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  1. #1
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    cold feet in 40-50F weather

    For California, this is considered cold weather, ok?
    I have sweaty feet, so I like to get shoes with good toe venting (e.g. that area above the toes are mesh)
    But when I go riding in these colder temperatures, my feet get cold.
    I already wear wool socks, BTW.

    A few suggestions I saw from internet reading:
    (no, I'm not going to buy new shoes)
    a) plastic baggie over shoes
    b) legit shoe covers (I use SPD)
    c) duct tape over shoe vents, or some other way to cover
    d) wind/waterproof socks (any recommendations that aren't crunchy and feel like a normal sock?)
    e) anti-perspirant spray

    Anybody here tried the above suggestions and could mention how well each of these (or other suggestions) work? I don't need waterproof, but want to block wind, add a little warmth, while still being able to evaporate sweat.

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    a) Helps a lot, but you got to wrap them with some tape, they get torn off, you need to replace just about every ride.
    b) Works very well riding but can get torn up quickly if you're walking in them.
    c) Tape over vents is good and practical. Not as warm as plastic bags or toe covers, IMO.
    d) There's little insulation between the wind barrier and your foot, and your foot soaks in sweat.
    e) Never tried this, and am reluctant to try it. Antiperspirants work by clogging up sweat pores, which just seems wrong.
    Do the math.

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    lol, that was what the weather was like on my ride in NC the other day. I wore shorts. Had a light vest to start, but as it warmed up, put the vest away. Other guys in my group showed up in shorts and short sleeves.

    My first step if I'm having cold feet is to bump up sock thickness a touch. I have wool socks in several different thicknesses and this works well in general. Cold feet in wintertime was a major reason for me to get rid of clipless pedals. IME, those types of shoes aren't nearly as warm as a normal shoe. Now with a normal lace-up shoe, I have more flexibility with sock thickness before I need to put on a shoe (or boot) for legit cold temps.

    I have a bontrager WxB sock that I'll wear. But I only wear it with clipless shoes (aforementioned issues) and WITH a normal sock underneath (to help manage sweat to a degree). And further, primary function for it is road rides during wet weather. Yes, I sweat in them. But warm sweat on cold road rides is better, IME, than cold rain soaking through. I do not use them simply for cold. I have toe covers for that.

  5. #5
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    Has cold feet, refuses to get new shoes. How's that working for you? Goretex shoes, a little insulation, start there. Is this just say 5-10 rides a year or a regular thing?

  6. #6
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    Wrap aluminum foil over socks/foot.

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    Warm legs will help keep your feet warm, maybe try tights or knee warmers.
    I used cheap ebay toe covers, they last a full winter and help a lot, but you can't walk much or do run-ups.
    Like these:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-Pair-Over...kAAOSwzppaJmFm
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  8. #8
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    Ensure your socks are DRY when you get to trailhead. If necessary, put them on when you get there vs letting them get damp on the drive to trailhead. Get some handwarmers...may be hard to find where you are but in New England they are everywhere. They slip right in between top of your toes and the mesh part of shoe. Takes some experimentation but I've always gotten them in with minimal discomfort.

    Serves two purposes...knocks down the wind that gets through mesh and also provides heat. At 40-50 deg you shouldn't need anything more than that.

    I've used these for years on very cold winter rides (below 20 deg F). As it gets colder, hand warmers PLUS knocking down the wind is critical. I either wrap shoes with duct tape or use shoe covers. Either is effective in keeping heat in and draft out during ride. When ride is over transfer them to your drinking gloves for epic post ride activities. Cheap and easy...about $1/ride.
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    If you have room, try adding a super thin, silk liner sock. Helps with moisture transfer, wind, and adds a little warmth.

    I've also used toe covers a lot as 40s is about as cold as it gets here in winter avg. I've always gotten the PI toe covers (there may be better options idk). The bottom doesn't hold up to rocky abuse too well, but strategic duck taping can prolong their life quite a bit. I find them pretty functional for me.

