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  1. #1
    Bedwards Of The West
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    The Long Cold Winter Commuter Support Thread

    Who else rides through the rain, sleet, snow, cold and dark of winter? We've begun our decent into the cold, dark months, the headlight is becoming a necessity, and it will be April or May before I am wearing shorts in the morning again. This morning it was 39 degrees...chilly, but nothing compared to what January will be like. I've been doing the year-round thing for 4 years now, and I have had no one to share the experience with. I thought it would be a good idea to have a thread where we could share war stories through the winter.

    Personally, I'm out there every day that the roads are plowed. I missed 5 days two years ago due to snow/ice, and 41 days last year because I broke my leg snowboarding. I keep track of my 'driving days' to work, and weather is no excuse (unless I use 4wd to get to work, I should have ridden). I always start to wonder during this time of year how cold it will get, and how long and dark the winter will seem. I also never forget the first day in the spring that the sun comes up during my bike ride to work. Glorious.

    Who else has made this kind of commitment, and how cold will your winter probably get? I think the coldest I've done is low single digits...I don't think it's been below zero for me yet, but that's a definate possibility. I have done 4 or 5 degrees a couple of times.

    Let the winter begin! Who's in this with me?
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  2. #2
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    Today is the first rain of fall here in the Puget Sound lowlands. Right now I am dealing w/ mounting a headlght around a handlebar bag. Later hassle will be deciding when/if to bother w/ mounting studded tires for the black ice season between Thanksgiving and New Year's (went on for months last year, usually it's only a week or 2). I know cry me a river it's not quite Duluth (pretty much never gets down even to the teens F) but...

  3. #3
    In the rear with the beer
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    You guys have my deepest respect! I just started commuting around Phoenix....the cold days are in the 60's....and it doesn't really rain. Not sure if I could hold onto my dedication in other parts of the country. Our calendar is kinda flipped...riding thru the 110 degree days in the summer are the big challenge.
    Salvation Outdoor
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  4. #4
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    I'll be commuting by bike for the first time this winter. It was pretty cold this morning...almost frost cold. My toes were very cold all the way in (12.5 mi). Time to get some neoprene booties. I also need some full-finger gloves and a balaclava. The rest of me was okay. Rain shell and long sleeve poly shirt worked well enough and my Pearl Izumi AmFIB tights were awesome. Here in Oregon, we get a lot of rain so that's my primary concern. I'm not going to ride 25 miles on ice.

  5. #5
    can't get here by wishin
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    me too!

    i have made it a goal to ride at least 4 out of the 5 days of the work week to work... it's 17 miles one way... so it's great for saving gas, staying in shape, and getting the message out to others that there are other ways of expending energy in a friendly, non-war for oil type manner... anyway, my question, and i'm sure this is not new... is how do i stay warm and dry on the bike through the rains here in oregon... i have rain gear now... but i still get some bleed through onto my pants and shorts... my upper body too also does not stay perfectly dry... and my gloves, which i've tried neoprene and others, once wet and with the wind.. are freezing... i just switched to gortex socks and they're a little better on my feet.. but my toes still get cold about 30 minutes into the ride...and pointers, words of wisdom?

  6. #6
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    Going on four years havn't missed a day....unless I go out of town, maybe 20 days in total.

    It is faster to ride in then fight traffic on a cold snowy day..

    Coldest -35 C without wind chill, had a 40 km/h wind in my face down the hill at 50 km/hr...

    But really if your dressed right it isn't too bad.

    The toughest part is fighting the car snot snow with deep ruts, gotta sit back and use your hips...

  7. #7
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfight
    anyway, my question, and i'm sure this is not new... is how do i stay warm and dry on the bike through the rains here in oregon... i have rain gear now... but i still get some bleed through onto my pants and shorts... my upper body too also does not stay perfectly dry... and my gloves, which i've tried neoprene and others, once wet and with the wind.. are freezing... i just switched to gortex socks and they're a little better on my feet.. but my toes still get cold about 30 minutes into the ride...and pointers, words of wisdom?

    The right fenders make a huge difference. Also anything that you can afford with goretex (pants, jacket)...there's nothing better in terms of being waterproof and letting you breathe, so you're not a sweat fest underneath. I've been through several sets of gloves...my current ones have gore windstopper fabric...they are like softshell material...they do get wet in a nasty rain, but they still block the wind, so it's not cold like it would be. They are Manzella brand. I wear snowboarding shells over them when it's below about 20 degrees.

    I wear a goretex jacket with a hood, and I wear the hood under my helmet. I have goretex pants, which work well, but still dump water onto your feet. I use neoprene socks...my shoes get soaked, but the feet stay dry, and they do a good job cutting the wind. I think they're warmer than the booties that go over the shoes.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  8. #8
    Slowly but surely...
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    Ah, I remember riding in that kind of stuff in Colorado. I'll still be commuting this winter, but in Vegas I guess that isn't such a big deal. I agree with bigdudecycling though. This summer was not much fun. I think the hottest I commuted in was 115. Ugh

    Stay warm and dry out there guys!
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.
    - Juli Furtado

  9. #9
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    I live in Wisconsin and don't use cars. I'm out there everyday. Luckily my class schedule this semester is such that I can sleep through the mornings. Class at 1pm everyday.

  10. #10
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    Here in Big D, it is doable. There's got to be some upside to all that heat in summer....

  11. #11
    Down South Yooper
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    UP, Michigan

    I've been commuting averaging 4-5 days a week since March of this year. Here in Marquette, on Lake Superior, it's not unusual to have winters of 200" to 300", possibly up to 400" of snow on a really heavy year.

    I'll probably commute into December, but will probably not make it all winter. Our second kid is due at the end of the year, and shuttling a newborn and a 2 year old around in the chariot won't really work in deep snow..

