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Cycling in a Winter Wonderland(26 posts)

Cycling in a Winter WonderlandMB1
Dec 8, 2002 6:28 PM
It has been a couple of years since the DC area has had a good snowfall. Thursday's storm dumped 6+ inches of snow for miles around. Got to take advantage of it while we can. One thing for sure we want to ride in the country where there is a lot less traffic and room for the plows to dump the snow.

Hmmm..."I think I'll just ride no hands while I take this one, hope there is no ice on the road."
Dec 8, 2002 6:30 PM
We shop for weather on the internet. Unless we have something specifically planned I'll usually check out the temps, wind speed and direction before we decide where to ride. Saturday was going to be cold and windy. Looked like Frederick, Maryland would be the warmest spot to start from, we will ride up towards Gettysburg.

Oh, that's going to hurt. It got down to about 3 overnight but had warmed up to 7 by the time we started out.
Better put on another layer.MB1
Dec 8, 2002 6:32 PM
Since we ride almost every day of the year we are fairly prepared for any weather condition. Still, riding 100 miles is a lot different than a 10-15 mile commute. Unlike commuting at some point in a hundred mile ride you are going to be a long way from the car or anyplace to warm up and get dry-so you have to carry everything you think you may need with you.

We have found the key for us to be comfortable riding in really cold weather is to not get too hot or cold. We layer a lot so we can adjust our clothing during the day as the temps and wind change.
Saturday morning, mile 10.MB1
Dec 8, 2002 6:34 PM
You hop out of the car and get riding as soon as you can. Any exposed skin is going to really hurt for a while until your body warms up with the exercise. I always that just about the time my core temperature starts to ride my hands are really cold-with the rolling hills Saturday that was about 5 miles. By the 10 mile point we were starting to unzip a little bit.

Man there is a lot of snow out there.
Saturday Mile 20MB1
Dec 8, 2002 6:36 PM
We stopped at around mile 16 to take a few clothes off. I shed one set of glove liners and head covering. Miss M ditched her arm warmers and her outer jacket. That was all the clothes we needed to take off for the whole day-it never got above freezing and there was a fairly brisk wind.
Plowed InMB1
Dec 8, 2002 6:38 PM
When we crossed into Pennsylvania I stopped to flip our cue sheet and this plow got between Miss M and I. Notice the tire chains, even the plows were having problems with the deep snow.
Dec 8, 2002 6:40 PM
Sunday the forecast called for 15-25 mph winds around Gettysburg so we rode in Virginia horse country south of Manassas where there were supposed to be no winds at all. One good thing, the weather was going to be 10 degrees warmer than Saturday but we weren't going to have much sun.

Clearly very little of the snow had melted yet.
Dec 8, 2002 6:42 PM
Some of the roads in Virginia weren't cleared all that well. Good thing I installed the fenders. Just about the last thing you want to get on a winter day is wet. With the fenders we stayed nice and dry.
Late Sunday AfternoonMB1
Dec 8, 2002 6:44 PM
Since we cut our Saturday ride short (because of our late start, the high winds and the cold) we really wanted to get a century in on Sunday. What with the overcast skis it was starting to get dark while we still had 10 miles to go. Sure we had lights on our bikes but we really didn't want to be out in the dark if we could avoid it.

Miss M putting the hammer down to make sure we finish before dark.
Miss M in a fighting mood!MB1
Dec 8, 2002 6:45 PM
Well we made it back before dark and Miss M had enough energy left for a snowball fight.

What a nice weekend of riding.
MB1 (and the Mrs.) How many miles did you do? NMeyebob
Dec 9, 2002 5:25 AM
Take Nestor's miles and multiply by 4. Or so he says. ;-)MB1
Dec 9, 2002 6:02 AM
We do all the miles.

Miss M about 10% more than my 17,000+ this year.
NO, no, no. How many miles did you do this w/e? NMeyebob
Dec 9, 2002 6:41 AM
325/wk at 6 days or riding per week gives 17K. Yikes! NMeyebob
Dec 9, 2002 6:50 AM
325/wk at 6 days or riding per week gives 17K. Yikes! NMDutchy
Dec 9, 2002 4:25 PM
I believe it is 17,000 miles not kilometres.
82 Saturday, 100 Sunday.MB1
Dec 9, 2002 6:56 AM
We started too late on Saturday to get a hoped for century in so we were both pleased to get a Century on Sunday.

