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  1. #1
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    exhilarating

    Did my first work commute in 7 years this AM. First Winter commute ever.
    27 degrees. A bit brisk on the cheeks early. Ended up exhilarating.

    I missed 9 miles of rush hour freeway and 6-lane retail/commercial area in exchange for 12 miles of mostly quiet streets and bike trail.

    Out of 12 miles, maybe had 2 miles with busy traffic. 4 miles of bike trail, (which part of was really tough going. The power lines shed all their sticky snow, which froze in clumps on the trail. Was a 2 mile rumble strip).

    Tomorrow the car has a service appointment. Wednesday will be raining, but I am going to ride.

    PM me if you need a mortgage!

    Charlie
    Vice President of Mortgage lending.
    www.guaranteedrate.com/charlesjohnson
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  2. #2
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    Very Nice, very nice!

    If you think trail building is addictive wait until you get into commuting.

  3. #3
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    day 2 log

    Day 2. 20 degrees, 10-20mph tail wind. As I left home, my visiting Brother-in-law looked at me with an uncomfortable expression on his face.

    Felt great arriving to work: 1 hour 6 minutes.

    Clothing: Thin cap, swix ear muffs, helmet. Wore gore windstopper gloves, one thin layer, one heavy layer covered with Bontrager commuter shell, (breathable waterproof) pit zips closed. Leg covered with Pearl izumi amfib pants, (wind proof front). Feet, 5.10 shoes covered with wind shell, on nylon pedals.

    Was worried about my hands the first 6 miles, they were chilled. Warm the next 4, hot the last 2. All else was fine. Whole body was near sweating the last two miles, unzipped the last qtr mile to cool down prior to entering the office.

    I dressed differently than the first day. The first day I wore the same two base layers, covered by an REI momentum jacket, and bright wind shell. Wore heavier gloves. 27 degrees, hands were sweaty that day. Headwind home, mile long climb just before home, woefully out of shape? 1 hour 25 minutes home.

    Notes: Next test. Meeting a client at a nearby coffee shop this AM. Packed a down jacket and cap, will ride bike in work clothes. Forgot wallet. Luckily I have a cup full of change.


    Ride home. 34 degrees, 10-20 mph headwind. Got colder as I got closer to home, (shade?). 1 hour 12 minutes.
    Last edited by cjohnson; 03-16-2012 at 08:35 AM. Reason: add, organize

  4. #4
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    Sounds like you're really dedicated to this. I guess I can't complain when it's ~40 degrees out and I don't feel like riding.
    We sell quality bike headlights and flashlights.
    www.LightJunction.com

  5. #5
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    I want to

    check in a year from now.

  6. #6
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    Most start commuting in nice weather. Seems like you have the countercultural bent needed!

    BrianMc

  7. #7
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    awesome. Keep it p!

  8. #8
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    Day 3 log

    51 F and sprinkling. Very little wind. Feeling more comfortable with my route, and making left turns in traffic.

    Clothing:
    Wore thin base layer and bontrager commuter shell, pit zips half open.
    Pearl Izumi waterproof helmet cover. no cap. Did wear ear covers.
    Gore wind stopper gloves.
    Sierra designs Nano rain pants over full length padded bike pants.
    Shoe covers.

    First time I've worn the rain jacket in the rain. I arrived at work with my upper body feeling a bit clammy, but comfortable. I could feel a bit of sweat collecting in the small of my back.. The helmet cover kept my head dry and warm. First commute I could feel sweat collect on my brow. Need to slow down my tempo perhaps.

    Legs were comfortable, the rain pants were incredibly comfortable at this temperature, (felt airy and light). Hands were comfortable the whole ride.

    Notes: Now that I am more confident in the concept of bike commuting, pondering what to wear at what temps occupies my thoughts quite often.

    Notes: Forgot lunch, ordering a sub sandwich delivered.

    The first commute, my wife said the snow would be too slippery to ride, the second she suggested it may be too cold and too windy. Today, it is raining, she didn't say a word about my method of transportation. I think she is starting to understand what I am attempting to do.

