their snowmobiles when it's 15 degrees out with no problem...
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: YK-Phil on January 15, 2015, 10:35:02 AM
It was -34 C, -45 C with the windchill factor, this morning when I rode to my office like I do most days when i don't walk with the dog. In a city of 20,000, we have a surprising number of winter bikers, perhaps more than twenty this year, who will be biking in winter even when the temperature plummets to -47. Funny thing, if you dress properly (not overdress) you can't really get cold when biking in winter.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: savedough on January 15, 2015, 11:35:06 AM
I am decidely not badass.   I started biking this summer and have not biked this winter.   Perhaps being in my third trimester gives me a pass for winter biking?    I'm sure someone here does it, but pregnant, below freezing and no sidewalks right now mean I'm not biking until after the baby gets here.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Grid on January 15, 2015, 11:40:47 AM
^^^^
Literal YMMV
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: savedough on January 15, 2015, 01:37:44 PM
Yeah I should have added - and being really slow is not very efficient. :)
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Jomar on January 15, 2015, 02:29:37 PM
Thanks for the shout-out! I'm always pleased to see about 5 other cyclists a day in the winter here in Winnipeg- every year there seems to be more! It's funny I used to wear goggles, change into proper cycling attire, switch my tires for the winter. Not anymore. I just ride the same bike (homemade single-speed) with the same 700X28c tires I ride in the summer, wear my normal clothes, and throw on my winter jacket, a toque, big mitts, and neck warmer, and I'll wear long underwear below -18C or so, and pull my neck warmer over my nose. Goggles I stopped using as I found they prevented me from being able to protect my nose well, and I get frostbite easily on my nose from having had it several dozen times in the past (none this year though!). I'm always warm! Way better than getting in a cold car. The most important thing I think are LIGHTS! Visibility is important when the sun goes down at 4 or 5pm and rises after 8am (and even shorter days for the hearty souls up north!). Fenders are nice too, especially after they salt the street when the temps warm up a little. Happy riding!
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: hyla on January 15, 2015, 09:42:14 PM
How DO you not die on a bike in snow? My bike tires see snow and immediately decide I can deal with it my damn self, ya know, with the feet an' all.

Studded tires are amazing on ice and hardpack snow.  I finally bought a set this year, and while they were pricey, I'm probably biking about five times as often as I used to in winter, because I'm confident I won't skid out on ice, something that happened often on non-studded tires.  They unfortunately aren't so good in deep and soft snow, so on those days I walk or drive.  Disc or hub brakes help too, as they retain braking power in wet or icy conditions better than rim brakes.  Also, I had to learn that even being properly set up,  my bike would get all wobbly and unstable feeling when I hit a soft patch of snow, but that I wouldn't fall over - you just keep pedaling straight and keep your balance and eventually you'll get back onto the firmer snow or pavement.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: innerscorecard on January 16, 2015, 02:17:36 AM
I see that all the time in China, but it's because the people are too poor to do otherwise, not because they like it. They have heavy tricycle trailers burdened with goods for sale, transport, or simply trash. Then they go back home to live in bunk beds of several layers with 10 people in one room. And electricity and running water that work only intermittently, as well as cockroaches and rats everywhere.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Syonyk on January 16, 2015, 09:27:09 AM
Studded snow tires for bicycles are awesome. At least if you live somewhere with snow or ice. I rode all over Iowa in terrible weather with no problems. Out here in Seattle we don't get much snow so I just use my normal tires and work from home if it's too bad out.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: BCBiker on January 19, 2015, 02:31:08 PM
I totally agree.

How DO you not die on a bike in snow? My bike tires see snow and immediately decide I can deal with it my damn self, ya know, with the feet an' all.

I live in Denver and find that adding studs is not really worth the hassle.  I've actually never used studs but they seem to be more for show than anything, as I have followed fellow bikers with them and they seems to slide just as much as I do.

