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Cold and Rusty...

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Cold and Rusty...

Old 12-07-21, 10:00 AM
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BobbyG
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Cold and Rusty...

I bike commuted year round for 28 years ending last winter. Seven years ago I pushed my cold temperature limit from 21F down to 11F. Six years ago I bought studded tires and began riding in the snow again after many, many years. I then continued to push my cold temp threshold down to 5F.

But I have been working for myself from home for the last year. So I have the "luxury" of riding in the middle of the day when it is warmer. Plus the beginning of this winter (Nov/Dec 2021) has been unusually mild here in Colorado, so I hadn't been riding in temps below 45F.

But yesterday it started out at 15F and hit 23F by 10am which was the projected high temp. I dressed how I thought I remembered to dress for that temperature. But I miscalculated my hands and feet. I wore my bike shirt and shorts underneath my long bike pants, a weird poly-blend long-sleeve shirt that has worked for me for 15 years, a windbreaker over that, with a light balaclava and headband over my ears.

But I took my mid-weight gloves instead of my heaviest gloves. And I stayed with just regular socks instead of doubling them, or going wool. I was certain...CERTAIN this was all I needed.

I found that for successful winter bike commuting I should dress for when my body is warmed up, about 10-15 minutes into the ride. But while my core warmed up as expected, my hands and feet were colder than I would have liked...uncomfortably cold and slightly painful actually.

Had I been commuting as in years past I would have planned for the possibility of much colder temps on the return ride, and would have my commute bag packed with warmer gloves and extra layers, socks, etc. which I could pull out and don in a miscalculation situation such as this. In fact, I considered checking bikeforums, since I have posted my winter cycling clothing strategy and levels here before...but I thought "I got this".

As it was I had my small, trunk-style bag with a pair of lighter gloves and an extra top layer. Neither of which I needed.

So I cut my hour ride to 40 minutes.

I was upset that I miscalculated dressing for the weather. I was depressed that I no longer have a daily bike commute or an office to go to. And I considered that a month shy of 60 years old, perhaps my cold-weather resilience is waning.

But after a warm shower and lunch I began to look forward to a cold-weather "rematch". My studded tires are aired and mounted on a second set of wheels, ready for snow, and I am ready to get back out there in the 20s, the teens and the single digits and find that sweet spot where I am cool, but not cold, warm, but not hot and experiencing that intoxicating awareness that I dressed just right.
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Old 12-07-21, 10:58 AM
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I'm cold sitting at my desk right now. who in there right mind would ride a bike this time of year?
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Old 12-07-21, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
But after a warm shower and lunch I began to look forward to a cold-weather "rematch". My studded tires are aired and mounted on a second set of wheels, ready for snow, and I am ready to get back out there in the 20s, the teens and the single digits and find that sweet spot where I am cool, but not cold, warm, but not hot and experiencing that intoxicating awareness that I dressed just right.
nice summary & nice reminder(s). we know you got this
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Old 12-07-21, 03:14 PM
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Half the battle is figuring out clothing. Handlebar pogies are now a must have for me (you can put the hand warmers in them too), along with proper winter cycling boots. I am truly less cold biking at very cold temperatures than getting the car with my suit on.
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Old 12-07-21, 03:24 PM
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I would never be depressed that I no longer have a daily bike commute or an office to go to.

Just drive. Lot easier and warmer.

Last edited by prj71; 12-07-21 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 12-07-21, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
I would never be was depressed that I no longer have a daily bike commute or an office to go to.

Just drive. Lot easier and warmer.
Ha! The winter traffic is a nightmare and with the right clothing, it's not any warmer to drive.
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Old 12-07-21, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
Ha! The winter traffic is a nightmare and with the right clothing, it's not any warmer to drive.
Well, after idling for 20-30 minutes your engine gets warm and you're not freezing any more. Although sitting in traffic is depressing to me...
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Old 12-08-21, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
Ha! The winter traffic is a nightmare and with the right clothing, it's not any warmer to drive.
Of course it's warmer to drive. No wind to deal with. No rain, snow or slush kicking up all over your clothing.

What's winter traffic?
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Old 12-08-21, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
What's winter traffic?
May be different where you live. Down here, winter traffic (as when there's snow or ice) is a mixture of morons who can't do more than 25 mph on plowed, salted, limited access roads, and idiots who don't need to slow down because they've got 4WD. The result is predictable: miles long traffic tie ups while the cops, wreckers, and ambulances taking hours to try to straighten everything out.
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Old 12-08-21, 08:53 AM
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Crazy.

I might pass one car on my commute to work. Benefits of living in a town with a ~10k population.
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Old 12-09-21, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
I might pass one car on my commute to work. Benefits of living in a town with a ~10k population.
So you're used to winter, just not traffic?
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Old 12-10-21, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
So you're used to winter, just not traffic?
I grew up in the U.P. of Michigan and then moved 2 hours south to Northern WI in 1992. I've been dealing with winter and cold temps for 41 years.

Traffic...it's not a thing except for 2 places in this state. Milwaukee and Madison...Two places I avoid like the plague.

I saw exactly zero cars on my commute to work this morning.
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