    Ride home. 58F and WINDY. 25 mph gusts. Wore windbreaker shell over thin base layer. Light glove. long bike tights cover with the rain pants. Warm, legs could have done without the rain shell.
    Last edited by cjohnson; 03-16-2012 at 08:35 AM. Reason: second half,organize

  9. #9
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    Day 4 log.

    Evening event commute to Bike club meeting. 62F sunny. 40 miles round trip.
    Nylon pants, thin top with nylon vest, light rei wind gloves. Very comfy.

    Ride home, 40F. No wind. Added a nylon jacket over the nylon vest and thin shirt. Same gloves. Mostly comfortable, never uncomfortably chilly.

    notes: 11:30 PM. Awesome ride home. Practically zero traffic. I could ride down the middle of streets. I rolled through two stop signs. In the distance, through my mirror, I saw blue and red flashing lights after the 2nd stop sign I rolled through. After a moment of dismay and introspection the lights disappeared. Whew.

    No one on the bike trails. Spooky in the wooded areas. Saw 11 rabbits, heard hundreds of frogs, and heard one voice from a backyard.
    Last edited by cjohnson; 03-16-2012 at 09:23 PM. Reason: organize

  10. #10
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    Day 5 log

    54 and foggy followed shortly by Sun.

    clothing: Wore shorts, leg warmers, base layer and jacket, wind gloves.
    Too hot. Mile 6 I took off the leggings, removed the sleeves and changed gloves.

    I was wearing a nike base layer shirt, it kept the sweat against my skin, maybe even blocked the wind a bit. I really like waffle weave base layers better for moving perspiration and staying dry.

    notes: I realized my commute is 12.8 miles not 12.1 miles.
    Last edited by cjohnson; 03-16-2012 at 08:34 AM. Reason: orgainize

  11. #11
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    nice!

    I've been commuting a good bit since I built a dedicated commuter bike in the fall. for the most part, a good way to start the day. where I am in Texas, wintertime is commuting season. I don't do too well with the summer heat, but looking to move somewhere cooler this summer. I can handle commuting in cold/snow and even rain. I don't do thunderstorms, though. I have a personal history with lightning that makes me very wary.

    I need to get some panniers, though. am not a fan of the extra sweat a backpack provides for commuting. bike spending has been halted, though, until after we move.

  12. #12
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    @cjohnson, good job sticking with the commuting!

    @NateHawk, you still thinking about the Seattle area as far as relocating? Pretty easy year-round commuting here, as long as you have the right gear (as in fenders and rain gear) for it. Summer commuting here is the best.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    @cjohnson, good job sticking with the commuting!

    @NateHawk, you still thinking about the Seattle area as far as relocating? Pretty easy year-round commuting here, as long as you have the right gear (as in fenders and rain gear) for it. Summer commuting here is the best.
    would be nice, but the wife's not getting any serious interest about her resume. She DOES, however, have a guy rather interested (and maybe even a little excited) in Indianapolis. she flies out for an interview Sunday night.

    it's my hometown, so I know the city well. mtb riding has come a long way since I moved away in college, and the bike commuting environment has progressed enormously in only a few years going from less than 1mi of bike lanes to more than 65 (with an ambitious comprehensive plan to install a pretty major network of lanes throughout the county. and those are in addition to a network of off-street bike paths that has expanded since I left, too. current mayor has made it a priority to make the city more bike friendly, apparently. there's an IMBA Epic trail less than an hour from the city, state parks have begun allowing new mtb trails since I left (some, in fact, once allowed mtb riding, banned it, and now are re-allowing it).

    job prospects for me may not be quite as varied as they would be in a city closer to large tracts of public land, but it would be much easier for me to get a teaching license (one of my options) in Indiana than in WA. cost of living is very low. we could afford to live in one of the desirable parts of town in Indy on just my wife's salary - not so much in most places out west.