    I have to second the fenders though, they really make wet or snowy commutes 100% better. A few wet toes is a lot better than wet pants, wet shirt, etc. With the right layers, riding all winter isn't too bad. It sure is hard on drivetrain parts though, with all the wet/dry freeze thaw cycles.

    Plum
    This post is in 3B, three beers and it looks good eh!

  12. #12
    M_S
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    You guys are getting me depressed. It's early fall!

  13. #13
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    Been commuting since winter of '01/'02, and only the too-slick road conditions get me off the bike. Usually, that costs me a month or so over the period of mid-Dec. to mid-Feb. Snow too deep, or icy surfaces, just don't get it for me. That's what buses are for.

    Winter-weight tights under the work clothes, and the nylon rainsuit over them, at least the lowers -- all-weather jacket down to about +10F; layered coat below that. Poly winter socks, sometimes over my wicking Starter ankle-highs, keep the toes good. Ski mask and/or microfiber balaclava under the helmet.

    Fenders, absolutely!
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  14. #14
    Crunchatize me Capn'
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    Three years here in lower SW Michigan. Yeeuppp, fenders are a must. IMO, so is a winter beater bike if you do a lot of commuting. Something with midrange level components like Deore or Alivio. They're heavy but they're dependable and they work. Most important for me, replacement parts are just a lot cheaper.

  15. #15
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    Hot Toddies.

    Caz

  16. #16
    Which way? Uphill.
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    I'll keep it up through the winter, though I'll have to get up earlier with the slightly slower commute times and the possibility of having to shovel the walk before I leave. My winter beater is my year-round commuter so I'm all set!

    I expect to have dark commutes on the way to work and temps in the teens and twenties for the norm and 30s and 40s and twilight for the way home for the majority of winter.

    The coldest I've commuted in was low single digits, my hands got pretty cold that day and I was screaming every once in a while to make them feel better (hey it made me feel better a least),

    I have ridden in sub-zero weather, but it was also sunny, so it wasn't nearly as bad as my 5:30 a.m. single digit rides.

    I've got a few new pieces of gear for this winter so I'm looking forward to trying them out when the cold comes.
    Blog

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  17. #17
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    admittedly a short commute....

    only 30 minutes when dry, more when wet/slippery, so I'll be trying to ride as much as I can this year.
    Helps to clear the noggin before I get to work too.

    Down to -10 celsius is easy, past -20 gets really hard, more because of driver hurry (read: not paying attention and not expecting cyclists).
    (between -10 and -20 is a toss-up depending on personal factors )

    We'll be above -20 most of the time this year but quite frankly, when I see a windchill wanting of -47 degrees I just bundle up and suffer on public transport!
    Tires seem way more damaged at the end of a season, between the temperature shifts, the salt damage, and getting to sit outside in the snow all day while I'm at work... sure it's not good for them.


    EDIT: so shortly after reading through several of these "winter commuting" threads I got the urge to make myseld a nice mint tea with honey... which bring me to a question, I've jury-rigged a coffee cup holder on my bars, anyone else have good suggestions for warm fluid intake while riding?
    I've heard that you can fill a camelback with hot coffee (or whatever) and there's an insulatable tube covering or something, anyone know how well it works below -20 celsius?
    any home-brewed solutions?
    Last edited by byknuts; 09-26-2008 at 12:54 PM.

  18. #18
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    while I won't be doing it this year, I may try it next year. Bought 2 gary fisher hkek mountain bikes and have slowly been moding them to make them useful for commuting. My issue this year is I'm about 20 miles from work (one way) and it's a lot of hills to contend with. In normal weather it's about an hour and a half. In the snow I'm sure it could be add an hour or so. I also work a late second shift which means my entire commute is in the dark...Something as simple as a light bulb burning out could make my commute even longer.

    In the spring though, I'll be about 10 miles from work - closer if I can find a place with decent rent in town. Even in the dark, 10 miles isn't that bad...Under a half hour if I push myself.

  19. #19
    Fat!Drunk!Slow!
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    I cycled to work this morning with a temp of 38 F. Dry and clear for a change.

    It will start to snow soon and I can't wait!

  20. #20
    oh crap...
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    Can't wait for winter!!!

    I was just saying to one of my friends...I can't wait for the roads the get snowy. I live in Iowa and have been winter commuting for many winters now.

    Two winters ago I put on my first studded tire...mounted it up front on my cyclocross bike with full fenders. This went well, slid around in the back abit, but I didn't like having gears...froze up a couple of times.

    Last winter I road an old mountain bike frame fixed gear with an ENO hub. No snow tires, just regular mountain treads and full fenders again. Slipped around a bit, but really enjoyed fixed gear in the snow.

    This year I'm building my dream commuter...Karate monkey, fixed gear, cascadia fenders, swapable wheelset with my other 29er, BB7's, big apples for the non-winter months, and nokian extreme 294's for snow and ice but with the ability to swap to regular mountain tread with the regular 29er wheelset if snow and ice melt away for a week or two.

    I'll post photos when I've got it built, two weeks or so. Running tomicogs on my SS hubs. Probably run 36/17
    Grow some food for yourself.

  21. #21
    !Vamos, flaco!
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    I commute all winter as long as the roadways are halfway decent. I love it. The coldest I've ridden was -20 F. There's no bad weather, only bad clothing.
    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

  22. #22
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerfrederico
    This year I'm building my dream commuter...Karate monkey, fixed gear, cascadia fenders, swapable wheelset with my other 29er, BB7's, big apples for the non-winter months, and nokian extreme 294's for snow and ice but with the ability to swap to regular mountain tread with the regular 29er wheelset if snow and ice melt away for a week or two.
    That will be a very sweet set-up. Please do post pics.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  23. #23
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    If there's one good thing about NOVA weather, I guess it's that we don't get either extreme. It rarely gets over 100 or below about 20. In Jan-Feb I do usually miss a couple days though because it just isn't safe to ride if the streets are icy -- more because of the drivers than the streets themselves.