I do just fine with 23 mm wide slicks.  It does take practice and preparation.  We had a protracted freeze over the streets (about 2 weeks long) and there were some evenings, particularly warmer ones, when the top layer was was melting making it quite slick.  I just take it nice and slow when necessary.

As far as temperature, Denver is pretty warm most of the time compared to midwestern and northern states.  The coldest morning has been 14 below.  If you can keep your hands and feed warm, the rest of your body is generally fine.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Cinder on January 19, 2015, 03:10:28 PM
I've been using Bar Mits this season, they work nicely.  I only have to wear one medium layer of gloves and it keeps my hands plenty warm.  My only 'problem' is that my shifters are mounted on the frame, so I have to take my hands out, reach down and shift, and then put them back in, but most newer bikes have their levers up on the bars anyway so it shouldn't be a problem.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Syonyk on January 19, 2015, 04:20:58 PM
I live in Denver and find that adding studs is not really worth the hassle.  I've actually never used studs but they seem to be more for show than anything, as I have followed fellow bikers with them and they seems to slide just as much as I do.

Studs are great for ice.  They're the difference between a high speed wipeout on black ice and hearing your stud-on-pavement noise suddenly go silent as they bite into the layer of ice.

They don't make a big difference if any in loose snow - that's where a blocky tread pattern patterns more.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Runge on January 19, 2015, 05:53:15 PM
Hey, thanks for the compliment OP. Although I probably don't deserve it being in southeast Texas...High of 70, low of 40 today, haha. Winter biking here is a dream. The summers are horrible though.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: MooseOutFront on January 19, 2015, 06:45:50 PM
I biked one morning last week when it was about 28F.  Being in TX, my coworkers thought I was a crazy person.  I know that's nothing. There is something I enjoy about biking in that temperature though.  Proper ensemble of ski clothes and I'm quite kozy.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: BCBiker on January 20, 2015, 07:39:52 PM
I live in Denver and find that adding studs is not really worth the hassle.  I've actually never used studs but they seem to be more for show than anything, as I have followed fellow bikers with them and they seems to slide just as much as I do.

Studs are great for ice.  They're the difference between a high speed wipeout on black ice and hearing your stud-on-pavement noise suddenly go silent as they bite into the layer of ice.

They don't make a big difference if any in loose snow - that's where a blocky tread pattern patterns more.

I think I would probably buy a set if I lived somewhere where the ice is an issue more than a few days per year.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: GuitarStv on February 12, 2015, 06:56:03 AM
I biked one morning last week when it was about 28F.  Being in TX, my coworkers thought I was a crazy person.  I know that's nothing. There is something I enjoy about biking in that temperature though.  Proper ensemble of ski clothes and I'm quite kozy.

Ski clothes?  For fall temperatures?
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Wolf_Stache on February 12, 2015, 11:55:29 AM
I biked one morning last week when it was about 28F.  Being in TX, my coworkers thought I was a crazy person.  I know that's nothing. There is something I enjoy about biking in that temperature though.  Proper ensemble of ski clothes and I'm quite kozy.

Ski clothes?  For fall temperatures?

People who live in hot places loose the ability to deal with cold.

I remember when I young we lived in Idaho, and our cousins from Phoenix, AZ came to visit us one summer. One day it was about 80 degrees, and we were in bathing suits running through the sprinklers. My cousins were all bundled up in coats complaining about the bitter cold. LOL
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Cinder on February 13, 2015, 09:42:14 AM
Ski clothes?  For fall temperatures?

People who live in hot places loose the ability to deal with cold.

Have you ever heard of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_fat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_fat)? 

Quote
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) or brown fat is one of two types of fat or adipose tissue (the other being white adipose tissue, or white fat) found in mammals.

It is especially abundant in newborns and in hibernating mammals.[1] Its primary function is to generate body heat in animals or newborns that do not shiver. In contrast to white adipocytes (fat cells), which contain a single lipid droplet, brown adipocytes contain numerous smaller droplets and a much higher number of (iron-containing) mitochondria, which make it brown.[2] Brown fat also contains more capillaries than white fat, since it has a greater need for oxygen than most tissues.

