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Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: January 19, 2021 07:51AM
Hi all,

Trying to get back into an exercise routine. Walking, biking and cleaning up Buster (a horse).

Haven't done much cold weather cycling tho, what's the best way to layer up and not freeze my fingers & toes off? There always seems to be a wind of some sort. What works for skiing doesn't really translate to biking easily (too bulky) except for the base layer and my jacket.

TIA
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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: raz
Date: January 19, 2021 08:11AM
Definitely get shoe covers. Your biking shoes are designed to let your feet breathe as much as possible in the summer heat. That cooling action will be nasty in the winter.

I generally ride with glove liners in my heavy gloves, a short base layer, a long base layer, and my (lovely Mavic Inferno) jacket when the temperature is below 35 or so. And long, insulated bibs.

Also a balaclava.

And watch out for train tracks and other slippery surfaces.



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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: January 19, 2021 08:28AM
What is cold? What kind of biking are you doing?

I've reliably stayed warm down to 0°F but I'm not sure what your starting point is or what kinds of problems you're having.



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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: January 19, 2021 08:28AM
I recently saw a cyclist where the handle bars had large covers over each hand, looked like a great way to block the wind and I suppose also retain some warmth inside. They appeared large enough to allow for the brake and shifting levers to be contained, so with a reasonable glove one could retain a good degree of warmth and dexterity.
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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: January 19, 2021 08:31AM
Quote
mikebw
I recently saw a cyclist where the handle bars had large covers over each hand, looked like a great way to block the wind and I suppose also retain some warmth inside. They appeared large enough to allow for the brake and shifting levers to be contained, so with a reasonable glove one could retain a good degree of warmth and dexterity.

They're called poagies and bar mitts is one variety - [barmitts.com]

I have them, they work very well. I start using them just above freezing and stick with thin wool gloves until the temp drops below 10°F.



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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: January 19, 2021 09:02AM
One thing I have found is that motorists are much more unprepared for seeing bicycles during the "off season". That means they get more sloppy about edging into bike lanes, not yielding to bikes when they make a right turn, opening car doors into a bike lane etc. So always maximize your lighting, even during the day and consider a day glo vest.

The second thing I find is that there is more road debris. In our area that means more grit on the road from sanders. That stuff is super slippery on bike tires on fast turns.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: January 19, 2021 09:28AM
Make the bike stationary in your heated house.



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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: Todd's keyboard
Date: January 19, 2021 09:30AM
ln Vancouver, BC, winters I found an insulated bib was much better than insulated pants at keeping my mid-section warm. I also discovered there were certain situations where it was better to walk my bike, rather than slip and fall on the ice (in front of cars).

Todd's ski-board
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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: January 19, 2021 09:46AM
Cold is biking under 45 degrees for me. Shoe covers are a good idea as are the bar mittens.

I'm biking on the roads in my development so there's low traffic and they're used to seeing cyclists on the road year-round.

Don't plan to bike if it's icy or wet - not willing to kill myself prematurely.

Considering making it stationary inside but I do need the fresh air.

Thx!
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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: January 19, 2021 09:57AM
Is your head warm enough? I wear a wool winter cycling cap and an insulated helmet - [www.giro.com]



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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: January 19, 2021 10:50AM
.....keep the balls......warm......



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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: January 19, 2021 12:52PM
I have an older version of gloves like these that work well [www.pearlizumi.com]

I used them for commuting through the winter too. For my ~35 minute commute, the only other winter changes I'd make is wearing pants instead of shorts, wearing a windbreaker, sometimes longer socks and different glasses.

I don't ride the street below freezing because I don't like dealing with ice, hills and cars altogether.




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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: January 19, 2021 04:00PM
In the winter I ride with a back-pack to hold layers and shed/don them as needed. I like lobster mitten/gloves to keep my hands warm (they pair fingers up so that you have some dexterity, not as much as gloves, but better than mittens. Foot covers are a good idea. I've cycled in weather down to single digits, but it isn't pleasant at high-speed no matter what you're wearing.



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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: testcase
Date: January 19, 2021 04:19PM
Head south....... eye rolling smiley
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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: SteveO
Date: January 19, 2021 04:20PM
Okay, good stuff in this thread! I do about 3-4k miles per year, shooting for 5k this year. I'm gonna ride later, in about 40ºF. My body temp runs a bit cool, so I dress a bit warmer than some folks for winter. Remember, no cotton...yes synthetics all around. Wicking, breathable enough so that your clothes are not damp if you're getting in a good workout. TIP: Look for outerwear that says it's windproof. There are varying degrees of it, but reviews should tell you what is actually true to spec.