  24. #24
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    Winter's a good ways off here in the DC area but this will be my third year commuting straight through the winter. I average 4 days a week, 22mi r/t, most of the year but have been closer to the 50% range the past 2 Jan/Feb's, due to the fact that our MUP's are crappily plowed and tend to thaw/re-freeze multiple times after each storm...just not worth it sometimes.

    The key is layers. That, and envisioning myself stuck in car traffic on days I hesitate to hop on the bike.

  25. #25
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    This will be my second winter commuting by bicycle. Since I started in early December last year, I'm feeling pretty well prepared.

    My daily routine has been honed over the past months and I might just be able to claim a cycle commuting century. That's a notion I just recently encountered on bikejournal.com, where over the course of a year you bike 100 days to work and back.

    Right now I'm at 88 days, including today. February and March were not good months for me. But September has been the best ever with 19 out of a total of 21.

  26. #26
    bicycle dreamer
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    I commuted to work all summer (I was only working weekends where it was feasible), it was glorious. Only 14 miles round-trip but made for a fantastic way to start my day. I had a bad motorcycle crash on the racetrack in the beginning of this month and it had been 29 days since I last rode my bike.

    Started commuting again yesterday. With today that makes 2 days where I've been sane, rested, and myself. I'm building up a CX frame for the winter (I won't put my Ferrous through these Wisco winters!) and plan on joining you all in being as-car-free-as-possible for my daily work needs.

    Can't wait for Winter. It's going to be great.
    Moving the soul with two wheels.
    I have a slight cycling addiction.

    Now living in Nagoya City, Japan!

  27. #27
    More than a little slow
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    I started commuting in `93 but didn`t make it through a winter until `96. I ride most days through the winter although I am getting better at knowing when I would be happier taking the bus. There`s not a lot of incentive to take the bus since it takes a quite a bit longer and then I have to put up with all the comments at work ( You didn`t ride to work today? What are you?, a wimp? etc.), but occasionally the roads are bad enough that it just doesn`t make sense to ride. I`ve also left an old winter coat at work for years just so I don`t get stuck having to ride home (although it`s fairly easy these days to check the weather so I normally have a pretty good idea of what`s heading our way).
    My goal this winter is to work out a good alternative to a cycling jacket. I wore a Gortex jacket from MEC for about ten years. It worked, but the last two jackets that I`ve bought have not been successful. If I can`t work out an alternative I think I`m going to end up with a ShowersPass jacket .....It`s no wonder I`m not rich, there`s always these bike things to buy.
    Cheers, Dave

  28. #28
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by That Geo Guy
    I commuted to work all summer (I was only working weekends where it was feasible), it was glorious. Only 14 miles round-trip but made for a fantastic way to start my day. I had a bad motorcycle crash on the racetrack in the beginning of this month and it had been 29 days since I last rode my bike.

    I broke my leg snowboarding last winter. I was off the bike for most of Jan-Feb...That first day back on the bike in February was something like 10 degrees F...I was sore, my knee was in pain and didn't want to bend, I wasn't conditioned to the cold...it was glorious. Everyone around me thought I was nuts for getting back on the bike so soon, but I bet you understand.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  29. #29
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by dskunk
    My goal this winter is to work out a good alternative to a cycling jacket. I wore a Gortex jacket from MEC for about ten years. It worked, but the last two jackets that I`ve bought have not been successful. If I can`t work out an alternative I think I`m going to end up with a ShowersPass jacket .....It`s no wonder I`m not rich, there`s always these bike things to buy.
    Check out a softshell jacket by any of your standard mountain wear/backpacking companies...Columbia, Mountain Hardware, The North Face, Patagonia, REI, etc... I've been using a Columbia softshell for the past couple winters with nothing but a jersey under it, down to single digit temps, and it's been great. I've been caught in a few downpours also, and it's great in the rain. Most of them are waterproof/breathable, and stretch more than goretex. They can get expensive, but I found mine at campmor.com for 50 bucks. It doesn't have a drop tail, but other than that it's a perfect cycling jacket.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  30. #30
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    I'v been doing it for 7 years now. Didn't make it through the first winter but have not missed one after. Put my fenders on last week and bought a new front flasher. The cold is not the problem here, its the rain. I gave up on rain gear, if its really water proof I'm soaked in sweat at the top of the hill. If its breathable it fails in a heavy rain. If I buy good quality waterproof/breathable gear, the grit from the road ruins it. So I just get wet and hang stuff up to dry at work.

  31. #31
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    With the temps suddenly dropping where I am, I'm finding myself in my usual fall trepidation mood. Not quite ready to make the cold-weather transition yet. But, I always manage.

    Breezy and brisk out there this morning...stung a bit. Time to get after it, mentally.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  32. #32
    bicycle dreamer
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I broke my leg snowboarding last winter. I was off the bike for most of Jan-Feb...That first day back on the bike in February was something like 10 degrees F...I was sore, my knee was in pain and didn't want to bend, I wasn't conditioned to the cold...it was glorious. Everyone around me thought I was nuts for getting back on the bike so soon, but I bet you understand.
    4 days in a row now, and let me say: never has a sunrise on a bicycle been so glorious in all my life.

    Bring on winter!
    Moving the soul with two wheels.
    I have a slight cycling addiction.

    Now living in Nagoya City, Japan!

  33. #33
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    light toque unde the helmet, fleece-backed leather "biker" kerchief for the neck, vest and sweater under rainshell, heavy nylon DH azonic pants, hit the roads early cause all the excess gear slows me down some.

    funfunfun!

    need java en route though, moving coffee cup holder (maybe just finish of fthe winter commuter build and start riding that) over during the weekend.