It's fat that actually burns calories instead of containing calories, and it is probably part of the 'adaptation' to colder temps.

I've been bike commuting all winter, and I haven't ever been to cold.  Only recently where it was single digits with lots of wind did I almost feel cold, but I do typically wear several layers, I have a wind breaker layer top and bottom, and I have 0 skin exposure with a facemask, hat, and goggles while riding.

Another huge advantage over last year is that I got a pair of BarMitts for christmas, which mean even in single digit (F) temps, I only need one set of ski-gloves on my hands to keep warm, whereas last year I need 2~3 layers of gloves and my hands would get cold enough that I would alternate 'pumping' my fists to keep blood flowing so my fingers didn't get to cold.

My personal biggest problem is not overdressing on my core.  I feel like I need something that has sleeves (with thumb holes to keep them up in my gloves), covers my back, but doesn't insulate my front.  Usually chest/stomach area gets to warm, and other areas are just about right.  I have even kept a few vents open in my jacket to bring in chilly air to keep my chest from getting to warm, but it seems like it would be better if I could spot insulate my arms and back. 
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Runge on February 15, 2015, 08:21:31 PM
My personal biggest problem is not overdressing on my core.  I feel like I need something that has sleeves (with thumb holes to keep them up in my gloves), covers my back, but doesn't insulate my front.  Usually chest/stomach area gets to warm, and other areas are just about right.  I have even kept a few vents open in my jacket to bring in chilly air to keep my chest from getting to warm, but it seems like it would be better if I could spot insulate my arms and back.

Have you considered arm warmers? example: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/SubCategory_10052_10551_400091_-1_400000_400041

Obviously it doesn't quite help your back, but you might find that with the arm warmers and a light jacket, that might be plenty. Also, the nice thing is that you can easy slip them off and stick them in a pannier when you don't need them.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Cinder on February 23, 2015, 08:57:39 PM
Ok, this is even more badass then just regular winter biking...

Boston cyclists built a 40-foot-long snow tunnel for commuting
http://mashable.com/2015/02/22/boston-bikers-snow-tunnel/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: capital on February 24, 2015, 12:37:59 AM
Well one winter biking outside here in Indiana has bolstered my desire to find someplace more mild year-round (even though this winter has been relatively mild compared to last winter).  I was not prepared for the one single-digit day we had last week.  My eyelids were burning from the wind, and I progressively lost feeling in my fingers (which were in 2 gloves each by the way).  My ride is about 3 miles, but still it's not an experience I'm looking forward to repeating any time soon, though I'll repeat it if necessary obviously.  Still, it was nice "just once" to see how it felt.
Cheap ski mittens work well for the teens and single digits.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: willow on February 24, 2015, 12:28:28 PM
what a coincidence:

http://fortune.com/2015/02/24/work-commute/

This guy uses "snow tires" on his bike in the winter.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Syonyk on February 24, 2015, 04:55:41 PM
This guy uses "snow tires" on his bike in the winter.

I've run studded snow tires on a bicycle before in places with heavy snow in the winter (Iowa), and they are worth every penny. :)
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: mtnrider on February 24, 2015, 09:39:34 PM
Studded snow tires on a bike are (literally) life savers.  Now if it weren't so annoying to keep my feet warm on long rides.

If you live anywhere near or north of Boston this year, you're very seriously bad-ass riding.  The roads have become ridiculously, dangerously narrow.  I've given up.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: GuitarStv on February 25, 2015, 07:59:47 AM
Keys to keeping your feet warm:

- Wear mid calf heavy insulated winter boots.  (Requires flat pedals.)
- Boots should be slightly too big for you.  (If they're snug at all they will reduce circulation and make your feet cold very quickly.

I've been using these waterproof breathable boots, and they're OK for an hour on the bike at -30:
(https://canadiantire.scene7.com/is/image/CanadianTire/34598_417047_Prod_1_BlackGrey?fmt=png-alpha&fit=crop&wid=600&hei=712&defaultimage=defaultblank)
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Zman on February 25, 2015, 10:47:56 AM
I do! 12 minutes door to door...

