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Drop-Bar Snow Success!...

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Drop-Bar Snow Success!...

Old 10-28-19, 10:24 AM
  #1  
BobbyG
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Drop-Bar Snow Success!...

Today's commute was 17F and snowy with2" of powder and an underlayer of ice.

It was the first snow and ice ride with the studded snow tires since I converted my winter bike to drop-bars.

It worked beautifully.

The main motivation was that straight bars were hurting my 57-year-old hands, while my drop-bar bikes were not.

I was a little worried about kick-back in icy ruts, since the wide, straight bars provided lots of control for that, but that turned out to not be an issue.

I nailed the clothing and layers, not too cold, not too hot.

God, I love bike commuting!

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Old 10-28-19, 10:52 AM
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The guy in the background in the first pic looks so dejected. He's not quite as thrilled about the snow as you are.
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Old 10-28-19, 01:21 PM
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Here are the highlights!
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Old 10-28-19, 03:06 PM
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I've been working a security job for almost 6 months and wish I could use drop bars. The work bike has grips with quasi bar ends but it's not enough to avoid hand pain over an 8 hour shift.

Nice bike and ride, though! The last time I commuted in snow was in 1991.
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Old 10-29-19, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Here are the highlights!
https://youtu.be/_YsqhiUs3CM
i watched this at home last night hard to imagine snow. Last Sunday it was 85F
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Old 10-30-19, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Today's commute was 17F and snowy with2" of powder and an underlayer of ice.

It was the first snow and ice ride with the studded snow tires since I converted my winter bike to drop-bars.

It worked beautifully.

The main motivation was that straight bars were hurting my 57-year-old hands, while my drop-bar bikes were not.

I was a little worried about kick-back in icy ruts, since the wide, straight bars provided lots of control for that, but that turned out to not be an issue.

I nailed the clothing and layers, not too cold, not too hot.

God, I love bike commuting!
+10. My motto for Winter cycling (commuting only) is Gear and Gumption. We probably won’t see those conditions until January.

This will be the second winter I commute on well-maintained, but occasionally treacherous roads with a flat bar hybrid bike (with studded tires, of course) because of some shoulder / neck problems with drop bars. Unless I can “get in gear” and start my planned rehabilitation program.

I do have a quality aluminum beater road bike with drop bars, that accepts 30C Marathon studded tires, and at work convenient, secure indoor storage for drying out the slop – makes winter bike commuting even more loveable.




Last edited by Jim from Boston; 10-30-19 at 04:22 AM.
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Old 10-30-19, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...some shoulder / neck problems with drop bars...

...at work convenient, secure indoor storage for drying out the slop...
I feel fortunate to not have shoulder/neck problems (yet?) and to also have "...convenient, secure indoor storage for drying out...".

I, too have used a box fan in the warehouse to dry out clothes when necessary (which is not often).
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Old 10-30-19, 08:05 AM
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Good job! I love the vid! Your the man. :}
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Old 10-30-19, 04:29 PM
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@BobbyG, that looks too cold for me. How many miles? Or more importantly, how long does the ride take in those conditions? Then again, I'm still refining my gear, and I might be able to tolerate lower temperatures this winter. Winter hasn't come here yet.
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Old 10-30-19, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@BobbyG, that looks too cold for me. How many miles? Or more importantly, how long does the ride take in those conditions? Then again, I'm still refining my gear, and I might be able to tolerate lower temperatures this winter. Winter hasn't come here yet.
That route is 8.6 miles and takes about 40 minutes on dry pavement at an average speed of 13 to 14 miles an hour. With the studded snow tires on the dry pavement it takes 45 minutes. And in the snow it takes 50 minutes or more depending. On the way home it is uphill and takes about 10 minutes more. I forgot the exact time into the office Monday, but I do remember it took me 58 minutes to get home.

The next day, Tuesday, they had predicted 4 in of snow in the afternoon, and I usually only ride up to 3 in since anything above that slows me down to walking speed. And then today, Wednesday I had a work commitment and then after work commitment.

My new low temperature threshold is 7 degrees Fahrenheit, and I wanted to push it down to five this winter. However it was 4 degrees yesterday morning, and it is too early in the year for that kind of cold.

Even so, it's dry here so you don't feel the cold like you do in New York, or Chicago, where I spent two 1-week stretcheslast winter. I was downtown right on the lake and it was the coldest 20 degrees I have ever felt.

