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Riding During Harsh Weather Conditions

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Riding During Harsh Weather Conditions

Old 01-04-17, 05:09 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Crossing the North Cascades Highway west to east at the end of May, 1999. Rain turned to snow before the first pass of the two passes. Temps were below 40. Nowhere to take refuge. Early parts of the descent were wet.
FYI, the first one is officially known as Rainy Pass. The second is Washington Pass. Assuming you're heading east.

Do you remember where the precip ended? I've had so many experiences up there where we go out to play in the mountains and the weather is uncooperative (including snow mid summer) then we get back to our hotel in town and it's warm and sunny, but cloudy over the peaks.
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Old 01-04-17, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Worst weather is rain at 34 F with a 20 mph wind.


110F? Take it easy and drink like crazy. 10F? Layers and cover the skin, but since it's not wet the wind isn't as cold as that right-above-freezing. 50 mph headwind? Oh, yeah, that's nasty, pedaling down a 6% grade to get up to 6 mph.
+1 on the rain at near freezing conditions. Worst.
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Old 01-04-17, 05:18 PM
  #28  
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Yeah, that's hypothermia conditions. Actually you can get into real trouble at temperatures much warmer, if it's wet and windy enough.
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Old 01-04-17, 07:16 PM
  #29  
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Well, let's see ... a few examples ...

There was a 1200K randonnee attempt out of Davis California where the daytime temps went over 40C. I dropped out of the ride at the 400 km point because I had slowed to a point I couldn't make the next control.

There was a wind in Winnipeg (where else?) which was clocked at 160 km/h and took out a fair across the river from where I was cycling. Knocked me of the bicycle.

There was the century I did at -32C one February ... also Winnipeg.

And a 600K I DNF'd at 300K after riding those 300K in torrential rain and roaring wind. Bridges behind me were being washed out (I found out the next day). I was pedalling hard down hills to get my speed up to about 16 km/h the wind was so strong. When I reached a section of road that ran along one of the main highways, the walls of water kicked up by the passing semis left me feeling like I was going to drown. Then night feel, hypothermia set in, and at 300 km, I was shaking uncontrollably and throwing up. That was the end of the ride.
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Old 01-05-17, 02:13 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by decentdrummer91 View Post
What's the worst kind of weather you have ridden in?
I hope this picture will go through as this is one of my worst days with whiteout conditions, still made it to work on time on a 12.5 mile commute.
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Old 01-05-17, 03:25 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Bizman View Post
I hope this picture will go through as this is one of my worst days with whiteout conditions, still made it to work on time on a 12.5 mile commute.
Wow! My hat's off to you sir.
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Old 01-05-17, 06:56 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by decentdrummer91 View Post
Incorrect, at least taking into account my bike, and road conditions. Tires will always slip when the road is wet, same for cars, bikes, and any other kind of vehicle with rubber tires. If I take turns fast, my tires will slip
I've ridden road bikes for over 40 years in all conditions, and I've never experienced or seen what you're describing. Oil slicks, yes. Black ice, yes. But slipping on wet pavement, no.
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Old 01-05-17, 06:58 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Well, let's see ... a few examples ...

There was a 1200K randonnee attempt out of Davis California where the daytime temps went over 40C. I dropped out of the ride at the 400 km point because I had slowed to a point I couldn't make the next control.

There was a wind in Winnipeg (where else?) which was clocked at 160 km/h and took out a fair across the river from where I was cycling. Knocked me of the bicycle.

There was the century I did at -32C one February ... also Winnipeg.

And a 600K I DNF'd at 300K after riding those 300K in torrential rain and roaring wind. Bridges behind me were being washed out (I found out the next day). I was pedalling hard down hills to get my speed up to about 16 km/h the wind was so strong. When I reached a section of road that ran along one of the main highways, the walls of water kicked up by the passing semis left me feeling like I was going to drown. Then night feel, hypothermia set in, and at 300 km, I was shaking uncontrollably and throwing up. That was the end of the ride.


You and Rowan are really something. I hope to meet the two of you someday. Chapeau.
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Old 01-05-17, 07:13 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
FYI, the first one is officially known as Rainy Pass. The second is Washington Pass. Assuming you're heading east.

Do you remember where the precip ended? I've had so many experiences up there where we go out to play in the mountains and the weather is uncooperative (including snow mid summer) then we get back to our hotel in town and it's warm and sunny, but cloudy over the peaks.
Yes. I know their names. Somewhere I have a photo of the sign atop Washington nearly buried in snow.

It dried up relatively quickly on the descent to Winthrop where we camped for two days. In town you could look back and see all the clouds. It looked like they would move our way but never did. Town was warm and dry and there were tumbleweeds. I subsequently learned what a "rain shadow" is. When I road it again next year it was nicer. Cloudy, but no rain or snow and warmer.
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Old 01-05-17, 07:51 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I've ridden road bikes for over 40 years in all conditions, and I've never experienced or seen what you're describing. Oil slicks, yes. Black ice, yes. But slipping on wet pavement, no.
I see, no worries, if 2 people have experienced it, then obviously it's real, at least for us
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Old 01-05-17, 07:54 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
You and Rowan are really something. I hope to meet the two of you someday. Chapeau.
Thanks. Maybe we will meet one day.