    It's actually a little wetter in Indy than Seattle, with temps a good bit less stable. It gets warmer in the summertime, and colder in the wintertime. Not quite cold enough to truly enjoy winter sports, though.

    hopefully far enough away from the wife's family that they don't just randomly drop by and demand gobs of time. my family isn't like that so much - they certainly want me to live close by especially since my grandparents are on the decline, but folks in my family tend to keep to themselves more of the time.

    the neighborhoods I grew up in are pretty "meh" but in general, the city is on an upswing.

  14. #14
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    OT- Indy news highlighted new and expanding bike paths in Indy and central Indiana a couple of nights ago.

    Indianapolis Bike Lanes 2012 - YouTube

    Things are improving.

    BrianMc

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    Day 6 log

    43F dense fog, with pockets of heavy fog.

    clothing: Wore shorts, leg warmers, waffle weave long sleeve base layer. Nylon shell w/pit zips half open, halo mesh head cover. Wind gloves. Comfy the whole way to work!

    Notes: Having a hard time keeping my effort below the sweat threshold. Also, kind of surprised how warm I can be while riding.

    In ten days I've got 173 miles under my wheels. It has also been two weeks since I filled my car's gas tank. I usually go through a tank a week. Next week is a bummer of sorts. I've got several off-site appointments. Need my car.

  16. #16
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    You really start to notice how little you have to fill up your car. I've dropped my car off and left it at work for times when I had off-site appointments. The only bummer was Friday when I drove it home. Not sure if that is an option for you.

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    Not sure.

    I really don't know about over night security. I'll have to mull that over, but a very good idea, thank you.

  18. #18
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    I've gone 100% bike commuter, but sometimes still need a car. Here is what I did:

    Car Sharing, an alternative to car rental and car ownership – Zipcar

    Not sure if they have any near you, but it works great for me.

    RE: sweating while commuting...you know the old saying "cold at the trailhead, warm on the trail"? It also applies to commuting. Take today for example, 39 degrees and raining when I left the house...wore a thin polypro base layer and my rain shell over the top with the pit zips wide open. Cold for about two minutes and toasty warm (even sweating while going up the hills) after that.

  19. #19
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    sweat

    On the way to work I'm trying to ride with just enough effort without sweating much. My body seems to instinctively want to push harder than my mind wants to. Hard to slow down!

  20. #20
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    Great going, CJ

    You mentioned your 5.10 shoes with wind shell on nylon pedals back on day 2....curious what you are using for wind shell...my 5.10 hi tops are OK with wool socks + goretex socks down to 10F, but cozier is always nice.

    I would reconsider worrying about sweating, it will happen when it gets warmer anyway, I would just spend a few more minutes cleaning up. I like the washcloth/small towel method.

  21. #21
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    I made some

    Not sure what to call them. I have neoprene covers for road bike shoes, and don't think they offer much in the way of comfort and wanted a simple wind shell. Didn't find anything on the internet so I made what I wanted.

    Previously when I've pedaled in Winter I disliked the draft/cold around my ankles. I didn't want to be clipped in during the Winter, (I like flats anyway, and will need the bike to run day time errands in my work clothes) so I wanted a way use my 5.10s, stay warm and dry during rain storms. I also figured nylon flat pedals would not transmit the cold through my shoes the same way my clipless pedals do.

    I bought a yard of waterproof/breathable material for $16, (this is durable stuff, think it is designed for outdoor furniture). Stared at my gaitors for construction tips, looked up spat patterns and started cutting and taping a pattern out of paper. I bought fabric glue, seam/hem tape and pasted the fabric together. I have a sewing friend who I may ask to sew the seams properly. But they seem to be very durable as they are. Other than a button or three, I've only sewn together one other thing in my life, so I had to guess on much of the process.

    They work perfectly. Kept the breeze off my feet and ankles, they will fit over my 5.10s as well as heavier insulated boots. If it rains, I put them on and have dry shoes!