Last edited by BobbyG; 10-31-19 at 06:33 AM.
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Old 10-30-19, 08:20 PM
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Very cool! What are the pads you have on the tops of the bar?
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Old 10-30-19, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@BobbyG, that looks too cold for me. How many miles? Or more importantly, how long does the ride take in those conditions? Then again, I'm still refining my gear, and I might be able to tolerate lower temperatures this winter. Winter hasn't come here yet.
I know you're a regular commuter, so you probably don't need this advice, but I find that it helps a lot to ride steadily through the fall and into December, and get acclimated to the cold a few degrees at a time. Starting a winter cycling regimen in mid-January is pretty tough.

We've got snow on the ground in Madison, and might have more tonight! I've got my new winter bike all prepped and ready to go. Yahoo!
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Old 10-31-19, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by sam21fire View Post
Very cool! What are the pads you have on the tops of the bar?
Those are foam pipe insulators, still under a buck a foot. I developed "crampy" hands in my 40s and kept adding padding to my gloves until I relized I need to pad the bar and just use regular gloves.
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Old 10-31-19, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Those are foam pipe insulators, still under a buck a foot. I developed "crampy" hands in my 40s and kept adding padding to my gloves until I relized I need to pad the bar and just use regular gloves.
Ok, cool thanks. I've been going through the same problems.
Sam
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Old 10-31-19, 09:46 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Today's commute was 17F and snowy with2" of powder and an underlayer of ice.

It was the first snow and ice ride with the studded snow tires since I converted my winter bike to drop-bars.

It worked beautifully….I nailed the clothing and layers, not too cold, not too hot.

God, I love bike commuting!
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
+10. My motto for Winter cycling (commuting only) is Gear and Gumption. We probably won’t see those conditions until January.
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@BobbyG, that looks too cold for me. How many miles? Or more importantly, how long does the ride take in those conditions? Then again, I'm still refining my gear, and I might be able to tolerate lower temperatures this winter. Winter hasn't come here yet.
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
That route is 8.6 miles and takes about 40 minutes on dry pavement at an average speed of 13 to 14 miles an hour. With the studded snow tires on the dry pavement it takes 45 minutes. And in the snow it takes 50 minutes or more depending.

On the way home it is uphill and takes about 10 minutes more. I forgot the exact time into the office Monday, but I do remember it took me 58 minutes to get home….

My new low temperature threshold is 7 degrees Fahrenheit, and I wanted to push it down to five this winter. However it was 4 degrees yesterday morning, and it is too early in the year for that kind of cold.

Even so, it's dry here so you don't feel the cold like you do in New York, or Chicago, where I spent two 1-week stretcheslast winter. I was downtown right on the lake and it was the coldest 20 degrees I have ever felt.
Thanks for that aditional description, @BobbyG. I have previously posted:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…my second innovation for eye protection is …

I have also often suggested that any recommendations for winter riding include description of the conditions in which they are employed, i.e. lowest temperature and distance…
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
IME, and from reading numerous posts on the subject, there are three basic methods for preventing fogging, caused by exhaled moist air onto the cold surface of the eyeglasses and goggles:…
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Old 10-31-19, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Today's commute was 17F and snowy with2" of powder and an underlayer of ice
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…We probably won’t see those conditions until January…
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Then again, I'm still refining my gear, and I might be able to tolerate lower temperatures this winter. Winter hasn't come here yet.
Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I know you're a regular commuter, so you probably don't need this advice, but I find that it helps a lot to ride steadily through the fall and into December, and get acclimated to the cold a few degrees at a time.

Starting a winter cycling regimen in mid-January is pretty tough.
I recently posted about the transition, to this Winter Cycling thread,”Winter is right around the corner.”
Originally Posted by ZIPP2001 View Post
The arm warmers have been on for a month now, and the leg warmers have made a couple visits already. Winter is just a hop skip and jump away, and I'm can't wait to go play in the snow.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
On several threads, I have posted my slogan for winter riding, “Gear and Gumption,” obviously mostly clothing. For me, it takes a while to make the transition between warm and cold and vice versa.
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Seems like every year when the temperatures drops I have to rethink about what I did the previous year that worked for that particular temperature.