As for all the weather ... I've been doing this "seriously" almost 27 years, and casually for about 17 years before that. Bound to run into some "uh oh ... didn't time that very well" weather along the way.


Oh, that reminds me ...

One day in Winnipeg, a cycling partner and I decided to ride out to a little beach and back (200 km round trip). The day was HOT. Contrary to popular belief, Winnipeg can get seriously hot and humid in summer, and this was one of those days. Temps in the high 30s and the humidex factor up around 48 degrees. We could hardly drink enough on the way out.

But we made it and went swimming at the beach which was really nice. Then we both noticed the black clouds on the horizon ... only ... these didn't look quite right. I had been cycling in Manitoba for 13 years and had gotten to know storm clouds, and these kind of gave me a chill. We packed up quickly and started cycling as fast as we could back toward Winnipeg with these clouds building behind us.

When we were about 30-ish km from Winnipeg, the sun went down (we had started rather late in the day), and then it got really weird. We'd be riding along and we'd hear a roar like a train, and then we'd be hit on one side with a hot wind which would nearly knock us over. Then it would pass, and a few minutes later there would be a roar from the other side and we'd be hit with a freezing cold wind which would nearly knock us over. And on and on like that, with lightning flashing everywhere and thunder rumbling.

About 10 km from Winnipeg, a police car pulled us over and asked us if we were OK. Apparently a trucker had seen us battling this very strange wind and was concerned for our safety. By then, we were starting to get into a populated area and the buildings and trees were blocking the wind somewhat, so we said we were fine and continued.

Moments after arriving home, the sky opened up with torrential rain and hail. Thank goodness we missed that!

I flipped on the TV ... the news was on ... one of those "Breaking News" stories. And there, filling my TV screen, was the camper which had been parked on the shore of the lake where we had been swimming, upside down in the water, right where we had been swimming! The cameras panned around and the whole camping /day use/ beach area had been devastated by high winds not unlike a tornado. I'm not sure they ever actually used the word tornado, but there was a lot of destruction that looked like a tornado had been through. And the footage was taken while it was still light. They revealed that these high winds hit the area about 30 minutes after we left, and then tracked southward, basically following us for a while. Then we headed east, which was when we encountered those really weird winds, which I have to guess were the edge of the storm system.

So I guess sometimes, I also manage to dodge the bad weather too ... just!
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Old 01-05-17, 08:22 AM
  #37  
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Rain/sleet in the low thirties (F) is the worst conditions, especially if you're on the road. 33F and raining is far worse than colder with snow. I've ridden my fat bike in single digit temps during a snow storm for three hours and had an absolute blast. You just need to dress properly. However, a half hour in soaking, cold rain on a slippery road is completely miserable no matter what you're wearing. It also destroys your bike.
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Old 01-05-17, 08:44 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
The danger isn't ice. In Sacramento, the City of Trees, the danger is from this incredibly slippery and nasty sludge of wet leaves that collects in the bike lanes and at every intersection. The OP is quite prudent in taking turns slowly.
I presume than that rain or a wet road surface at any temperature is considered a "harsh weather" condition for bicycling in Sacramento.
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Old 01-05-17, 08:45 AM
  #39  
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Ridden in tons of bad conditions. Worst? Hard to decide.

Coldest I've ridden is -14F air temps. I snuck out the door that day before my wife woke up. Usually she puts her foot down about me riding somewhere around -10F.

Coldest wind chill I've ridden in is likely around -40F. At a certain point you no longer notice if the wind gets any colder.

Had a few rides where the snow got so deep that my feet would only be visible at the top of a pedal stroke. Those are difficult rides because the chain packs so much snow into the cassette that the drivetrain starts skipping.

Coldest non-winter ride was 33 and raining. Got soaked and really cold.

Lots of lightning over the years. I don't worry about it too much. I figure the odds of getting hit by a car are much greater than being struck by lightning, and I don't let the fear of being run over keep me home.

Ridden when sustained winds were +50mph with gusts in the 70mph range. That sucked.

On the other end of the spectrum I've also ridden when it was 108F with 99% humidity.

Where I live, if you want to be a cyclist you have to make the decision to ride first, then decide how to handle the conditions second. If I let the conditions dictate whether or not I'll ride, I'd be sitting at home a good chunk of the year.
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Old 01-05-17, 09:09 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I presume than that rain or a wet road surface at any temperature is considered a "harsh weather" condition for bicycling in Sacramento.
With this historic drought, it certainly has been unusual in recent years.
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Old 01-05-17, 09:32 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I've biked down to around 20 F. It's actually much better than 35 F and raining.

I've skied (cross country) in -2 F. Aggressively cold.
I can deal with cold, but cold and wet can be killer. I've been more uncomfortable being underdressed at 36F in the rain than 5F with light snowfall. In both instances, winds were light and variable.