    Last edited by cjohnson; 03-16-2012 at 08:12 PM. Reason: more

  22. #22
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    Zip cars! How cool. I went to the link and poked around. If they had that in my city, I would use it. I've heard of car sharing, never knew it was so organized and well thought out.

  23. #23
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    Saw zipcars in san fran when I visited in the fall. Haven't seen them anywhere else I've been. Seems like a good idea.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    Not sure what to call them. I have neoprene covers for road bike shoes, and don't think they offer much in the way of comfort and wanted a simple wind shell. Didn't find anything on the internet so I made what I wanted.

    Previously when I've pedaled in Winter I disliked the draft/cold around my ankles. I didn't want to be clipped in during the Winter, (I like flats anyway, and will need the bike to run day time errands in my work clothes) so I wanted a way use my 5.10s, stay warm and dry during rain storms. I also figured nylon flat pedals would not transmit the cold through my shoes the same way my clipless pedals do.

    I bought a yard of waterproof/breathable material for $16, (this is durable stuff, think it is designed for outdoor furniture). Stared at my gaitors for construction tips, looked up spat patterns and started cutting and taping a pattern out of paper. I bought fabric glue, seam/hem tape and pasted the fabric together. I have a sewing friend who I may ask to sew the seams properly. But they seem to be very durable as they are. Other than a button or three, I've only sewn together one other thing in my life, so I had to guess on much of the process.

    They work perfectly. Kept the breeze off my feet and ankles, they will fit over my 5.10s as well as heavier insulated boots. If it rains, I put them on and have dry shoes!



    Nice project, CJ, looks ike they came out great. Thanks.

  25. #25
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    Day 7 log.

    59F and muggy.

    Clothes: Short sleeves, shorts, vest, finger less gloves. comfy!

    Notes: Hard to believe the first photo in this thread was two weeks ago to the day. No snow any where, 79F yesterday.

    Ran some errands over the weekend using the bike. Having fun using the bike as a utility vehicle. "Fun" being the key word. Of all the advantages and good things about using the bike in this fashion, "fun" was unexpected, but "fun" has become the biggest reward for me.

    Having the rear rack with panier bags attached seems to be key to use the bike on short notice. Everything I may need is in the bags. Tools, lock, cable, tube, rain shells... Weight has not been an issue. We've got an upright women's bike in the garage that I intend to put fenders, and true grocery paniers on, and I'll equip it the same way. My wife wants-in on the short errands by bike experiment.

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    Day 8 log

    75F and sunny.

    clothes: Nothing interesting to dwell on.

    Forgot to wear sunglasses, my eyes are very itchy.

  27. #27
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    Day 9 log. Don't need a perfect day.

    75F and sunny on the way to work, clouds opposite direction.

    The past two days my commute started late morning. The commute is more fun earlier in the morning when the sun is low.

    Lot of rain clouds visible on the ride home, no worries.

    The difference between my bike commuting now and 7 years ago is that 7 years ago I waited for the perfect day. Defined as nice weather, no chance of rain, and no off-site appointments nor late appointments.

    Perfect days were few and far between and eventually 7 years passed. When the commuting bug revisited me I wanted to to not need a perfect day. Weather and late appointments would not be an excuse to not pedal. With the rear rack and pannier bags I carry a wide assortment of clothes, (layers, rain gear, head covers, and gloves types) and a headlight.

    I like to think I am ready. Rains clouds in the West, I was not worried, in fact I was looking forward to testing my gear. (Un)fortunately, the rain missed me today.

    However, rain was in the forecast, and on the radar. I still pedaled to work.

  28. #28
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    Good point. I realized this too. If you left your bike at home every time there was a "chance of rain", you would rarely ride. Today, thunderstorms were forecast, and it did get dark and windy on the way home, but the rain and thunderstorms never materialized. After getting caught a few times in huge downpours, I also realized that I won't melt. Visibility to motorists is the bigger challenge in those conditions, but a commuter has already bought head and taillights anyways.

  29. #29
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    Let's see, I have been rained on 9 out of the last 10 days. After a while, you don't even really notice it anymore.

