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does anyone ride in sub-30 degree temps?(22 posts)

does anyone ride in sub-30 degree temps?weezy
Dec 31, 2001 12:18 PM
I need to know if it is safe to ride in sub-30 degree temperatures... How do you dress? What do you wear for face protection? any special tights or shoes or gloves?

Is there a temperature below which you will not ride? Why?

Thanks a bunch.
I have, although 30 seems a pretty good line to draw. I usedbill
Dec 31, 2001 12:25 PM
a base layer of polypro, a jersey layer, a fleece layer, and a windbreaker over the top. Tights. Neoprene booties. Ear warmers (I've got thick hair). Wasn't too bad. Seemed kind of tough on the lungs, though. Also have to look out for black ice.
i dont ride below 60, with the wind its cold enoughsurf
Dec 31, 2001 12:27 PM
re: does anyone ride in sub-30 degree temps?SkinnyFatMan
Dec 31, 2001 12:38 PM

Bill is right on. I usually draw the line below 30, because the cold combined with the wind takes the enjoyment out of it. And, yes, breathing does hurt.

I have ridden in 30+ temps before with the type of clothing Bill recommends with tremendous success. I felt fine and it's a blast being outside on a day when everyone else is inside.

Give it a try by riding close to home at first to see if you like it.

Good luck
Yep...Andy M-S
Dec 31, 2001 1:03 PM

Shorts, tights, LS jersey, windbreaker, balaclava under the helmet, wool socks in non-ventilated shoes, insulated leather gloves. Oh, and three plastic bags--one for a central windblock location where frostbite can really hurt, and one for each foot.

I've ridden down to the low '20s in this outfit without any real trouble. Just watch out for ice patches...
next question: do these people make it back? :) nmmr_spin
Dec 31, 2001 1:05 PM
All the timeThe General
Dec 31, 2001 1:07 PM
The worst part is going down hill. I love to climb in the cold but you work up a pretty good sweat and can get chilled going down hill. I have a pair of windstopper tights for the legs, Smartwool socks, Gortext socks, Neoprene booties for the feet and I will usually layer a jersey, arm warmers, fleece, vest and a rain jacket for my upper body. Glasses, head band and even a helemt cover will work geat for the head. For the hands I use a pair of liner gloves under a water/wind proof mitten type glove.

Just make sure you don't make anything to tight on your feat or hands or you will cut off the circulation and get really cold.

I you like to mountain bike it is a great alternative since you don't usually pick up the speed like on a road bike and you usually are working the whole ride.

I have ridden in temps as a low as 3deg without the windchill and not had any problems. You do burn more calories when it is cold so plan a little shorter rides and take plenty of water and food.

Ride on,
The General
Big respect for century ridersCrankist
Dec 31, 2001 1:10 PM
At ~ 30 F. I finshed a 50+ mile solo ride yesterday with dreary skies, light wind and the ocassional light rain.
I wanted to feel lonely and pathetic, but sadly had to settle for refreshed and determined (yes, Irish). Dressed as Bill suggested (+one additional layer) my biggest problem was a sore lower back during the long uphills.
My Gore-Tex gloves were still too warm and the only prob. with the feet was an occasional lazy reluctance to spinning. Pulled leg muscles are a concern in the cold so I drop the heels to stretch every few miles, and I make it a point to take a long pull off the bottle at the same time (then I get the water :)) Anyway, I remain impressed with those who double up on that mileage. For now it will have to remain a goal for 2003, as the 2002 goal is a metric century.
Have Fun,
My cut off is 0.STEELYeyed
Dec 31, 2001 1:19 PM
Below 35 I ride a MTB,with tires at about 20psi.for traction and also to keep my speed down,to keep the windchill down. take off all jewelry as the cold metal will draw heat out of your body. Aside from layering,your hands,face and feet are the hardest to keep warm. Call me crazy but I have always enjoyed cold weather conditioning,it must stir up something in my French-Canadian ancestory.
Windstopper fleece!!DT
Dec 31, 2001 1:25 PM
Last winter I bought a Moonstone windstopper fleece shell wasn't a cycling-specific jacket, but damn if it doesn't perform like one! It has extra long arms, and from the inside of the wrists all the way up the arm down to the waistband is a 1.5 inch wide mesh strip to let you breathe. I rode today in 26-F weather with a bit of wind, and I had a thin poly-pro vest and poly-pro longsleeve top under the jacket and I was a bit warm for 38 miles. I have North Face windstopper gloves that work just as well, and gore-tex socks with liners (my feet were a bit cold, but not unbearable). On my legs I wore shorts with Nike cotton jogging takes a lot for my legs to get cold. Earwarmer topped it all off. Felt great! I've ridden in the teens with this outfit and felt fine. Don't have to worry about ice too much here in Mississippi.
That's about when I get out the mountain bikecory
Dec 31, 2001 1:35 PM
Don't often have long stretches below 30 around here, so it's not necessary. I've done it, but exposed skin gets mighty cold when it's 18 degrees and you're coasting down a long hill.
Fortunately I live in a good MB area, so we can go offroad when it's cold. No packed ice to worry about, speeds are lower so less wind, and a lot of the time you're climbing, so you stay warm.
re: does anyone ride in sub-30 degree temps?Tri-State Cycler
Dec 31, 2001 1:45 PM
Yup, just got back in from the great outdoors (27f 17f w/wcf). I like to wear PI base layer with a jersey, armwarmers, thermal bibtights and jacket with windtex front. For the feet, smartwool and thermal socks with neoprene booties or plastic bags when needed. For the hands, polypro liner with PI long finger gloves. For the head and face, either a balaclava or neoprene mask with fleece hat. Goretex stuff is real nice but real expensive. I would agree with everybody else about the dangers of black ice or any ice for that matter.
re: does anyone ride in sub-30 degree temps?hrv
Dec 31, 2001 1:54 PM
Why not? Especially if it's relatively dry out. Went for a 1 hour ride yesterday (36F), had lunch, then went windsurfing (gusts to 50; part of strength training!). Just celebrating life!