Door to parking lot is about 6 minutes via trail. Door to parking lot in a car is about 4 minutes because I can take the trail and have to drive further.

In October a friend asked if I walk or ride to work (at the time I was driving), I haven't driven in since. :-)
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: otter on February 27, 2015, 04:04:07 PM
It's not as hard as you think! And, for me, it's both inherently fun and better than the alternatives (driving or transit) Sure I save money and whatever, but at heart I do it because I like it. Attitude is important - I used to not ride below about freezing, but since I lived in Michigan at the time this meant little to no riding for months, and I eventually decided that it sucked more to not ride for three months than it did to ride in the cold, so I learned to like it - I already had the clothing, so all I needed was an attitude adjustment.

Tire choice is important. The three-season tires on my primary bike are terrible if there is anything vaguely slushy on the ground, so I replace them with something else. The tires on my single speed are perfectly fine year-round. I live in Chicago where the major streets tend to get squeegeed curb-to-curb and salted generously every time it snows. Tires with a positive tread can be helpful if you have an irregular surface or there is some accumulation. Studs are wonderful for ice, but not needed for anything else (the positive tread will help, though)

I have never had a problem staying warm - after, say, the 50-minute ride from my office to my girlfriend's home I find it difficult to avoid being sweaty, no matter how cold it is - except for my hands, which are viciously cold. Pogies were my miracle - now I can keep even my hands warm in -10F temps.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: mtnrider on February 27, 2015, 09:02:38 PM
Keys to keeping your feet warm:

- Wear mid calf heavy insulated winter boots.  (Requires flat pedals.)
- Boots should be slightly too big for you.  (If they're snug at all they will reduce circulation and make your feet cold very quickly.


I have ice climbing boots for super cold days, but my feet (still!) get cold.  I suspect it has something to do with my position on the bike cutting down the blood flow to my feet.

Here's another problem: flats.  On a windy 0F day.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Hedge_87 on March 01, 2015, 10:06:35 AM
This is my first winter on the bike. My commute is pretty short but it has still been a pretty interesting experience.I've learned I like my seat a little lower than normal To help with balance. One of the worst days I road in slipping and sliding all over the place but never fell until I got off the bike and started walking to the door. I have had one spill that I attribute to overconfidence and to much speed. I might look at getting some knobby more mountain bike type tires for next winter. I might actually get some this summer to help out on some of the sandy roads I ride on (What do some of you more veteran riders think of this?).
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Syonyk on March 01, 2015, 01:05:23 PM
If you're riding in snow and ice, get studded tires for the winter.  It turns you into something resembling a superhuman on ice.  I could literally bicycle straight up wet, icy sidewalks on a hill that people couldn't walk up.

A friend of mine didn't believe me that they were so great.  We were walking back from the bar (I had my bike), so he borrowed it, got up to speed, and did a stoppie on a huge sheet of ice.  Came back, gave me the bike back, and said, "You're right.  Those are utterly incredible."
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: mtnrider on March 01, 2015, 09:20:52 PM
+1 for studded snows.  Biggest problem - remember when you get off the bike on ice that you don't have the same sort of grip!  I went right over once.


Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: Syonyk on March 01, 2015, 09:37:03 PM
Definitely. It's hard to wrap your brain around biking on surfaces you literally cannot walk on.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: spokey doke on March 05, 2015, 08:26:20 AM
I've been using Bar Mits this season, they work nicely.  I only have to wear one medium layer of gloves and it keeps my hands plenty warm.  My only 'problem' is that my shifters are mounted on the frame, so I have to take my hands out, reach down and shift, and then put them back in, but most newer bikes have their levers up on the bars anyway so it shouldn't be a problem.

