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  1. #1
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    What's your threshold for cold?

    I may be the wimp in the crowd, but it's been below 10 F when I leave for work since Wednesday and my current threshold for cold seems to be about 15 F. Just can't keep the face warm without fogging the glasses. Everything else seems relatively easy to cover/protect with normal winter gear. I've tried several balaclavas but there doesn't seem to be a good balance of warmth/wind blocking/breathability that's compatible with prescription classes. So my questions are: What's your threshold? and What do you do to protect your face if you wear glasses in temps below 15 F?

  2. #2
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    today has been my coldest ride to date, at about 11F. So far no lower limit. I wore a thin summer Buff on my head. Only thing on my face was my beard, and I never felt uncomfortably cold on my face. My feet, OTOH...I need some winter boots if I want to go colder. The forecast this winter seems to suggest the possibility of more snow rides, and possibly colder ones. My feet were REALLY uncomfortable today. Otherwise, I was quite warm.

    First Snow Ride of Winter 2013/2014 7 Dec 2013

    My glasses kept trying to fog up on me, and I had a persistent spot of fog in the center of my visual field that was annoying. But keeping my glasses just away from my face to improve ventilation kept the fog from overcoming the entire lens. I wear Oakley Jawbones, BTW.

  3. #3
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    So far 3F.

    I wore basic light mountaineering/sking clothing and I was very warm.

    -Sorel boots with two pairs of wool socks
    -underarmor cold gear base bottoms with Mountain Hardware softshell pants
    -synthetic t-shirt, Patagonia R1 hoody and pull over mid-weight down puffy.

    Nothing on my face and I used the helmet hoody from the R1 under my helmet. Ski gloves on my hands and I felt warm for a 2 hour ride. It's -3 out now, going to try and get a ride in today to see if Pogies will every be necessary. I didn't feel it necessary to wear glasses- wasn't riding fast and didn't want to worry about fogging.
    Front Range, Colorado
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  4. #4
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    Six below zero f. The dogs threshold is lower yet.

    What's your threshold for cold?-first_snow_004.jpg


    What's your threshold for cold?-bert_002.jpg

  5. #5
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    When I lived elsewhere I did commutes as low as about 20 below (F). I wear glasses and used a baklava with one cutout that I could cover and uncover my nose with, also leather wool lined mittens. If I'd thought of it or if they were available then I would have for sure used Moose mitts or something like that.

    Once it got below a certain temperature it didn't seem to matter much if it was 0 or -15, if I dressed right I was fine.

  6. #6
    dru
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    I can comfortably ride off road in 15F weather. I've been out in colder temps but the feet start to feel it.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  7. #7
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    About 40F, anything below that I get bad asthma and my lungs just burn. Also I have no body fat so it takes a lot of layers to keep me warm. I have yet to find a pair of gloves that can keep my fingers warm.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by honns View Post
    About 40F, anything below that I get bad asthma and my lungs just burn. Also I have no body fat so it takes a lot of layers to keep me warm. I have yet to find a pair of gloves that can keep my fingers warm.
    Doesn't have much to do with body fat. I have low body fat, and I am a furnace. Love it this time of year, but it can suck for summer riding.

  9. #9
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    Maybe my heart is just two sizes too small...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by honns View Post
    Maybe my heart is just two sizes too small...
    How muscular are you? Muscle mass raises your metabolism, which generates heat. I don't have a ton of muscle, but am reasonably muscular being 5'8, 170lbs, and ~10% body fat. Also, the TYPE of layers you wear makes a big difference how warm you stay. Your fabric choices, insulation choices, wind blocking choices all play a role. Keeping your core/torso warm is paramount. In this weather, my torso and my hips get more layers than my arms and legs. I wore Gore-tex ski gloves with smartwool liners today. My hands were plenty warm. Pogies/bar mitts may be a better choice for you if you have glove issues. Glove sizing is important. If your fingers press to the end of the glove fingers, your fingers WILL get cold no matter how thick the gloves. Restricting blood flow in your extremities WILL make you cold. Don't cram too-thick socks into your shoes. You're better off using plastic grocery bags as a vapor barrier layer than you are cramming thick socks into tight shoes.

    None of those things will address your lungs, but maybe a face mask that somewhat warms the air you inhale will help for that.

  11. #11
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    50 degrees.............

    No bragging about how I go out in sub-zero temperatures. Wimp? Probably. Skier? Hell yes! When it gets cold enough I have other things to do. I.E. teach skiing on weekends, ski just about every day between weekends. God I love snow! Just got back from a morning on snow and thought I would see what was going on at MTBR.

  12. #12
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    My threshold is about 40-45 degrees. I live in SLO and if is too cold to wear flip flops, then the masses start to revolt.. Its been pretty cold here relatively speaking and its been tough to find the motivation.. I need to find more cold weather gear.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    How muscular are you?
    6' 130 lbs, 3.5%-ish body fat. I have tried all kinds of gloves/layers of gloves. Lobster, mittens, 5 finger gloves, windproof and waterproof. Couldn't find any that worked. I learned the lesson about constriction through this as well. I had like 3 gloves on (way too tight, obviously), and nearly lost control before I took one pair out which allowed circulation.