70+ and rain but no lightning? It's like stomping puddles as a kid, especially with good fenders.
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Old 01-05-17, 09:37 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I presume than that rain or a wet road surface at any temperature is considered a "harsh weather" condition for bicycling in Sacramento.
that's why I said in the beginning, everyone can have different opinions of harsh weather, depending on different things, like where they were raised. 40 degrees and strong rain IS harsh weather to people living in sacramento because during the summer it gets to 108
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Old 01-05-17, 09:38 AM
  #43  
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On a side note, there are some amazing dedicated cyclists here. Props to you guys
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Old 01-05-17, 09:48 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
It dried up relatively quickly on the descent to Winthrop where we camped for two days. In town you could look back and see all the clouds. It looked like they would move our way but never did. Town was warm and dry and there were tumbleweeds. I subsequently learned what a "rain shadow" is. When I road it again next year it was nicer. Cloudy, but no rain or snow and warmer.
I've had almost the same experience too many times to count. It's part of what makes Winthrop a tourist draw, Seattle people will jump at the chance to drive 5 hours and be in the sun. Add in the scenery and there you go.

That area is lovely in the winter, too.
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Old 01-05-17, 09:58 AM
  #45  
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Worst ride to work I've experienced was blizzard like conditions right on the half point to work. It started out as a great ride and I kid you not, right in the middle of the distance it started to snow and the wind was hauling in total whiteout condtions. Well, turning around at this point was useless as I was at the halfway point, so I soldiered on to work. My co-workers simply shook their heads in disbelief.

The coldest I've ridden was -12C, which is 10F. But since it was also only my standard 35min. commute to work, it really didn't faze me.

The worst ride I had was this year during an Alp-X from Germany into Italy on day 4 on the tour right at the peak at 2200m in the Alps when the temps dropped from 15C to 5C in a matter of minutes when a mountain storm came rolling through and it started to rain and hail like crazy. I was wet, drenched through and through, shivering like crazy and froze my nuts off on the decent into the valley. Barely able to modulate the brakes on the bike. Only to have sunshine and 30C weather in the valley.
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Old 01-05-17, 10:14 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I presume than that rain or a wet road surface at any temperature is considered a "harsh weather" condition for bicycling in Sacramento.
That appears to be all in the past. I'm wondering if this drought period is coming to an end in California--especially northern California. We have had non-stop rain and snow now for days.

I live in the Sierras, south of Lake Tahoe. Riding up here in the winter in snowy conditions is a bit problematic because the roads all tend to go straight up or straight down, at severe gradients at times; plus they are serpentine and drivers are not careful when they come around tight turns. Roads are narrow in the mountains and that makes things quite dangerous as well. I go down to Sacramento from time to time for work meetings and it has been really foggy/rainy down there as well recently.

Yes--wet leaves, pine needles are absolutely treacherous!
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Old 01-05-17, 10:15 AM
  #47  
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When I was an everyday commuter I had no choice. Heavy rain was no fun, although I eventually found some workable clothing for it. I worried about lightning, but other than biking faster though higher, more exposed areas of my commute, there was nothing I could do about that.

Heavy rain and steel rims in the 70s was an adventure however (grin).

For me, Minnesota cold isn't a problem until you get below about 10 or 15 degrees F. or so, then face covering starts to become necessary. Not only do I dislike face masks, but glasses or goggles eventually fog or freeze over. There is only mitigation for this in stop and go urban riding as far as I can tell. But when I had to ride (commuting) I rode some nights in the minus 20's below air temp.

Above that dividing line? 25F is the same as 75F as far as enjoyable riding, you just wear different clothes.

Now I have more choice on taking a day off from riding. This morning was -7F, and I didn't ride. Rain is different than cold in one respect: heavy rain might take away or couple of days at the most from riding, usually only a day; but real cold, full face covering cold, can last over a week in MN. I'll grab the dreaded face mask and ride this week, even though it may be below zero, because I can't let the weather tell me I can't ride my bike.
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Old 01-05-17, 11:02 AM
  #48  
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The worst for me isn't all that bad. It was just a water situation for me. It was about 96F or abouts. I carried two 24 oz bottles, a 32 oz bottle, two 20 oz Gatorade, and at the only store we came across I bought 2 more bottles of water and a Gatorade. 10 miles to go and I ran out of liquids. I sweat, a LOT. When I got back to the car, I was bone dry, chilled, and shivering in 96 and 99% humidity.

Coldest I've ridden so far was a few weeks ago at 22F. I was toasty warm except for my toes and fingertips. I had ski gloves on and my shoes are ventilated and had regular cotton athletic socks on. I've since received wool socks for Christmas, but haven't had a chance to really test them. At 28 I was fine with my shoes being ventilated and regular socks on.
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Old 01-05-17, 11:34 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
... froze my nuts off on the decent into the valley...
That's where quick-release hubs and especially thru-axels would be an advantage.
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Old 01-05-17, 12:04 PM
  #50  
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Haven't really been out in any harsh weather, other than strong (to me) winds.
I didn't think much of the 20mph winds I was going out recently to ride in, until I actually started. It was hard to make even simple turns and one gust even took me down lol. I thought they'd need to be stronger for that, but at the right angle, apparently not.
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