  10. #10
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    It's a losing battle with XC summer SPD shoes.

    That said, the bright side is that as long as it's above about 28°F, frostbite is not possible, so you can lose all feeling and it'll come back when you warm them, although painfully.

    In 40-50 degrees, I'm definitely wearing my Lake 302s, they do ok down to about the 30s for me. Any colder and I have to go to my wolfhammers, which I run with giro proof covers and hotronics S4 heaters.

    Even running a chemical heater can be problematic without enough insulation, parts of your foot will still work and the other parts will get just as numb as I explained above.

    The problem is due to a couple reasons. One, the shoes are thin with mesh for breathability. Great when it's warm, bad when it's cold. Being constantly exposed to a headwind, heat is removed easily. The 2nd problem is the cleat and pedal. Go grab your pedals or the cleat right now, in your 70 degree house. You'll notice they are cold to the touch, they are simply very effective heat-sinks, so with virtually nothing between the bottom of your foot and this heat-sink, you lose a LOT of heat. Lastly, unlike running, cycling doesn't really force blood to your toes, so they cool further.

    You need something other than summer XC shoes. I too thought that I could try a bunch of these methods and be able to ride, but every time I did, I was extremely unhappy and did not have a good time. Now, I go out in far colder temps for hours on end. When I lived in AZ, I went on one ride that started at 5 degrees and was definitely colder in the woods where I was riding. I couldn't stand it after 30 minutes and swore I'd never do anything like that again. Now I realize I should have gotten a little bit of cold-weather gear. Not as much as I have now, but even a few of the basic things and maybe just one set instead of the multiple sets I have. It would have made riding so much more enjoyable and I would have not felt like I was fighting the conditions.

    You may not need a full-on winter boot, but beware some of the lighter-weight ones are simply XC shoes with a longer cuff, those aren't worth beans IMO. There are some good choices these days lighter weight and duty than my wolfhammers.

    Get them 2 euro sizes larger. 2 sizes you say? That's crazy? Not with a thick sock and there are things like sheep-skin insoles that take up a bit of space, but are ooh-so nice to have. It's easy to build up a shoe and "just the right size" is actually too small for winter riding, it puts your foot in direct contact, which also increases heat loss.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Has cold feet, refuses to get new shoes. How's that working for you? Goretex shoes, a little insulation, start there. Is this just say 5-10 rides a year or a regular thing?
    Goretex is not insulation.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  12. #12
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    Just experienced the same last night as Phoenix is finally catching up to 'winter' right now. It was 52 degrees during my ride and while I was fine, my feet were getting noticeably cold. (Also go with well ventilated footwear and Darn Tough/wool socks for all the same reasons.)

    Luckily, this won't last long, so i'm going with the 'suck it up, buttercup' method until and unless it is sustained and painful =)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Goretex is not insulation.
    Correct, it is however wind and waterproof. Fyi.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
    For California, this is considered cold weather, ok?
    I have sweaty feet, so I like to get shoes with good toe venting (e.g. that area above the toes are mesh)
    But when I go riding in these colder temperatures, my feet get cold.
    I already wear wool socks, BTW.

    A few suggestions I saw from internet reading:
    (no, I'm not going to buy new shoes)
    a) plastic baggie over shoes
    b) legit shoe covers (I use SPD)
    c) duct tape over shoe vents, or some other way to cover
    d) wind/waterproof socks (any recommendations that aren't crunchy and feel like a normal sock?)
    e) anti-perspirant spray

    Anybody here tried the above suggestions and could mention how well each of these (or other suggestions) work? I don't need waterproof, but want to block wind, add a little warmth, while still being able to evaporate sweat.
    I have notoriously cold feet.
    Are you sure your shoes are not too tight? That used to be my problem.