Bar Mits or Pogies are THE TICKET.  I've been riding a fatbike in the snow for fun and exercise in the winter here and getting decent pogies made all the difference.  I could wear very light gloves and ride in single digit temps and be just fine.  Totally changed how comfortable and enjoyable it was to be out in the nasty stuff.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: gmacmilla on March 05, 2015, 09:36:22 PM
Another Denver rider here. I take the bike about 4 days a week and usually reach about 80 mi of commuting a week. There is a rest day thrown in for good measure where i take the bus and an odd day where i need the car for some obligation that is not close enough for  biking.

Those that said you can't really get cold aren't telling the complete truth. With proper gear you are perfectly comfortable biking. I find my feet get cold because I still ride with my mountain biking shoes and clip-less pedals. I just double up on socks and throw toe covers on. Actually the toe covers haven't really come off this winter. Depending on the temp i'll add or shed layers. Still where a summer bib, usually this giro one that is meant to be worn underneath things. The pants I wear are tights from pearl izumi and marginally wind and water proof. They usually suffice down to about 25F at which point i'll add another thin layer of synthetic tights. When it's shitting snow or raining and I feel like being a badass I'll wear my arc teryx alpha rain shell upper and lower and it makes me completely impervious to any liquids entering the warm confines of my armor. It even breathes fairly well for what it is.

Also tried riding on road tires. Completely worthless. I will switch back to them when it warms up enough but for now I use continental winter contact tires size 700Cx42. Work great. I ride a Specialized Crux in bright ass highlighter yellow so I can be seen. It's a cross bike so a little burlier and set up as a singlespeed currently.

Another tip, brakes are near useless on ice. Just point the bike in 1 direction and keep it that way while riding over ice. For the deep snow it's fun to stand up and just keep churning; really adds to the workout.

Co-workers all think your crazy when you bike in crazy weather but to me they are crazy for spending just as much if not more time in the car sitting in traffic with the other car clowns; And paying to do it.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: mtnrider on March 07, 2015, 10:19:29 AM
re: singlespeed

Oh yeah.  Winter, at least in New England where they salt the roads, is harsh on components. 

Back when I rode to work in the winter, I'd expect to need to replace the derailleur, cassette, sprockets, chain, cables, and maybe the bottom bracket and pedals at the end of the season.  I occasionally lost a fender (they'd either shatter in the cold, or get torn off by a chunk of ice jammed under them - scary!). 

If I went back to riding in the snow, I might want one of those belt-driven bikes, if they were cheap enough.  Or a singlespeed if the terrain agreed with it.

On the plus side, modulo the cars, it's really fun!
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: GuitarStv on March 09, 2015, 06:33:20 AM
No real need for a singlespeed or belt driven bike for cold weather biking.  I've done three winters in heavily salted Toronto on the same cheapo Altus parts and they're still working great.  I've needed to replace the chain twice, shifter cables twice, cassette once, and the brake pads once.

How?
- Fill a watering can with hot water after every ride and rinse off your bike.  (Then immediately bounce it a few times on the ground to knock the water off so it doesn't freeze everything up.)
- Take everything off your bike in the fall and replace the grease with waterproof grease, (I like snowmobile grease, it doesn't freeze up at -30 like other stuff).
- Lube your chain, brake pivots, derailleur pivots after every long ride.  I like to keep components shiny and new looking spring/summer/fall, but in the winter they need to be heavily lubed or they get eaten by the rust.

To avoid your fenders breaking (and ice building up in them) during snowy winter rides adjust them so that the part at the rear of the tire has less space than the part at the front of the tire.  Snow will build up a bit, but as the wheel rotates it will knock the snow out of the fender so there's no build up.  Ice chunks will either be shoved out the front, or won't enter the area under the fender and between the tire.  Much safer.
Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: mtnrider on March 11, 2015, 09:11:19 PM

No real need for a singlespeed or belt driven bike for cold weather biking.  I've done three winters in heavily salted Toronto on the same cheapo Altus parts and they're still working great.  I've needed to replace the chain twice, shifter cables twice, cassette once, and the brake pads once.