  34. #34
    More than a little slow
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    Check out a softshell jacket by any of your standard mountain wear/backpacking companies...
    Thanks Buddy, I've just spent the last two days surfing the net trying to decide which softshell to buy. ( )
    Cheers, Dave

  35. #35
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by dskunk
    Thanks Buddy, I've just spent the last two days surfing the net trying to decide which softshell to buy. ( )
    You'll be thanking me later (after you pay for it)... nothing better in my opinion. I'm kind of hoping I crash in mine soon so that I can rip it an buy another one. They are only getting better in terms of wind/rain protection and function, and mine's a few years old now.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by byknuts
    only 30 minutes when dry, more when wet/slippery, so I'll be trying to ride as much as I can this year.
    Helps to clear the noggin before I get to work too.

    Down to -10 celsius is easy, past -20 gets really hard, more because of driver hurry (read: not paying attention and not expecting cyclists).
    (between -10 and -20 is a toss-up depending on personal factors )

    We'll be above -20 most of the time this year but quite frankly, when I see a windchill wanting of -47 degrees I just bundle up and suffer on public transport!
    Tires seem way more damaged at the end of a season, between the temperature shifts, the salt damage, and getting to sit outside in the snow all day while I'm at work... sure it's not good for them.


    EDIT: so shortly after reading through several of these "winter commuting" threads I got the urge to make myseld a nice mint tea with honey... which bring me to a question, I've jury-rigged a coffee cup holder on my bars, anyone else have good suggestions for warm fluid intake while riding?
    I've heard that you can fill a camelback with hot coffee (or whatever) and there's an insulatable tube covering or something, anyone know how well it works below -20 celsius?
    any home-brewed solutions?

    To keep the fluid from freezing in your tube, blow the liquid almost back into the bladder and keep the bite valve tucked behind the shoulder strap.

    Caz
    I am a Mountain Biker therefore I am late

  37. #37
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    The Pearl Izumi AmFIB tights got a good test on Friday...they work great! I was in a good solid rain for 44 minutes/13 miles and my legs and feet were dry and not at all sweaty.

  38. #38
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    I commuted everyday for two and a half years. I wore SPD sandals every day. Ok, that was in Hawaii, not really a good comparison.

    Now I am in the PNW and my commute is 1 hour twenty minutes each way. I bought a Showers Pass Elite jacket and Specialized Defroster MTB shoes last year. I can do most days unless it is below freezing. The first ten/last ten miles of my commute is on a rural two lane road. No ice or snow for me. I have some nice Descente gloves, polypro beanie, and some polypro tights plus a pair of AMPHIBs. The AMPHIBs just get too warm on my long commute. Maybe I will invest in some rainpants this year.

  39. #39
    oh crap...
    Reputation: farmerfrederico's Avatar
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    As you wished...

    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    That will be a very sweet set-up. Please do post pics.


    The frame and wheel set were both bought used here on the classifieds and I got the rest of the parts from my LBS. Thanks to you all!

    I also have a pair of Nokian Extreme 294's (studded) for when the snow starts falling and this wheel set will be swapable with my other 29er which I use for single track. Looking forward to ice and snow! This will be my first time with studded tires which are this aggressive...had some regular 35c on the CX bike but 2.1's should be fun!

    SS right now but will switch to Fixed when the snow falls and the Nokians are on.
    Grow some food for yourself.

  40. #40
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    I get real lucky here in the Sf Bay Area. It rarely gets lower than 30 in the winter and absolutely no snow. Rain isn't much of an issue for me either. Some people go to great lengths to stay dry, but it doesn't bother me. My body heat and the heat indoors usually dries me off fairly quick. also, we get most of our storms from the tropics, so it gets warm and humid here when it rains. I get heated up very quickly, so I have to wear a thin layer of clothes anyway, even when it's cold out.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerfrederico

    The frame and wheel set were both bought used here on the classifieds and I got the rest of the parts from my LBS. Thanks to you all!

    I also have a pair of Nokian Extreme 294's (studded) for when the snow starts falling and this wheel set will be swapable with my other 29er which I use for single track. Looking forward to ice and snow! This will be my first time with studded tires which are this aggressive...had some regular 35c on the CX bike but 2.1's should be fun!

    SS right now but will switch to Fixed when the snow falls and the Nokians are on.
    I don't know how long your commute is but since i own a pair of 294's i can tell you that i wouldn't want to ride 20 miles plus each morning like i do without gears. Guess i am a wuss.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thinkly
    I don't know how long your commute is but since i own a pair of 294's i can tell you that i wouldn't want to ride 20 miles plus each morning like i do without gears. Guess i am a wuss.
    I have a dingle setup on my commuter fixed gear. When the snow is deep I'll switch to the other ratio. I'm in good shape so I can spin for a long time and climb the steeps in the big ratio with relative ease, or at least faster than any of the local roadies.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    I'm in good shape so I can spin for a long time and climb the steeps in the big ratio with relative ease, or at least faster than any of the local roadies.
    The local roadies:

    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  44. #44
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    supposed to be 33 when i depart tomorrow (friday morning) at 5AM-ish. coldest day yet. i will be rocking the wigwams, tights, couple jerseys, neoprene gloves, windbreaker and vest on my 12 mile commute. glad i can take a nice hot shower at work!
    Winter is coming.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thinkly
    I don't know how long your commute is but since i own a pair of 294's i can tell you that i wouldn't want to ride 20 miles plus each morning like i do without gears. Guess i am a wuss.
    The majority of my commuting is around town...multiple 4 mile round trips usually 2-3 times a day. I do have a 12 mile round trip commute most days as well, but only one hill, which is on the way home. I think I'll be able to handle it. If not, that's what I've got the CX bike for.
    Grow some food for yourself.

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    This is the time of the year to find out who the true crazy riders are. Yesterday morning in Denver it was mid 30's and dark when I left to work and I was happy. Happy knowing that soon it will be dark riding in to work and riding home. Happy to know soon I'll have to put fenders on the cross bike for the winter. Happy to know I have new thermal tights I bought on 1/2 price in May for the winter.