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    Day 10. Three tests.

    51F and rain!

    A light drizzle, but a real rain to test my gear.

    Clothes: Helmet cover, (no head cover) rain pants, rain shell w/pit zips 3/4 open, my wind shells over my shoes. Base layer was leg warmers, thin waffle weave LS shirt. Completely dry and comfortable. Rain stopped 6 miles in, and I took off the rain pants and switched to a vest.

    Notes: I think I have resolved my rain and glove concerns for cold rainy days. At Target I bought a size XL gel glove for $15, and pulled them over my NRS hydroskin river gloves. Comfortable fit! I should have thought of this idea right away. I think this combination may work down to 40F.

    The NRS gloves are thin .5 mm neoprene with a tacky coating. I use the gloves kayaking in Spring snowmelt water, with pogies, and my hands stay warm. The gloves are thin enough to not loose the road feel through the bars and tacky enough in rain to shift and brake. I don't know if the gloves are water proof, but that won't matter, while kayaking my hands are warm and wet in the coldest of water, (with pogies).

    They don't dry real fast, will have to rinse them out at the end of the day.

    nrs hydroskin gloves. NRS Men's HydroSkin Gloves at NRSweb.com

    Three tests passed today.
    1. My gear kept me dry.
    2. It was raining, I bike commuteed, (and I ran an errand, stopped at the library drive through to return kid dvds).
    3. My glove idea seems to work very well.

    Ride home: 57F and 13 miles of steady rain. Same clothes, but my upper body and arms were soaked. I had the pit zips open, I was comfortable, but speculate the moisture was mostly sweat. Hands were wet and warm, still happy with the glove set-up. Riding in the rain was enjoyable. Stopped at the North Face store to pick up an order. Took my time going home.
    Last edited by cjohnson; 03-23-2012 at 05:16 PM. Reason: ride home

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    Day 11 log. Mucus elevator.

    32.2F strong headwind. 15-20mph sustained.

    Clothes. Nylon pants over leg warmers. Wind shell over two thin shirts, gore windstopper gloves, teva pinner shoes without the windshell. cyling cap w/swix ear covers.

    Only thing chilled were my feet. The Tevas are not as warm as the 5.10 shoes. Not cold enough to stop and put on the windshells, but will put the d shells on in a similar circumstance for total comfort.

    Strong headwind really made the mucus elevator kick-in. I noticed I can blow snot over the right shoulder and see it fly. Left shoulder, I can't see where it goes. It was not for a lack of trying. This quirk occupied my thoughts for much of the ride. Each time I blew over the left shoulder I wiped my shoulder to "check." Clean. Weird.


    Ride Home. 37F tail wind! Put on the shoe shells, total comfort.
    Last edited by cjohnson; 03-26-2012 at 05:27 PM. Reason: ride home

  32. #32
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    It's funny, the thoughts that get stuck in your head while riding.

  33. #33
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    I don't mind a bit of rain on my commute. Cold rain isn't the most pleasant thing in the world, but I've got adequate rain gear to keep it from being miserable.

    I don't mess with thunderstorms. i was very close to being hit by lightning a number of years back...close enough that I felt the shock wave from the strike. If the thunderstorm chances are low, say 30% or less, and current conditions do not look like a thunderstorm is imminent, I'll take the bike. If thunderstorm chances are above 50%, it's an absolute no-go. Bike stays home. Between those, I take a closer look at the forecast and the radar to see if the forecast storms are anticipated to be active during any of my commute times.

    I keep rain gear in my pack at all times during times of year when rain is a good possibility.

  34. #34
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    Day 12 Log. A blustery Day.

    38F winds gusts to 40 mph, sustained 20mph.

    Clothes. Same as yesterday, but used the shoe shells. Cycle cap, swix ear covers, leg warmers under nylon pants, gore windstopper gloves. It was not unbearable, but I was never quite comfortable, my shoulders felt chilled. My head, feet and hands were fine which made the ride bearable.