    In the case where I have shoes that don't cut off the circulation to my feet, I have used duct tape over the mesh/perforated part with some success, but it only provided a mild improvement - like not even 10F colder, or maybe 45-60 minutes longer at the same temperature. Outside of those parameters, I wear different shoes, then boots as it gets colder.
    I noticed that slow, grueling trail rides were much more comfortable than fast smooth rides in the cold, so I shyed away from fast routes when it got cold.

    For me,
    plastic bag = sweat
    never used shoe covers
    duct tape = yes
    waterproof socks = sweat (I like wool, wool, wool!)
    AP spray - no

    -F
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  15. #15
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    Cheap neoprene toe covers work well for me on my normal MTB shoes (Shimano M089L) just about any riding above 35F. They block the air from getting through the toe vents which is really what makes my feet cold. They're cheap and easy to slip on and off too. BUT, if it's wet the neoprene ones don't keep the water out, so I use a full shoe/ankle waterproof cover. They are a bit of a pain to get on and off, so I really only wear them when I know it's going to be wet.

    Pearl Izumi neoprene toe covers - $13: https://www.amazon.com/Pearl-Izumi-E.../dp/B003BLP0HI
    Louis Garneau Wind Dry SL - $36: https://www.amazon.com/Louis-Garneau.../dp/B00630L7TE
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  16. #16
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    What i would give to have 40-50 degree weather right now. That's skinny dipping weather.

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    [QUOTE=Thoreau;135511 It was 52 degrees during my ride and while I was fine, my feet were getting noticeably cold.

    Wow you guys wouldnt last long in wyoming. I consider 50 degrees to be the perfect biking weather as long as the wind isnt over 20 mph.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=denversportsjunkie;13556024][QUOTE=Thoreau;135511 It was 52 degrees during my ride and while I was fine, my feet were getting noticeably cold.

    Wow you guys wouldnt last long in wyoming. I consider 50 degrees to be the perfect biking weather as long as the wind isnt over 20 mph.[/QUOTE]

    I'm sure you're tough as nails...

    That and apparently you're not aware that you're body acclimates to the cold. When average highs are above 70*, riding in the 40's can be quite cold.

  19. #19
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    I dont care how warm it is where youre from if your cold in 50 degree weather youre not peddling hard enough. Not hard as nails either i weigh 130 pounds youre just a nancy

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    Quote Originally Posted by denversportsjunkie View Post
    I dont care how warm it is where youre from if your cold in 50 degree weather youre not peddling hard enough. Not hard as nails either i weigh 130 pounds youre just a nancy
    Come on down to Phoenix for a ride with me in June when it's 120 degrees and we'll see =) I've seen people heatstroke out in lesser extremes.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by denversportsjunkie View Post
    I dont care how warm it is where youre from if your cold in 50 degree weather youre not peddling hard enough. Not hard as nails either i weigh 130 pounds youre just a nancy
    Sounds nice on paper, but many of us don't have the circulation to our extremities in cooler weather, no matter how warm our core is. This started happening when I was about 32. I can be overheating like mad, but when it gets cool and I'm wearing something like regular SPD shoes, my feet can go numb in 50 degree weather, I won't get frostbite and I can keep going, but it's uncomfortable and lessens my control significantly. I can literally have my palms sweating and my fingers will be white with no blood circulating to them. I've found ways to overcome this in the winter and cold, but it's not as simple as just "pedal more" or "wear a jacket".
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  22. #22
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    cold feet in 40-50F weather

    This is the silver lining of living in Michigan, stupid weather makes our bodies adaptable. We hit 60 a couple days ago and it'll be 30 on Thursday. I get poor circulation too but I guess it doesn't bother me enough to do anything about it unless I'm going to be out for more than 1 1/2 hours in below 30ish temps (depending on windchill). Might consider investigating stretches that will work your joints, attacking the source of what's limiting your circulation might do more than just heating up the aftermath. But I'm no doctor so that could be nonsense.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyle_vk View Post
    This is the silver lining of living in Michigan, stupid weather makes our bodies adaptable. We hit 60 a couple days ago and it'll be 30 on Thursday. I get poor circulation too but I guess it doesn't bother me enough to do anything about it unless I'm going to be out for more than 1 1/2 hours in below 30ish temps (depending on windchill). Might consider investigating stretches that will work your joints, attacking the source of what's limiting your circulation might do more than just heating up the aftermath. But I'm no doctor so that could be nonsense.
    I used to do the "sprint thing" where I'm basically racing against my body shutting down, where I can only stand to be outside for a certain amount of time before my feet are too cold and I can't feel them anymore.