    I think the best ride of the year is the first snow ride in the snow, be it on the dirt, or just commuting to/from work. I can't wait.
    Blogging about nothing since 2005
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  47. #47
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    I commute all year. Only 10 miles along the coast road here, in southern Norway.

    I took some pictures one beutiful morning when the sun had finaly started to show up on my 05.00 ride. It was -21 celcius and I had nokia studded tires.

    Awfull mobile phone pictures...



    I am sorry to say that the poor trek didn`t make it all the way to spring. The salt and lack of mudguards killed the drivetrain and spokes erroded and snapped.



    The fork died too, so this years commuter has full mudguards, innboard gears and ridgid fork.
    Disclaimer. I now sell bicycles and bicycle tyres.

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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerfrederico
    This year I'm building my dream commuter...Karate monkey, fixed gear, cascadia fenders, swapable wheelset with my other 29er, BB7's, big apples for the non-winter months, and nokian extreme 294's for snow and ice but with the ability to swap to regular mountain tread with the regular 29er wheelset if snow and ice melt away for a week or two.

    I'll post photos when I've got it built, two weeks or so. Running tomicogs on my SS hubs. Probably run 36/17
    That is hawt. I'm really liking the look. What bars are those?
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    You'll be thanking me later (after you pay for it)... nothing better in my opinion. I'm kind of hoping I crash in mine soon so that I can rip it an buy another one. They are only getting better in terms of wind/rain protection and function, and mine's a few years old now.

    In case you missed my other thread, I jinxed myself with this post and I DID crash in my softshell, and completely destroyed it. It melted from skidding down the road (and so did a large chunk of my shoulder).

    Anyway I replaced it with a Mountain Hardwear 'Synchro' softshell. It almost made the wreck worth it. Windproof/Waterproof, incredibly warm and incredibly light and stretchy. It was designed as an ice climbing jacket, so the sleeves are really long for reaching up over your head (perfect for riding position). Tons of great features...I can't wait to ride through the winter in this thing. If you're shopping, you gotta check one of these out.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by fux
    I commute all year. Only 10 miles along the coast road here, in southern Norway.

    I took some pictures one beutiful morning when the sun had finaly started to show up on my 05.00 ride. It was -21 celcius and I had nokia studded tires.

    Awfull mobile phone pictures...



    I am sorry to say that the poor trek didn`t make it all the way to spring. The salt and lack of mudguards killed the drivetrain and spokes erroded and snapped.



    The fork died too, so this years commuter has full mudguards, innboard gears and ridgid fork.
    Those are beautiful photos

    I commute all winter too. You hardcore people will probably like this photo story of one day's commute: http://www.mechbgon.com/commute

    My feet can't stay warm below 10°F even with Specialized Defroster shoes, thick wool socks and thick neoprene booties with plastic bags inside, so I might try heated socks this winter. Does anyone know of any high-quality heated socks they'd recommend?

  51. #51
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    mechbgon:
    what PSI are you running in the Nokians?

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon
    I commute all winter too. You hardcore people will probably like this photo story of one day's commute: http://www.mechbgon.com/commute
    I THOUGHT I was hardcore until I checked that out. Awesome. I had some friends at Gonzaga, by the way...Spokane is an awesome city/awesome area
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  53. #53
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    that commute looks awesome!
    I stay away from highways in winter myself, one quick slip and I'm under a semi!

    But serious props for doing that!

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by analoguekid
    mechbgon:
    what PSI are you running in the Nokians?
    Usually about 30-35 front, 40-45 rear. I've lost 20 pounds so I may be able to get away with somewhat less, but I don't want the front tire trying to roll sideways when I corner on pavement.

    Glad you guys liked the pics The '07-'08 winter was a serious one for Spokane, with near-record snowfall, just storm after storm after storm. It was outta control for a while.

  55. #55
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    it is going to be in the twenties in the morning tomorrow....hmmm. do i really want to commute in the winter?
    Winter is coming.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by coachjon
    it is going to be in the twenties in the morning tomorrow....hmmm. do i really want to commute in the winter?
    yes



    yes you do

  57. #57
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    Storm

    There is a bit of a storm here the last few days.



    I had to stand and pedal in my lowest gear today and I used over an hour on my 15.7 km`s in. I hope it dies down a bit before I go home because I trained intervals yesterday and this was supposed to be a day off training.

    Oh, sorted out my new commuter, I love the mudguards but I have to find some skinnier tires for clearence as it rubs a bit now.

    Disclaimer. I now sell bicycles and bicycle tyres.

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  58. #58
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    This was my first day in the 20's also ...I think it was 28 or so. What was I thinking when I shaved my full beard? This goatee is freaking cold.

    Nothing but a moisture wicking teeshirt under my Mountain Hardwear Synchro softshell, by the way. I actually unzipped it a bit before I got to work. You gotta check these out.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  59. #59
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    Here in Alaska commuting in the winter takes a real commitment of time and gear. I have two winter bikes now, a pugsley with large marge and endomorphs, and a rockhopper with snowcats and nokian 294's for icy packed conditions.

    I try to commute at least twice a week in the winter, I would ride more but due to weather and the distance I have to travel sometimes its just not possible.

  60. #60
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    I'm trying to work my winter bike out right know, hopefully I can find a cheap commuter that will work soon.
    I lubed my disc brakes because they squeaked.
    Man was that fun to work out

  61. #61
    Fat!Drunk!Slow!
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    I hear ya Jeff, this year will be my first year for winter commuting. 294's are on order. No fat bike, YET. ;p

  62. #62
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    i'm used to commuting in Calgary, Alberta where the winters are pretty extreme for the most part, although not too too snowy.

    this winter i'm in the Kootenays of British Columbia, where it won't be as cold, but I think I'm in for a lot more snow, so i'm kinda excited. I might have to ride my mtb instead of road, we'll see

    as for ^^^ for warm feet - i ride flats on my commuters, and sometimes just use my winter hiking boots. maybe a little klunky, but they work just like they should. i've given up on most pricey cycling-specific winter gear for gloves, shoes, socks and just use my ski or hiking gear

    edit: whoops, was on second page when replying to the guy about the cold feet.

