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Winter cycling?!

Old 06-24-08, 03:33 PM
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MrPajitnov
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Winter cycling?!

So I'm a born and raised florida boy moving to Michigan in October, the catch: I've been living car-free for 3 years and I've never really had to deal with snow, anything I should know before I move to the wintry north?
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Old 06-24-08, 04:18 PM
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some would say buy a trainer for the winter months - i say buy a mtn bike!

also, someone makes studded bike tires - anyone have the link?

luckily you've got time to plan..
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Old 06-24-08, 04:25 PM
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i agree with mattm a mountain bike might be a good idea. its alot of mental toughness too.
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Old 06-24-08, 06:56 PM
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I don't think you really need a MTB unless you are going to be riding through some hard pack snow regularly and need the really fat tires. I commute year round in NYC and also do road rides year round. I just use heavier duty tires and larger @ 28c. If you can fit bigger tires, then go for it. I never had any issues with 28c though. Strong side walls are a good idea.

Fenders are a must have. And lights.

Something like a Cross Check is a great bike for winter riding.

As for dealing with the cold:

A balaclava works wonders. If it's REALLY cold - way below freezing - I use ski goggles instead of my typical M-Frames. Get some pants that are highly water resistant and windproof on the front for the cold days.

Generally, I found I was comfortable to about 5F with only a SoftShell jacket (arcteryx happens to be the one i use) and a long underwear top - not the cotton variety. Down low I used Descente's coldest pant, forget the model, or PI's amfib. The descentes are way nicer, imo.

If I have no intentions of walking around outside I use my road shoes/pedals with Sugoi's heavy weight bootie covers. They are highly water resistant and quite warm. I also have some PI mtb Amfib booties which I use with my mtb shoes/pedals on the snowy days or when I'm going to be walking.

For gloves, I just use some windstopper gloves with fleece lining by Gore bikewear. If it's below 20F I'll use hand warmers if I'm going to be out more than a couple hours. Same goes for the feet. Sub 20F and in the warmers go for longer rides.

Last edited by Spookykinkajou; 06-24-08 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 06-24-08, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
some would say buy a trainer for the winter months - i say buy a mtn bike!

also, someone makes studded bike tires - anyone have the link?

luckily you've got time to plan..
There are a number of companies that make studded tires. Nokian is one I know of for sure. http://www.suomityres.fi/winter.html
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Old 06-24-08, 08:50 PM
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You might want to post this question in the Winter forum rather than the Long Distance forum.

Or is your question about riding centuries in the winter?
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Old 06-25-08, 10:54 AM
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What some people describe as adequate wear for 5F is something others
would feel cold wearing at 40F. People have different thermostats. I
have been on rides at 38F where one or two were wearing short sleeve
jerseys and summer shorts and said they were a little cool but 'it would
warm up in a few hours'. There is a guy around here that rides sandals
barefoot year around. Me, I have 3 layers in the 50Fs and 4 layers on
my torso in the low 40s. Machka rides centuries in the teens to keep
in shape. Google Ice cycling for another source of info. Riding flat
country is a lot easier in snow and ice than riding hilly country.
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Old 06-25-08, 12:26 PM
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I completed my first winter season last year. I agree that lights are a must. I added on clothes as I needed them through the Fall. It worked well for me. I managed the season on a hybrid with no problems. I would have actually ditched my front suspension as it sometimes threatened to spill me on rough pavement when things were slippery. Plenty of folks do the winter in Philly on road bikes.

I hear that Michigan is a good bit more snowy then here (not colder and a little less windy according to my buddy from Grand Rapids). The only days that I could not ride were ones where it was snowing or there was ice on the ground.

Studded tires are the way to go according to 2 people I know that use them. The traction is very good and stopping is smooth. I would suggest that if possible, it would be best to have another bike with the studs on so that you can ride on normal tires on clear roads. The rolling resistance is supposed to be brutal.
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Old 06-25-08, 02:29 PM
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MrPajitnov
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You might want to post this question in the Winter forum rather than the Long Distance forum.

Or is your question about riding centuries in the winter?
oops, I'm not sure how I got in the long-distance catergory seeing as I posted this in the car-free forum... weird.

Thanks for all the advice anyways, and I do long distance rides as well (I ride from Jacksonville, FL to St. Augustine, FL regularly) so it's nice to know how to tackle that one as well.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:36 PM
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Old 06-27-08, 07:16 AM
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I just use regular road tires. I've done this for about 15 winters way up here by the arctic circle (Canada). It is a bit more difficult, but still enjoyable. My simple sig site article below has more detail and some nice entertainment although most of that starts about half way through.
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