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Jul 24, 2001 11:43 AM
I've been watching OLN a lot this past month or so... leading up to the tour, there were numerous broadcasts of "Road To Paris," the 47-minute documentary detailing the training and spring races of US Postal. I keep going back to those images of Lance riding in the cold weather... I think this year, rather than putting my bikes in the back bedroom about mid-October, I'd like to try and keep riding.

I live in northeast Kansas, the Flint Hills area. Not the Pyrenees, by any stretch, but they give you a little bit to chew on. And then there is the wind...

So what do I need to do? I'll obviously need to invest in some tights, a decent jacket, gloves. I have plenty of long-sleeved t-shirts already. Would I need to do anything different to the bike? Wider tires? I actually have both a road bike and a mountain bike to choose from, fwiw.

Any suggestions along the lines of gear & training for the winter ahead would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! :)

Large Cyclist
Jul 24, 2001 12:14 PM
You will also need booties, polypropelene socks and a bacalavah(sp?) which basically covers your head and has a cutout for your eyes. I would also recommend getting a heavy long sleeve jersey. I wouldn't recommend any special gearing for your winter workouts, however, during the really cold months you probably don't want to go anareobic. Your best bet is to do one high intensity indoor workout and pray for a heat wave.
New Zealand, Tasmania or Australia ;-) (nm)MeDotOrg
Jul 24, 2001 12:50 PM
Or, Hawaii nm)DINOSAUR
Jul 24, 2001 2:03 PM
Hmmmmm....grzy mnky
Jul 24, 2001 2:04 PM
Give serious thought to cross country skiing and/or snow shoeing. Both are huge aerobic workouts and get you outside on days when riding might be nuts. You make the most of the adverse conditions. Skinny bike tires on icy pot holed roads is no fun. I grew up in New England and have too many days of riding in crappy weather, but doing it does build character. I think I have enough to last me a while longer....

You really need to think "layers". Moisture wicking removal, insulation, and finally wind stopping shell. You can get a skull cap under your helmet with the new Giro Roc Loc system. Cross country ski gloves and socks would work well as well as the neoprene booties. You gotta keep the head and torso warm or else your extremities will always be cold. Goes along with that saying: if your feet are cold, put on a hat.

Then you have to think about traction - you can get studded bike tires and even chains! I'd advise you ride a MTB for better clearence over the frame and a more upright position for control. No point in trashing a nice road bike. Do they use salt where you live? If so maybe only ride a beater. Throw some fenders on so you can avoid the muddy "racing stripe" down your backside.

Just thinking about all this makes skiing, snow shoeing, lap swimming, and a resistance trainer look a whole lot better. I set my trainer up in the garage (with a wood stove) and ran cable out to a small TV. I can watch movies, listen to tunes or even read while it's storming outside and I click off time on the trainer.

Man I really didn't want to think about this stuff in July.
Hmmmmm....Car Magnet
Jul 24, 2001 2:33 PM
Grzy's on the money. Layers, Layers, and more Layers.
Base layer (wicking), thermal layer and wind stopping layer. Neoprene shoe covers are good. Both Giordana and Pearl Izumi have good cold weather gear. One other thing, make sure you got the right lube on your components, as some lubes are not designed for the cold. I would also give thought to a trainer as the poster above mentioned.
Do it like this guy...Jofa
Jul 24, 2001 3:03 PM
He ain't mucking around:

Follow the link, it's worth it. An Extract...

In some conditions, running into a snow bank on the side
will stop you quickly, easily, and safely. If you're going
too fast, you might want to dive off of the bicycle over the
side. Only do this when the snow bank is soft. Make sure
that there isn't a car hidden under that soft snow. Don't
jump into fire hydrants either."

A bike commuter that makes me look like a wannabe!Mabero
Jul 25, 2001 10:45 AM
that story is amazing! How could does it have to be to freeze a popsicle to your lips!
Tasmania is a state of Australia! (nm)Dutchy
Jul 24, 2001 3:50 PM
A resource you MUST use...curtis
Jul 24, 2001 4:31 PM
I tried winter commuting for the first time last winter and will continue to do so. I put slicks on my MTB, added more lights than I thought I would need (2 on the bars, one on the helmet, a red flasher on the back of the helmet and a strobe in my pack), layered up and hit the road. My fair weather commute on a road bike takes 45-50 mins. In the winter it takes an hour and 15 mins. You decide...

If you DO decide to try it, you MUST visit As far as I've seen, it's the definitive resource for those of us crazy enough to try this.

Good luck (you're gonna need it ;) )
Jul 24, 2001 4:53 PM
Anything that you plan on using as a layer that is cotton, use it to start the fire afterwards. Windfront tights, clear plastic tape over the front vent holes of helmet, gortex booties or overshoes. Mainly keeping head, hands, and feet warm. I myself will stay indoors unless it is freeze dried outside on the rollers.
Unrelated Question for you, Large Cyclist...Haiku d'état
Jul 25, 2001 5:21 AM
Have you ridden or been involved in the Flinthills Death Ride, AKA Matfield Green 100k (mountain bike extravaganza)?

I've given this some thought as an event goal for next year.

Jul 25, 2001 11:35 AM
and I have admit... that year, I did "finish"* the ride.

The disclaimer there being that there was a lot of rain in the days leading up to the event, including rain the night before and morning of. If you've read the web site, you know that there's a "standard course" and a "short course" that is optional for early riders, mandatory for anyone who doesn't make the cutoff by noon. In 1998, they had to close down the outer rim of the course because many of the low-water and creek crossings were impassable... so everyone did the short course that year. But they still handed out medals, so I have one hanging on the wall in my office. And because of bad timing, I haven't been able to do one since.

John Hobbs, the event's founder and long-time director, passed the torch over to some new folks. I'll be interested in seeing what people have to say about the event, now that it's under new management.

I'd say go for it, though. Find some country roads near where you live, and get accustomed to long sessions out on those roads. Don't focus on speed and distance, as much as time. Four hours one Saturday, then 4.5 hours the next Saturday, then five hours... you really need to accustom your body to being out in the heat that long. The scenery is very nice, though... and it's not all flat.

Drop me a line if you like...

Large Cyclist
what to getRusty McNasty
Jul 25, 2001 7:18 AM
A balaclava and a dicky are good things to get. you will also want good gloves, and a coat which is snug (so the wind don't blow thru you), windbreaker pants, lots of wool socks. road shoes will get all junked up, so i would suggest either taking an old pair of boots and screwing cleats into them, or else put toeclips (bend them to fit a boot) so you can ride in a clunky old boot.
Of course, you don't want to use a good bike on cr@p-covered streets, so get an old hybrid or an unsprung mtb. put drop bars on it. get good winter tires for it (i use studded hakka's). don't try for speed, and clean the bike as often as you can. oil the chain often (i find that diesel fuel is the best lube for really cold temperatures).