  63. #63
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    I currently live in Stuttgart Germany and it is a wonderful place for cyclists. This is my first year commuting to and from work (6 hilly miles each way). I'm kind of afraid of riding in sub-freezing temps. I had a nasty spill a few months ago one day the roads were wet. To make a long story short, I busted my chin open, knocked out one tooth and chipped another tooth. I've gotten my grill fixed, but I'm still timid when it comes to riding in poor road conditions. I'll be taking it a day at a time this winter. I hope that I make it through the whole winter. I have more than enough gear to stay warm, but I'm still a little gun shy from my accident.
    Last edited by Solomon76; 10-28-2008 at 11:27 AM.

  64. #64
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    ^^ I hear you there. I took a dive in the dark on my morning commute about 3 weeks ago, and I've been pretty timid when riding in to work since then. I decided that there's nothing wrong with arriving 5 minutes later for a while, until I either add to my headlight collection or somehow get over my fear of repeating that crash.

    When we get a big storm, I'll drive when the roads are packed snow/ice, and ride as soon as they're clear. That's usually only a day or two around here. Not enough for me to buy studs (yet). My best winter commuting effort so far saw me driving to work only 5 times. The year before that I think it was 24. I live way up a dirt road, so it's hard to guess how the pavement will be from my house. Sometimes my dirt road will be like sledding, and the pavement will be clear.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    I currently live in Stuttgart Germany and it is a wonderful place for cyclists. This is my first year commuting to and from work (6 hilly miles each way). I'm kind of afraid of riding in sub-freezing temps. I had a nasty spill a few months ago one day the roads were wet. To make a long story short, I busted my chin open, knocked out one tooth and chipped another tooth. I've gotten my grill fixed, but I'm still timid when it comes to riding in poor road conditions. I'll be taking it a day at a time this winter. I hope that I make it through the whole winter. I have more than enough gear to stay warm, but I'm still a little gun shy from my accident.
    Do you have a good pair of studded tires on your bike ? If not you should they work amazingly well on icy winter roads and trails. Stick with either Nokian or Schwalbe stay away from the cheaper ones this is one area you don't want to try to save a buck.

    I have a pair of Nokian 294's that are on there 3rd season and still going strong !

  66. #66
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    After reading this thread, I’ve changed my attitude about riding through the winter. I had my mind made up that as soon as the temperature dropped below 32F, I'd hang up my helmet for the winter. Now that I see that I won't be battling the elements alone, I have a new motivation to keep riding.

    I can say that I did learn some things from my accident. I am much more careful when I take corners (regardless of the road conditions). I've also start riding with a mouth guard (won't leave home without it). Not only does the mouth guard give me piece of mind that I won't have a repeat of my previous accident, it also keeps my teeth warm when I'm sucking down the frigid morning air.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    After reading this thread, I’ve changed my attitude about riding through the winter. I had my mind made up that as soon as the temperature dropped below 32F, I'd hang up my helmet for the winter. Now that I see that I won't be battling the elements alone, I have a new motivation to keep riding.
    That's exactly what I was thinking when I started this thread. Knowing that the rest of you are out there battling the same elements makes it that much easier to get out there myself.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  68. #68
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    Personally, these last few days where it's been near 30º for my commute have been absolutely wonderful.

    I was actually hoping to hit the snow yesterday. I should also mention, tomorrow marks the Month of October with only 1 day of driving in to work. I'm pretty stoked.
    Moving the soul with two wheels.
    I have a slight cycling addiction.

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  69. #69
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    ^^ I'm with you on liking those crispy cool mornings...It's not until the teens or so that I begin to question my sanity.

    The forecast around here calls for a couple days of pretty serious rain...I have the fenders on finally, and I think I'm ready for that first serious rain ride....we'll see after work today. It was dry on the way in, but you can tell it's going to unload any minute. I definitely prefer the snow...
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  70. #70
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    Toes, what toes, oh I feel that, its stinging pain when the hot water hit them! Need booties.
    Might just be near the commuting Century, have not even used one tank of gas all summer in my car.
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  71. #71
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    We're supposed to be getting our first major rains of the season this weekend here in the Bay Area. Supposed to start tonight actually. Guess this is as good a time as any to test my commuter in the rain!

    Had to wear a sweatshirt to work for the first time this morning (I know, poor me). At night I'm still going bare sleeves, huffing and puffing uphill. It's still hovering around the lower 60s/upper 50s in late evening. Good all-year-round cycling here in the Bay Area!
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  72. #72
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    I've just gotten to the point where I've started wearing my full face helmet on my commute to preserve my ears. the lows are only starting to dip into the 30s so far, but for someone who's idea of the perfect riding day includes some nice, fast, flowy single track (with chances to get air) with very green vegetation coming right up to the trail, ridden when the temps are in the mid 70s, lows in the 30s is pretty chilly. I think that once the lows start to dip into the 20s I'll pick up a wind proof baclava to wear under the full face. as for bike setup, right now I'm riding my do-all xc-trail-AM-screw-around bike, which is set up 2x9, 4" travel front and rear, hydro disks, 29" wide risers, with michelin knobbies front and rear. in central VA we don't get much snow (if we get anything it usually melts and goes to ice pretty quick), but I wouldn't mind riding in the snow. when the roads go icy I hang up the helmet and get a ride to school with my parents, but do want to ride every day the weather isn't bad
    Quote Originally Posted by teamdicky View Post
    My butthole would pucker and invert until I was inside-out before I got to the bottom.

  73. #73
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    It's supposed to be in the low 70s here in southern Wisconsin.

    I might actually have to break out my short sleeve jerseys again ... I don't know what to do!
    Moving the soul with two wheels.
    I have a slight cycling addiction.

    Now living in Nagoya City, Japan!