Upper Body/Noggin
Wear 2+ poly layers, wicking and at least somewhat breathable so sweat can evaporate. I wear 2-3 thin layers at 45 and up, such as a 32º brand (Costco) winter top and bottom + an overshirt like C9 (Target) or UnderArmor winter top over that. I might wear an oversized 100% wool or acrylic sweater over that combo. Nice and toasty, plus they wick well. Arm warmers are nice to have for in-between days...if you get hot, you can easily remove and stash in a jersey pocket.

I also have a couple of winter thermal-lined cycling tops with full zip. (see aliexpress for some amazing deals, like $20!) So much easier than yanking stuff off over your head, especially on the road for venting, etc. If it's sunny and 40s, I'll often just wear the underlayers and a winter top on my upper half.

I'll wear a winter cycling jacket over the underlayers, a skull cap and/or balaclava, a neck gaitor (if < 40º), and 1-2 layers of gloves.

I agree, bar mitts are also a great idea, here's a link to some cheapies that look good/arrive fast, I'm fixin' to order some myself. Keep in mind that site has very good pricing on a lot of stuff, but read the reviews carefully as vendor and item quality varies...and check shipping arrival dates. I'd check out other brands also...there appear to be at least 3 on that site. Get the right kind for the type of bike you ride (drop bar vs flat bar).


Legs/Feets
Merino wool socks. Tip: Plastic Bags (ie dog doo bags) over feet if <35º. Then shoes, loosen them enough for your winter socks or your feet will ache, no fun.

Full foot/ankle booties over shoes. Tip: put electrical or duct tape over the vents in your cycling shoes to block out wind and keep your feet warmer. My Bellwether booties are full-foot/ankle coverage similar to these: [www.aliexpress.com]

Look for thermal bibs and/or pants. More than one pair is nice in case you haven't done the wash yet, ha! I have a pair of winter Pearl Izumi Elite bibs with chamois, about $130 a few years back. And a pair of Endura thermal bottoms, $80ish from a LBS, no chamois. You can likely find similar on both for like $20-30 on aliexpress.

If you're gonna be purchasing ANY new outerwear gear, I'd look for hi-viz and/or reflective stuff. Pretty easy to find these days. Keep in mind the lower half of your body is the most visible if you're on a road bike (leaning forward over the bars), so make sure at very least you're wearing a slap strap ankle reflective/s. These can be had for like $5. Always wear bright clothing. If you're wearing black, make sure it has prominent reflectives.

And yeah I agree 100%, get a good headlight and tail light. Don't cheap out, it won't make you safer. Plan to spend about $25+ on a tail, and about $35+ on a headlight. Cygolite/Hotshot, Nite Rider, Planet Bike super blinky, and Bontrager are lights I have used and recommend, and they have good warranties. Your LBS should have these; some shops, and places like REI and Bezosville sell them as a set. Look for 400+ lumens on headlight. 100 lumens+ for tail. (I'd get a name brand for these vs generic) USB rechargeable are convenient, just make sure you're charged up before each ride. I run my tails on strobe day and night. Headlight on strobe during the day and steady at night.

Refresh your knowledge with cycling safety videos like these. and these...geared to kids but info is great for adults too.

Good luck on your quest, enjoy and ride safe!
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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: January 19, 2021 05:10PM
Thanks everybody!

Especially SteveO - that's a book!

My head stays pretty warm - I use a headband with the bike helmet to keep the ears warm. It works well with the horse helmet too - been doing that for years.

I've used plastic bags on my feet for outdoor pond ice skating - that's a good idea I've forgotten about.

I'm an upright rider - the drop bar cranks on my neck too much.

Reflectors are a good idea too - even tho I'm riding between 12-2 pm most days. Have a blinking light on the back of the helmet.
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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: January 20, 2021 07:28AM
add a bit of vodka to your water to prevent it from freezing winking smiley



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Re: Best practices for cold weather bicycling?
Posted by: SteveO
Date: January 21, 2021 11:07PM
Quote
mattkime
add a bit of vodka to your water to prevent it from freezing winking smiley

Yes! And/Or maybe a little Irish whiskey to your coffee! winking smiley

Glad you found all this helpful.
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