    Its a shame, but I've just not found biking in the cold very enjoyable.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by honns View Post
    6' 130 lbs, 3.5%-ish body fat. I have tried all kinds of gloves/layers of gloves. Lobster, mittens, 5 finger gloves, windproof and waterproof. Couldn't find any that worked. I learned the lesson about constriction through this as well. I had like 3 gloves on (way too tight, obviously), and nearly lost control before I took one pair out which allowed circulation.



    Its a shame, but I've just not found biking in the cold very enjoyable.
    How did you calculate 3.5% body fat?! If that's true you need a hamburger... or 15!
    Front Range, Colorado
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    How did you calculate 3.5% body fat?! If that's true you need a hamburger... or 15!
    One of those electric meter things. I realize its not super accurate, but I've never been over 5% by any measure, including my dr.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by honns View Post
    One of those electric meter things. I realize its not super accurate, but I've never been over 5% by any measure, including my dr.
    I have had caliper measurements done, and found them close to my Tanita monitor. 3.5% is SERIOUSLY thin, though. Still, at your height AND weight, you're working against physics. You have a high surface area to volume ratio, and it will be exceedingly difficult for you to maintain your body temp in very low ambient temps, physiology aside (and assuming you could stoke your internal fire enough to warm up, you'd have to consume more calories than I would to maintain that temp). If you can bulk yourself up (fat or muscle, or preferably both), you'd find yourself more comfortable in the cold.

    Changing your body composition aside, you're a perfect candidate for pogies/bar mitts. You can still wear gloves inside them. I think I'd like a couple sets (one for the mtb and another for my drop bar commuter) so I don't have to wear the ski gloves and get better dexterity on the shifters.

  17. #17
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    Coldest I've been riding in was -20c (-4f), that went alright due to proper clothing.
    Ideally I don't like it being below -10c though.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    What do you do to protect your face if you wear glasses in temps below 15 F?
    The type of lenses you are wearing makes a big difference. I've found smaller lenses that don't hug your face work best. I have a pair of Oakley Radarlocks with a vented path lense (smaller lense) and a unvented Pitch lense (bigger lense). The smaller lenses hardly fog up and the bigger ones will fog if I don't have a side wind.

  19. #19
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    How low will you go?
    A curious biker wants to know.

    Morals are not the question here,
    but how low a temp do you fear?

    20, 15, 10 degrees or so,
    what degree is just too low?

    I was out today at 23,
    rode in fleece and not a tee.

    Covered fingers, nose and toes,
    suffered no frostbitten woes.

    Could maybe go to 10 degrees,
    and still ride among the trees.

    Can't abide getting a wind chill,
    too cold for that kind of thrill.

    So the answer to one who wants to know,
    teens are okay without any snow.

    One final thought to proffer,
    hot tub warming I'd like to offer.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimed2045 View Post
    How low will you go?
    A curious biker wants to know.

    Morals are not the question here,
    but how low a temp do you fear?

    20, 15, 10 degrees or so,
    what degree is just too low?

    etc
    Your poem was spot on jimed2045 ! Good work

    Singlesprocket and I were riding our local trails today.

    -6c (21f) and wind chill -12c (10.4f)

    Yup it was cold but it isn't the coldest ride we've ever done. For those rides I need to wear my ski pants and ski jacket and thats probably a few weeks away. I don't think we've ever reached a point where we haven't ridden because of the cold. What usually stops us is when the snow is too deep. And actual extreme cold makes for the best conditions for ice biking and we can ride on the river.

    Gosh it's still 2 weeks before the first day of winter
    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetpaint View Post
    The type of lenses you are wearing makes a big difference. I've found smaller lenses that don't hug your face work best. I have a pair of Oakley Radarlocks with a vented path lense (smaller lense) and a unvented Pitch lense (bigger lense). The smaller lenses hardly fog up and the bigger ones will fog if I don't have a side wind.
    I had smaller Bolles but switched to a slightly larger Columbia frame due to my eyes watering. I've been thinking about getting Wiley-Xs . Anyone have experience with those?

    As far as deep-diving into motivation to bike verses another sport, eastern Nebraska gets very few XC ski worthy snows and I've only had the snow shoes out 5 times in the last 5 years. Since I run as little as possible (back issues) and would rather not live in the Gym, riding to work creates two+ hours of exercise for just more than one hour of commitment (after subtracting the 30 minute drive each way).

    Shoes-wise, I'm using some cheap neoprene shoe covers made by Performance Bike that are probably 10 years old and holding. Several buddies are using Seal Socks and duct-tape toe covers with good success.

  22. #22
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    i live in northern california. in thirty years, the coldest i've seen it at night is about twenty five degrees. i have been on mt tam when there were remnants of snowfall on the ground; i do not know what the temperature was.

    in 1998 or 99 i was riding with friends in san francisco's golden gate park while a (rare) light snow was falling. so how cold does it have to be to snow?

    that's my threshold...

  23. #23
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    Warning: Consumption of alcohol may make you think the person on the barstool next to you is attractive

  24. #24
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    40 degrees for me. I've spent time biking in both Pennsylvania and Arizona attempting to bike in the winter. I do better in Phoenix winter riding where it is usually very comfortable riding conditions.
    I have a name for my pain and call it "dog".

  25. #25
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    Anything below 20 degrees F is tough. That is when I ride on the trainer and watch football (while riding).

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