    Notes. A strong wind trumps temperature. I expected to be warm, but was either under dressed, or my base layers were not performing well. I can also try my rain, (breathable) jacket instead of the wind shell if similar conditions are encountered.

    A blustery day: Windsday - YouTube

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    38F winds gusts to 40 mph, sustained 20mph.

    Clothes. Same as yesterday, but used the shoe shells. Cycle cap, swix ear covers, leg warmers under nylon pants, gore windstopper gloves. It was not unbearable, but I was never quite comfortable, my shoulders felt chilled. My head, feet and hands were fine which made the ride bearable.

    Notes. A strong wind trumps temperature. I expected to be warm, but was either under dressed, or my base layers were not performing well. I can also try my rain, (breathable) jacket instead of the wind shell if similar conditions are encountered.

    A blustery day: Windsday - YouTube
    Congrats on sticking with it. I have been doing it for close to 6 weeks now (wife drives me in if the weather in the morning is in the teens or single digits, dont mind the leather heated seat) and loving it. The only thing that sucks Is what you experienced there is my normal commute home. I normally have a 20mph headwind that is constant with gusts normally in the 30s. However, there are days like today where I will probably have gusts up to the 50s. I did that one day and looked at my cyclocomputer to watch my speed drop from 15 to 12 to 8 in no time.

    Keep up the good work!! And maybe starting adding a weekly ride on your calmer days. I have a desk job where I dont interact with customers or have many meetings to normally (if weather permits) we will either do a 8-12 mile lunch road ride or a 5-7 mile lunch mtn ride.

  36. #36
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    Day 13 log. What choo takin' bout?

    37F and rain. Steady drizzle became sprinkles with 15-20mph headwind.

    Clothes. Rain cover on helmet, no cap, wore swix ear covers. Rain pants over leg warmers, Rain jacket over base layer and woven cycle jersey. NRS glove combo. Shoe shells over 5.10s.

    Comfortable! Another test passed. Today would be considered a miserable day by most. My hands were toasty. Truly impressed with how comfortable the sierra designs nano pants are. My upper body was damp, but warm, using the Bontrager commuter jacket. The shoe shells continue to impress me as well. Dry, warm feet. The wind did not bother me. When I conquer the weather I feel empowered.

    Notes: Yesterday a co-worker came into my office and with a lecturing tone said, "Are trying to get killed? Dashing in and out of traffic on Bluemond Rd, that is not safe."

    "I don't ride on Bluemound I replied, that was not me, and that is not how I ride," I replied.

    "But it was a bike, so it was you," she answered.

    WTF was my thought. "How many people have you told this story to," I asked?

    "3".

    "Please go to each of them and tell them you were mistaken, that was not me, I don't ride on that road and I don't have death wish, thanks." She said she would.

    That was a weird exchange. I recall something similar with a differ co-worker 7 years ago and I had forgotten it.

    If this ever happens again, I am simply going to exclaim, "Oh my god, are you okay? The way you were driving __________, the cars honking I thought for sure some road rager was gonna track you down..." The reply I'll expect will be confusion, followed by, "I don't drive there, it wasn't me...." To which I'll say, "But it was a car, it had have been you..."

    I'll post the results here, if it happens.

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    day 14. Apathy, uninspired

    42F Sunny and headwind.

    clothes: Two thin layers under wind shell. Thin pacer head cover, leg warmers under nylon pants. gore wind stoper gloves. comfy.


    Notes: Just didn't feel like riding this AM. It would have been so easy to jump in the car. Told myself that "easy" isn't why I am doing this, forced myself to pedal. 1 mile from work I started to feel good. Glad I rode my bike today.

    The ride home was great, 16 mph tailwind!

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    day 15 log. Whew.

    42F overcast.

    Clothes: Same as yesterday, but wore a warmer cap and 5.10 shoes. Very comfy!

    Notes: Once again, prior to beginning my ride, I didn't feel enthused to ride the bike. The morning was beautiful though. If I had driven the car my judgement of the morning would have been made during the 30 second walk from my parked car to the office building door. Riding the bike allowed me savor and appreciate all that a great early Spring morning entails.