Miss M wanted to ride till it was dark on Sunday but I figured 100 was enough. Hmmm...perhaps that was the reason for the snowball!
172 miles more than I did this
Dec 9, 2002 7:03 AM
I felt virtuous because I got out and rode ten miles on Saturday before I called it quits. I did not see another bike on the roads all weekend (and I spent a lot of time on the roads in my car doing pre-Christmas errands). The two of you never cease to amaze me. If my head would not freeze, I would take my hat off for you.
Not all that amazing really.MB1
Dec 9, 2002 7:17 AM
We are 2 adults who are healthy and a little adventurous. Once Miss M convinced me (a few years ago) that she is much happier exercising every day and she figured out that cycling is my favorite exercise we just slowly figured out a way to make it work for both of us.

Riding in most weather is not that much of a problem if you have the equipment and experience. Over the last few years we have aquired both. Plus enough sense to not get in over our heads.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that you can ride all year long if you want to and go about it carefully. The other thing we have going for us is having a partner to do all this with. It is much safer and easier to do all this riding with a partner.
Burn out?Fez
Dec 9, 2002 7:34 AM
Wow, I'm amazed at how you can go out and ride yearround.

Do you ever feel:

1. Unmotivated or burnt out
2. Tired/overtrained/fatigued
3. Injured/sore

I ride far less and experience all of the above at times
Every Monday, usually fine by Wednesday.MB1
Dec 9, 2002 7:41 AM
Having goals helps. Passing every one of your goals by the end of the year requires new goals.

Some of my new goals for this year.

Turn the odometer on my Bianchi for the second time this year.

A century for every day of the week, plus a century for every week of the year, plus a century for every month.

Another snow ride.
Dec 9, 2002 7:50 AM
What kind of speeds are you and Miss M averaging on these long, cold weekend rides?

A couple of years ago I rode a lot in the coldest months of winter and after about 50 I had enough. My speeds were ok (provided the winds were tame) but I had trouble staying warm and dry after that.
Well I think it is!noveread
Dec 9, 2002 7:57 AM
I rode outside yesterday (this time of year, only one outside ride a week if I'm very lucky). It was 18 degrees. I lasted 1hr15min. My feet were cold (smart wool and two pairs neoprene) and my fingers were cold.

I would enjoy riding outside more in the winter if I could find a way to keep my feet warmer. A canoe trip I did in the NWT a few years ago seems to have made my feet very weak against the cold. What would you suggest for feet in cold weather riding? I was really hoping two pairs of neoprene were going to do the trick.

Also, what tires do you use?


You have to experiment.MB1
Dec 9, 2002 8:15 AM
Ihe Icebike website recommends insulated work boots with toe clips and straps for really cold weather. Those guys are nuts though, we never ride in weather that cold-might be worth a try if you want to ride in the cold and are having problems with your feet.

I use a pair of Lake winter cycling shoes with one pair of smart wool socks. Miss M uses a pair of smart wool socks and neopreme booties.

One thing that helps is to keep your core and head temp up and let your extremities be slightly cool. I like to make sure my legs are warm too (I speculate that having warm blood flowing to my feet helps keep them comfortable).

Make sure your shoes aren't too tight and that there is plenty of room to wiggle your toes.

We pretty much run heavy tires year 'round to limit flats. Conti Grand Pris on Miss M's 26" wheel Rivendell, Performance Forte Kevlar 700X26 on my Bianchi 'crosser.

BTW the Icebiker web site is great and where we got a lot of our ideas and it gave us a lot of encouragement to ride year around.
What did you drink?kyvdh
Dec 9, 2002 5:38 AM
I noticed the two water bottles with what looked like socks around them. What do you take to drink when it is that cold out that doesn't freeze or turn to slush?
Did you also have a hydration pack that is more insulated?
Just curious.

Put a pinch of salt in your water bottle. Bam! nmSlip Stream
Dec 9, 2002 5:51 AM
Slushy Gatorade on Saturday, cold Gatorade on Sunday.MB1
Dec 9, 2002 6:00 AM
On Saturday it was cold enough to make our Gatorade slushy, I kept a bottle in my jersey pocket which helped a little. At those temps water freezes but Gatorade seems to have a lower freezing point and just turns to slush. It is also important to have enough air space in the bottle to allow the fluid to expand (Miss M had a bottle explode on Saturday).

I tried using a Camelback on my first few winter rides when I moved here from SoCal. The hoses kept freezing and I didn't like having even more bulk underneath my outer layer. Since we don't drink all that much on really cold days I have never felt the need to continue to experiment with a Camelback.

Socks over the bottles works really well for us above Zero F which is the coldest I have ever ridden in (perhaps smart wool would be better ;-)).