  74. #74
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    I hear you, its going to be nice here all week, we had 2" of snow last week and 2 days later it as short weather.
    You just never know!

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    Yes its retro but IT WORKS!

    8 Speed is great and V-Brakes rock!

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  75. #75
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    So I threw on Nokian Hakkapeliitta 700 x 35 tires on my commuter yesterday in preparation for the upcoming snow that we are supposed to get blasted with in the coming weeks. (Or season?)

    What a weird sensation. I'm a little leery of the side grip on corners, as well as braking but I'm sure I'll find the limits eventually.

    The sound the studs make on the road are awesome. It's like I'm riding through rocks ... all the time.
    Moving the soul with two wheels.
    I have a slight cycling addiction.

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  76. #76
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    commute all year

    have for the last 5
    then again I live in san diego, where I may have to bust out some knickers and arm warmers once in awhile

    much respek fer my frozen brethren!

    fux, wussup with that book/cd shelf?????

  77. #77
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    We finally got some snow, about 4 inches laying around here in Anchorage, the commute has been fun so far! Waiting for more paths to be cleared is the hard part. ;p Temps in the teens to low twenties.

  78. #78
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    This is my first year commuting by bike. I started back in March/April when gas prices spiked over $4.00 a gallon. At first I figured that I'd ride through the summer and start driving again at the first sign of fall, but here it is the middle of November and I'm still going strong. However, I think that I've finally identified my “Too cold to ride” point. I plan on continue riding as long as the daily low temperature isn't forecasted to be below 30F. So far the temperature has remained above my riding threshold, but it looks like my dedication to cycling will be tested by the upcoming temperatures (Friday’s low is forecasted at 22F). Regardless of whether I make it through the entire winter or not, I've already gone way further into the year than I thought I would have.

  79. #79
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    It was 6F w/ ice fog yesterday AM on the commute into work. About 16F on the way home this evening. I drove to work tonight for maintenance and it was 3F. Should be a cold afternoon commute for sure tomorrow. Still not getting cold yet, but I have a feeling that 0f will be a starting point on when to add more clothing.

  80. #80
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    Keep on going!

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    This is my first year commuting by bike. I started back in March/April when gas prices spiked over $4.00 a gallon. At first I figured that I'd ride through the summer and start driving again at the first sign of fall, but here it is the middle of November and I'm still going strong. However, I think that I've finally identified my “Too cold to ride” point. I plan on continue riding as long as the daily low temperature isn't forecasted to be below 30F. So far the temperature has remained above my riding threshold, but it looks like my dedication to cycling will be tested by the upcoming temperatures (Friday’s low is forecasted at 22F). Regardless of whether I make it through the entire winter or not, I've already gone way further into the year than I thought I would have.

    I think you'll find that a little experimenting with clothing, especially gloves, will allow you to ride nearly every day of the year. Snow and ice is another matter, but keep on going!!!!!
    Grow some food for yourself.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerfrederico
    I think you'll find that a little experimenting with clothing, especially gloves, will allow you to ride nearly every day of the year. Snow and ice is another matter, but keep on going!!!!!
    I think I'm going to take it a day at a time once the temperature drops below freezing. I did buy some waterproof winter boots today in preparation for the cold weather. Dang you guys and your words of motivation.

  82. #82
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    fux, wussup with that book/cd shelf?????
    Its design, apparently.

    http://www.retrotogo.com/2006/04/high_street_boo.html

    As for tires, I fit my On-one with schwalbe marathon winter 700x42 and it flies. Works well on the icey patches and frozen gravel. No snow yet though.

    Funny thing is I sold my On-one and have just bought me a salsa la-cruz, I`ve only had the inbred a month but a friend wanted it so bad after he saw it and bought it on the spot!
    Disclaimer. I now sell bicycles and bicycle tyres.

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  83. #83
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    Any little known tips for a newbie to the commuting scene? i have already been scared back into my car since i work night shift it is colder then. anything helps. thanks

  84. #84
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    I'm going to start doing it as soon as I get some appropriate attire. My commute is only 2.5 miles.
    2002 Schwinn Aluminum Comp. Beater.
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  85. #85
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    Well, the winter has finally arrived in Colorado, dang we had a good run of warm weather this year. High of 77 two days ago and low 20's with freezing drizzle this morning.

    That said, I absolutely love my new GoLite Aero jacket, it was built for this weather. I tried it previously on a ~30°F dry morning and it was too warm, but it was perfect today.

    The last two miles saw my rear derrailleur freeze and both of my brakes freeze, good thing it's an uphill finish.

    Lots of crazy looks from coworkers when I came into work with 1/8" of ice over my entire body, but I was still warm. My glasses were pretty useless though with all the ice on them.
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  86. #86
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    I've been commuting for about 25 years. Hope this helps. . .

    Fenders and packs mounted to a rack, backpacks are for junior high kids

    Gore tex shell and rain pants.

    Stay off ice but if you need to find yourself there, get studs.

    WOOL. . . theres no substitute

    Big cheapo fatass snowboard gloves beat cycling gloves for warmth, price and durability

    plastic bags over shoes under neoprene toe warmers for feet. Wet feet suck!

    multiple red flashers and a good headlight you can rely on.

    Stay warm and safe

  87. #87
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    As I rode home tonight the snow flurries became heavy. With my Hope HID light I was getting put in the hypnotic state. It was pretty Trippy.

  88. #88
    bicycle dreamer
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    Just got my Craft balaclava, storm tights & gloves in today. Tomorrow ... Pearl Izumi barrier gtx boots.

    Layers layers layers ... the cold doesn't bother me as much as the wind. Anything but a tailwind absolutely sucks.
    Moving the soul with two wheels.
    I have a slight cycling addiction.

    Now living in Nagoya City, Japan!

  89. #89
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by That Geo Guy
    Layers layers layers ... the cold doesn't bother me as much as the wind. Anything but a tailwind absolutely sucks.
    A good softshell jacket and rain pants, and the wind isn't cold anymore. Still sucks, but it isn't cold.