Dec 31, 2001 2:53 PM
-How do you dress?

Warm without sweating to death. Experiment.

-What do you wear for face protection?

A hockey mask.

Just kidding. A balaclava. Not to be confused with baclava. That could get messy if you have a beard.

-any special tights or shoes or gloves?

Lotsa wool. Warm boots. Layered gloves. Windstopper stuff is good for a shell type outer glove and again, wool underneath.

-Is there a temperature below which you will not ride?

No. It isn't really a temperature isuue so much as a road conditions issue. If you would be wary driving in it, then I would be wary riding in it.


Black ice is the work of the Devil.


Did a road ride today at about 18 degreesTrypsin
Dec 31, 2001 2:56 PM
I think it was 22 when I started but it was almost dark when I got back and the temp had dropped some. Sounds like all the other posters have the dress correct. One thing I like to do is warm up, in normal cycling clothes, on my rollers for about 20 minutes inside. I got about 2 hrs outside on the road bike today with 20 min on the rollers before and 15 min after. I was pretty cold by the end so the indoor roller ride really helps to warm back up. I've also found that mountain biking in the cold is a warmer alternative.
re: does anyone ride in sub-30 degree temps?mackgoo
Dec 31, 2001 3:45 PM
It looks like on my current mount this is about as low as I can go. I have Aero-Lite pedals wich us a nylon type material cleat that friction fits on to what amounts to a pedal spindle. any way when it gets real cold that nylon gets very hard. It took me 5 minutes to get the cleat around the pedal today.
When I get the cross bike going with egg beaters all will be well.
re: does anyone ride in sub-30 degree temps?p1rana
Dec 31, 2001 4:01 PM
i dont know if it is becasue im new to riding but anything below 60 makes my lungs freeze, or maybe its just cause im used to hot fl air.
Dec 31, 2001 4:20 PM
And besides cold toes and finger and maybe your face, it's pretty easy to over dress. After a while, it can get pretty dam sweaty.
All the long as there is no ice on the road...then...Geof
Dec 31, 2001 4:37 PM
I get out my mnt bike...
Ride at least to the low 20's ...Humma Hah
Dec 31, 2001 7:22 PM
I rode home tonight with the bank's thermometer reading 24 F. Last night, my bike's computer said 23 F. I was sweating on both rides.

I'm not sure what I'd use on really long rides. My commutes tend to be about 8 miles, maybe a little more. I wear "steet clothes", a strap around my right pants cuff to keep it out of the chainwheel, a sweater and/or sweatshirt, and a windbreaker. The last two rides I've worn thermal underwear.

Tonight I left the helmet at home, took my shepherd's hat. Made of fine lamb's fleece, it is warm enough for arctic explorers. Riding with a helmet, you'll want something to cover your ears.

The catch is, my windbreaker does not breath worth a toot, and after 8 miles it is dripping wet with condensed sweat. My feet tend to be cold (after a long day, my shoes are usually a bit damp). I wear leather gloves, fleece-lined, great for short rides but would get damp on longer ones.

The real challenge is keeping dry on longer rides. Eventually, if the sweat gets you damp, the cold will get to you. If you have to stop and remain inactive outdoors, it may KILL you.

I have not ridden below the 20's lately. I used to ride into the teens, on occasion, in college. It can be done, but its a miserable experience, done out of necessity.
To minus-10 .... CelsiusBrian C.
Jan 1, 2002 8:55 AM
(To convert to Fahrenheit, multiple by 9/5 and add 32: ie.. -10 X 9/5 = -18 + 32 = 14 F.)
I don't own a car and sometimes I'm too lazy to walk, so it's only out of necessity that I'd venture out on a bike when it's that cold. There's good, light, high-tech, insulated clothing out there today and that keeps the body warm. The only tricky spot is the face and ears. A balaclava and head band or tight fitting toque are a must. When the temperate gets up to -5 C. (24 F.), a balaclava is a bit overkill. But, I apply a good moisturizing cream on my face to guard against wind burn.
I've said it before, man, I can hardly wait for spring.
Tried it on Saturday and survivedhms
Jan 1, 2002 10:25 AM
My usual cutoff is about 35 degrees. However, the sun was shining on Saturday and I could not resist a ride even though the thermometer at my house said it was 27 degrees. I had a thoroughly enjoyable ride -- 14 miles to my office. The ride home, which was late in the afternoon when it was warmer (35 degrees) but not as sunny was much less enjoyable (I had headwinds too).

I agree with most of that which has been said above about layering, etc. You just have to experiment with the things you have. I have found that I often wear too much and begin to perspire within a few miles of my start rather than wear too little. The trickiest things are keeping your feet, hands and head warm -- the rest will take care of itself.

After my experience on Saturday and the posts above, I plan to do some more under-30 riding.

Happy New Year.