    I decided long ago that was dangerous (see recent survival stories in General and Nor-Cal forums). I'm not going to say I always make perfect decisions, checked the weather on Sunday, saw 11 degrees, figured to dress for that and that it'd get warmer, but it turned out to be about 0 to -5 where I was riding most of the time, so I had to throw on my extra layer, turn on my boot-heaters that I didn't originally intend to use, and generally shorten up the ride that I intended. In general though, I try to dress for and be prepared for equilibrium, where I can spend more time out in the cold, because **** happens. Coming back a few times not being able to feel my feet and fingers was enough. Just stuff that you don't plan for can happen, like you get back to the car and you have a dead battery, now you ride to a house or something, but your feet are already cold soaked and not getting any warmer? I've gotten more and more comfortable riding in the cold over the last few years, but I don't want to put myself out on a limb with a false sense of security.

    Source of what limits circulation in this case is neurological, the body improperly thinks that it needs to pull blood away from the extremities to preserve the core.

    Keeping the core warm is easy, but IMO if you are going to throw money anywhere , throw it at your extremities and far better to over-prepare there.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  24. #24
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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I got toe covers and rode last week in 50-ish weather again. I rode with a cover on one foot and nothing on the other. The cover made a difference between "cool and slightly uncomfortable" vs. "biting cold which is annoying but not painful". So I would say it helped moderately.

    Even on the covered foot, I could still feel some coldness, but I am not sure where it is coming from. Maybe from under the cleat, but I think that may be more due to the shoe having two cut-outs in it, rather than metal thermal conduction.

    So I'm looking for just a little more, to push it towards "comfy". Maybe try these?

    Fill up or tape over the SPD cleat slots?
    Thin layer of flexible plastic over the cleat plate for more thermal insulation? (e.g. Teflon sheet)
    Slightly more sock (or silk liner)?
    Full shoe cover that goes slightly up the ankle?
    More leg insulation? (What I wear now is chamois under-shorts, then full length compression tights [not meant for insulation], then baggy shorts. I wear wool-blend quarter crew socks. So from my calf to thigh is not well insulated...)

    Overall, I am close to "good enough" and won't need to buy new shoes.

  25. #25
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    See post 8...footwarmers will set you free!
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I got toe covers and rode last week in 50-ish weather again. I rode with a cover on one foot and nothing on the other. The cover made a difference between "cool and slightly uncomfortable" vs. "biting cold which is annoying but not painful". So I would say it helped moderately.

    Even on the covered foot, I could still feel some coldness, but I am not sure where it is coming from. Maybe from under the cleat, but I think that may be more due to the shoe having two cut-outs in it, rather than metal thermal conduction.

    So I'm looking for just a little more, to push it towards "comfy". Maybe try these?

    Fill up or tape over the SPD cleat slots?
    Thin layer of flexible plastic over the cleat plate for more thermal insulation? (e.g. Teflon sheet)
    Slightly more sock (or silk liner)?
    Full shoe cover that goes slightly up the ankle?
    More leg insulation? (What I wear now is chamois under-shorts, then full length compression tights [not meant for insulation], then baggy shorts. I wear wool-blend quarter crew socks. So from my calf to thigh is not well insulated...)