    I had my first frozen goatee of the season this morning. It was 20-something. Almost time to bust out the 'clava...

    Does anyone else hold out on their warmest layers so that when it gets REALLY cold they will have something else to put on? I play this mental game. I'm still wearing shorts and my pearl izumi leg warmers under my rain/wind pants....and my sub-zero tights are waiting on a shelf for that day when the cold starts to intimidate me. I haven't busted out the neoprene socks yet either. They are my next line of defense.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  90. #90
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    I got my first taste of riding with snow on the ground on my way home from work today. What I realized is that I seriously doubt that I'm going to be able to ride on days when there are ice or snow on the ground. Below is the elevation profile of my commute.


    I figured out today that regardless of how good my tires and brakes are, snow coverd/icy steep hills can be dangerous. I haven't given up for the winter, but I will be driving on days there are a chance of snow or ice being on the ground.

  91. #91
    snackPACK
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    if there's lots of snow one could cross train and cross country ski to work

  92. #92
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalitup
    backpacks are for junior high kids

    This is the only part of your post that I totally disagree with. I've always preferred carrying things on my person rather than lashed, strapped, or clamped on to the bike. I cringe when I have to put the fenders on for the winter, but they're so functional, I deal with it. This is a total personal preference issue. I think a backpack keeps me a bit warmer in the sub-zero mornings too.

    Maybe if I wore my work clothes on the bike I'd have a different opinion, I don't know. I change at work and wear full-on bike gear and a backpack with the essentials for the commute. I don't even put a seat pouch on my bikes.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  93. #93
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    I did the same

    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    This is the only part of your post that I totally disagree with. I've always preferred carrying things on my person rather than lashed, strapped, or clamped on to the bike. I cringe when I have to put the fenders on for the winter, but they're so functional, I deal with it. This is a total personal preference issue. I think a backpack keeps me a bit warmer in the sub-zero mornings too.

    Maybe if I wore my work clothes on the bike I'd have a different opinion, I don't know. I change at work and wear full-on bike gear and a backpack with the essentials for the commute. I don't even put a seat pouch on my bikes.
    and at the time I designed clothing and accessories
    I designed a back pack with:
    easy access cell phone pouch
    internal i-pod/MP3/CD player holder with ear buds through the shoulder straps
    wet/dry pouch that held a 6 Pack of canned beer

    definitely better than panniers

  94. #94
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    eh, commuting in harsh Wisconsin winters is the same to me as commuting in good weather. Just use layers, the right gear, studded tires if you have to ride on ice, and you're set.
    Last year I hit a milbox with my face for slipping on ice in the dark commute to work. Broke my glasses and helmet. But I still rode.
    Today, cold and windy...and about to leave. Later fools.

  95. #95
    snackPACK
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    thats because people from Wisconsin are immune to hell freezing over
    "sure I'll hit it... ooh... whats happening over there?" --ADD rider

  96. #96
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by ernesto_from_Wisconsin
    eh, commuting in harsh Wisconsin winters is the same to me as commuting in good weather. Just use layers, the right gear, studded tires if you have to ride on ice, and you're set.
    Last year I hit a milbox with my face for slipping on ice in the dark commute to work. Broke my glasses and helmet. But I still rode.
    Today, cold and windy...and about to leave. Later fools.

    Wait...you hit a mailbox with your face, and we're the fools?
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  97. #97
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    I currently am switching commuters. I'm migrating over from my old 1989 Fisher AL-1 to a Trek 4900 that I picked up off Craigslist. However, I'm not terribly thrilled with the Trek yet. I do like the fact that the ride is more plush than the Fisher but it just has a different feel. I'm not sure I like it.

    So, I've been thinking of buying a second set of wheels to put on my dirt bike - Trek 8000 - to make it into a road bike. This would also require putting a rack on it but I think with the units available at oldmanmountain.com I could come up with a pretty sweet quick conversion.

    However, I was wondering just how much damage my dirt bike would take being used as a commuter. My current commuter has a full coverage rear fender which keeps my chain pretty clean but I wouldn't be able to do that on the dirt bike.

    What do you think? Should I keep 2 dedicated bikes or try to make a dual-duty machine?

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    This is the only part of your post that I totally disagree with. I've always preferred carrying things on my person rather than lashed, strapped, or clamped on to the bike. I cringe when I have to put the fenders on for the winter, but they're so functional, I deal with it. This is a total personal preference issue. I think a backpack keeps me a bit warmer in the sub-zero mornings too.

    Maybe if I wore my work clothes on the bike I'd have a different opinion, I don't know. I change at work and wear full-on bike gear and a backpack with the essentials for the commute. I don't even put a seat pouch on my bikes.
    Hrm...I hate riding with a backpack. I have a rack and panniers so I can carry a thermos of coffee, clothes, tools, spare tube and other junk. It's just so easy to use the Ortlieb bags...they drop on and off with ease and they are completely waterproof. I also hang my lock on my rear rack...much more secure than the clamp it came with.

    I do miss having a light bike...my frame and wheels are very light but throwing 20 pounds on it does take the life out of it.

  99. #99
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    It's was about -15 celsius with a couple inches of snow here last week but still riding in shorts with a cheap pair of tights, long sleeve jersey sweatshirt and soft shell. I was forced to break out the balaclava for a couple days though. I heldout on installing the studded tires until last weekend. We had freezing rain one morning and I slid about 20 feet on my ass while holding my bike up in the air. No road rash when it's icy at least!

  100. #100
    snackPACK
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    I think the best commuter bikes would be like your basic bike that doesnt have any valuable components or quick releases. that way nobody steals stuff off of it while it is locked up. a friend of mine commutes on a bike made entirely by dumpster diving. thats the key... no money invested.
    "sure I'll hit it... ooh... whats happening over there?" --ADD rider

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