So this year I'm putting together a chart for myself as a guide forwhat to wear for the range of temperatures in 5*C increments. Hopefully it'll take some of the thinking out of the whole production.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
The way I organize my winter dress is by levels (link), 1 to 6. (I got that scale from whitewater rafting, where difficulty of a river is rated from 1 to 6, and it works for me). The levels do not mean layers, but the combination of gear for temperature intervals, in increments of about 10 degrees F

The level makes the job of selecting clothing very easy for that decision to be made on the morning of a commute, without going outside. Sometimes I may bring along a piece of apparel from a higher level just in case.

The scheme is particularly useful at the change of seasons to remind me of what works. Also, I choose by ambient temperature and usually ignore the reported wind chill temp, because there always is a wind chill on the moving bike….
As for the bicycle, the definitive transition to winter is mounting the studded tires, early in December, and removal signals winter is over, usually in late March.
and the pristine carbon fiber road bike goes into storage.
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Old 10-31-19, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I know you're a regular commuter, so you probably don't need this advice, but I find that it helps a lot to ride steadily through the fall and into December, and get acclimated to the cold a few degrees at a time. Starting a winter cycling regimen in mid-January is pretty tough.

We've got snow on the ground in Madison, and might have more tonight! I've got my new winter bike all prepped and ready to go. Yahoo!
There are at least two elements of handing bad weather: preparation and acclimation. And preparation depends, to a degree, on acclimation. I'm bad at handling the kind of days which we only get five or ten of, and I notice the same is true of many people in places of various climates. In a sense, it's not worth the bother, since I don't encounter them often. I've ridden in 15ºF, but it's never been easy. One day, I wore enough clothes to stay warm enough, but I had to stop a lot to adjust things. I also took a lot of pictures on that ride, so I had to take clothes off to shoot and then put them back on. I rode in that very cold weather because it had been a long time since I was able to ride, and I was itching to ride. It wasn't a commute, it was a scenic ride in a state park. I did have fun, but it took effort.

But yes, I strongly agree, and that's why I'm trying to ride as much as possible while the weather gets more challenging. Today's forecast called for lots of rain, and I commuted to class anyway. I didn't get very wet. I thought since I might get wet, I would take Citi Bike instead of my own bike. I could switch to the subway whenever I want. I'm not sure I made the best choice, as Citi Bike is annoying to ride more than three miles, and my commute is five miles. But it's OK. At least I got to ride.
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Old 10-31-19, 12:47 PM
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Good stuff, @BobbyG. My winter bike, like all of my regularly-ridden bikes, has drop bars. I feel like that occasionally works against maneuverability in deep snow by putting too much weight on the front wheel, however. I flirt with converting to North Road bars or similar in the winter but haven't done it yet.
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Old 10-31-19, 02:40 PM
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Love the bike, love your attitude. That looks like a great day out on a bike.

I'm curious about the ice inside your lenses .. are those frozen tears? That's a lot of ice there. Tears of joy maybe.

I guess that's a yellow diffuser on a helmet-mounted light?
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Old 10-31-19, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
Love the bike, love your attitude. That looks like a great day out on a bike.

I'm curious about the ice inside your lenses .. are those frozen tears? That's a lot of ice there. Tears of joy maybe.

I guess that's a yellow diffuser on a helmet-mounted light?
It's a orange translucent tube made by cutting the bottom off a Rx container. I stuck it on the end of the helmet light where it glows to create more visibility from the side. In this photo it's filled with snow.

I clean my glasses with handsoap and water which inibits fogging, but after a minute or so of standing, they fog a little, which clears up after getting moving again.
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Old 11-01-19, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
In this photo it's filled with snow.
So, longitudinal frozen precipitation sample return container. And a light. Cool.
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Old 11-01-19, 08:02 AM
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Can't wait to get some snow, end of next week we should have a tiny bit here in Montreal! Will be my 6th winter of Montreal winter cycling (before only in mid Europe with milder winters, so these don't count), my first winter was the best with constant -15°C and some dips to -25°C, last year was too much melting in between and ice. I love cycling through fresh snow after a massive snow storm (or in it) while all the cars are basically stopped. Or on dry, sunny -15°C to -20°C days. Summer is definitely too warm for me here...

For now commuting with flat bars and thin knobby tyres since spikes don't fit, but next year I'll be on drops and spikes! I'll try out some dirt drops, where the drops flare a bit wider (none of the extreme 30° models, just a moderate 12°), let's see if this helps in snow.
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