How?
- Fill a watering can with hot water after every ride and rinse off your bike.  (Then immediately bounce it a few times on the ground to knock the water off so it doesn't freeze everything up.)
- Take everything off your bike in the fall and replace the grease with waterproof grease, (I like snowmobile grease, it doesn't freeze up at -30 like other stuff).
- Lube your chain, brake pivots, derailleur pivots after every long ride.  I like to keep components shiny and new looking spring/summer/fall, but in the winter they need to be heavily lubed or they get eaten by the rust.

To avoid your fenders breaking (and ice building up in them) during snowy winter rides adjust them so that the part at the rear of the tire has less space than the part at the front of the tire.  Snow will build up a bit, but as the wheel rotates it will knock the snow out of the fender so there's no build up.  Ice chunks will either be shoved out the front, or won't enter the area under the fender and between the tire.  Much safer.

This is really dependent on you and your ride.

I suppose part failure is a function of the distance you're riding, the force you need (hills?  speed? weight?), and other things.  For me it was 30 to 45 mi on hilly terrain and snowy/icy roads.  Usually before the end of the season, the chain would be jumping on hard acceleration.

I didn't have time to wash my bike every day, but it was stored outside, so there wasn't much salt water to do rusting.  Rusting wasn't the problem anyway.  I did wash it, and regreased every Saturday, but within five minutes of getting back on the bike, the chain would be coated with sludge.  It wasn't unusual for the cassette to get sludgy snow and ice impacted in it too.

The fenders broke mostly when a piece of ice got kicked up (or stuck on the tire?) and then got sucked up between the tire and fender.  I assume that it was mostly bad luck.  In these cases, the fender tore off the mounting brackets and flopped uselessly behind the bike.  Once the front fender shattered when it hit my oversized boots while I was riding.

Speaking of cheap parts - I'd recommend them!  They seemed to outlast the more expensive bits (although it was hardly a controlled study).

Title: Re: Winter bikers - You are seriously bad-ass.
Post by: BCBiker on March 13, 2015, 08:54:02 PM
Another Denver rider here. I take the bike about 4 days a week and usually reach about 80 mi of commuting a week. There is a rest day thrown in for good measure where i take the bus and an odd day where i need the car for some obligation that is not close enough for  biking.

Those that said you can't really get cold aren't telling the complete truth. With proper gear you are perfectly comfortable biking. I find my feet get cold because I still ride with my mountain biking shoes and clip-less pedals. I just double up on socks and throw toe covers on. Actually the toe covers haven't really come off this winter. Depending on the temp i'll add or shed layers. Still where a summer bib, usually this giro one that is meant to be worn underneath things. The pants I wear are tights from pearl izumi and marginally wind and water proof. They usually suffice down to about 25F at which point i'll add another thin layer of synthetic tights. When it's shitting snow or raining and I feel like being a badass I'll wear my arc teryx alpha rain shell upper and lower and it makes me completely impervious to any liquids entering the warm confines of my armor. It even breathes fairly well for what it is.

Also tried riding on road tires. Completely worthless. I will switch back to them when it warms up enough but for now I use continental winter contact tires size 700Cx42. Work great. I ride a Specialized Crux in bright ass highlighter yellow so I can be seen. It's a cross bike so a little burlier and set up as a singlespeed currently.

Another tip, brakes are near useless on ice. Just point the bike in 1 direction and keep it that way while riding over ice. For the deep snow it's fun to stand up and just keep churning; really adds to the workout.

Co-workers all think your crazy when you bike in crazy weather but to me they are crazy for spending just as much if not more time in the car sitting in traffic with the other car clowns; And paying to do it.

gmacmilla: Glad to see another Denver rider out there.  Here is my blog post about the snowy weeks we had at the end of last month. http://www.businesscasualbiker.com/the-pleasure-of-hard-work/  It is hard to believe that  was just a few weeks ago. Now it is basically summer!  I used to take bus every other week but for the last two years I am 100% bike rider every day rain, snow, ice, tornado...  I hope you enjoy my blog. It sounds like it is up your alley.