    Overall, I am close to "good enough" and won't need to buy new shoes.
    Even my "summer" riding around here can get chilly at times, and these provide just enough warmth to often bump over to the "totally comfortable" range on those slightly cooler days/rides. They are contingent on having enough space in the toe-box, but otherwise they definitely help in the spot where it's most needed.

    https://www.amazon.com/Factory-Hot-S.../dp/B076BBGCWG
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  27. #27
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    What sturge said.

    cold feet in 40-50F weather-816qievlpul._sl1500_.jpg

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post
    What sturge said.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Right on. I buy these in bulk. But I place them on the tops of my feet/toes as underfoot they feel awkward.

    Jayem is right about some having cold feet in not so cold weather when riding. My feet are cold in 50 F weather with wool socks and non-mesh shoes when on a bike. But the rest of me is warm. I can work outside without gloves and a light shirt in freezing weather and am quite use to dealing with the cold, including our several minus 20 F days we had this winter.

    The foot thing seems like a neurologic-vascular response. If I jog in 20 F I can wear skimpy socks and Merril mesh "barefoot" shoes and my feet are fine. if they are locked into a cyling shoe forget it. Thin leather ski boot and it is below zero, I'm fine if I'm moving.

    Best thing I've done for less that warm weather riding is run flats. Every 30 min or so I hop off the bike and jog a bit and that warms the feet.

  29. #29
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    Update again: This time, I had the same setup as before (i.e. toe cover on one foot only) except that I added REI silk sock liners to both feet. Now the difference is between "comfortable, but a little cool and damp" on one foot vs "cold and tingly" on the other. I'm about 95% of the way there, and probably what I need to do is focus on moisture management. I just realized that my "wool blend" socks were only 16% wool, so I'll try more wool next time.

    Thanks for the suggestions of the toe warmers. I know they don't cost much, but it seems kind of wasteful, especially since most of my rides are 1-2 hrs only.

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    Merino wool

  31. #31
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    Another shout-out for these: https://www.amazon.com/Factory-Hot-S.../dp/B076BBGCWG

    Perfect in our transition-season when temps are still cool in the 30s in the morning but get up to 60 in the afternoon (feels more like 70), provides just enough protection so I can run my summer shoes and be comfortable.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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    Sealskinz waterproof socks- three layers,one wool, one wicking and the middle layer is great for wind block
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    Sealskinz waterproof socks- three layers,one wool, one wicking and the middle layer is great for wind block
    Generally don't have much room in my summer shoes for a thick sock, the other thing is that if it gets real warm, it's easy to take off the hot sockee things. IMO, they are perfect for the shoulder season/commuting for this reason. If it's cold enough where I need windblock, I generally need my fall/spring shoes (lakes).
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  34. #34
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    I suffer from cold feet. For riding in the cold , I have had good luck with thin wicking socks covered by a plastic bag (Subway sandwich bag works great), then cover the bag with wool sock.

    You can't really notice the bag, it blocks the wind, and it keeps your wool sock from getting wet with sweat. When done, my wicking sock is soaking wet, but my wool socks and feet stay warm.

    My feet sweat a lot, so this method works for me. This might not work if your shoes get wet from rain or snow, because your insulation will get wet, but it does work for keeping your sweat from ruining your insulation.

    Free to try this method.

  35. #35
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    I was in the same boat about 6-7 years ago.

    Used thicker socks and plastic bags with limited success.

    Finally just bite the bullet and bought pair of used insulated Lakes used on a Facebook cycling age. Best $50 I have ever spent. Wear them religiously if under 50 degrees.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach529 View Post
    I was in the same boat about 6-7 years ago.

    Used thicker socks and plastic bags with limited success.

    Finally just bite the bullet and bought pair of used insulated Lakes used on a Facebook cycling age. Best $50 I have ever spent. Wear them religiously if under 50 degrees.
    Yeah, IME, they suck when the temp really starts to get below freezing, but below 50 degrees and to around or just below freezing they are great. Just like you say, it makes riding so much easier and comfortable. Even though I live in Alaska, I should have bought them long ago, when I lived in Arizona. Coldest ride there was 5°F and below in the hills, but many were around or right below freezing in the winter, especially early.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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