    Whew, glad I rode my bike.

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    day 16. faster tires

    43F and Sunny.

    Clothes. Two thin tops under wind jacket, thin mesh head cover, swix ear covers, gore wind gloves. Leg warmers under cotton pants. Comfy, almost hot.

    Notes. I replaced my cyclo cross tires, (knobby) in favor of Vitorria Randonneur Pro tires. Tires are very personal and subjective. I love the ride feel of Vitorria's on my road bike so I thought I'd buy some Vitorria brand city/touring tires.

    Speed is not my greatest concern, durability, wet traction and flat resistance are higher priorities. I bought 35 mm, (32mm measured) tires. The ride is nice. Great, smooth comfortable road feel, better than the cyclo cross tires I replaced.

    The new tires are faster too. I arrived at work in 20% less time. Not sure that is great thing. I really enjoy my commute, now it ends sooner. I'll have to mull this over.

    Ride home: Head wind. 25 mph constant.. Toasted my legs.
    Last edited by cjohnson; 04-09-2012 at 08:21 PM. Reason: headwind.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    ...The new tires are faster too. I arrived at work in 20% less time. Not sure that is great thing. I really enjoy my commute, now it ends sooner. I'll have to mull this over.
    Hello, longer route

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    longer route

    That is what I was thinking too. There is no shortage of streets, paths and roads!

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    Day 17 30F 17 windchill

    30F with North wind, 17F windchill.

    clothes: base layer of rei momentum turtle neck, covered by wind shell. Head cover, swix ear covers, leg warmers under nylon pats, shoe shells, teva pinners. Gore windstopper gloves. Body was almost chilled, not uncomfortable.

    Notes: Dug into XC ski bag and tried a very thin turtle neck made of space age material. (REI momentum fabric?). Hyper breathable, windproof. Never been sure when to wear this garment. Often get too hot using it skiing unless it is near ZeroF.

    By itself it isn't quite warm, but the thinnest base layer really heats it up. I tried it solo in this AM's windy and cold conditions covered only by a windshell. Started out chilled, arrived at work just at the threshold of being chilled. Will try again with a very thin layer under it in similar conditions.

    Over-all, another pleasant ride this AM.

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    day 18 30F sunny 517 miles

    30F and sunny, very little wind. Close to 38 when arrived at work.
    Clothes. Two base layers under wind jacket. Light head cover, ear covers, leg warmers under nylon pants. Gore wind stopper gloves. HOT.

    A light S wind and sun makes a huge difference in comfort. A beautiful day.

    Notes: As the days warm up, I'm not going to log every day.

    This has become my personal diary for figuring out what to wear.

    Since March 5th I've pedaled 517 commuting miles, plus many mt bike miles. My fitness is greatly improved. Love it!

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    day 19. 32F and Sunny

    Clothes. Nylon pants, no leg warmers. One base layer, (jersey) under wind jacket, light wind gloves, light head cover and swix ear covers. Very comfortable after 2 miles.

    Notes: Clear skies and sun make a huge difference in clothing. There was frost in the shade. I've worn much more clothing on cloudy, windy days and have been comfortable. On similar day I was too warm with gore gloves, leg warmers and two base layers.

    Fitness. I've been mountain biking every week and will have over 600 miles commuting by the end of the week. I feel great.

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    day 20. 39F downpour

    39F pouring rain on the ride home. Biggest rain event I've pedaled through. Lovely weather in the AM.

    Clothes: Leg warmers under rain pants. Shoe shells. Thin base layer under rain jacket. Helmet cover, thin head cover, ear covers. NRS glove combo. Toasty warm until the last 2 miles.

    Notes: Forgot my water bottle, I think that is why I got chilled the last two miles home. I also had very little clothing under my jacket. The shoe shells worked well, my feet started to get wet as I arrived home. The tips of my fingers were wet and warm. The glove combination works very well.

    I've been enjoying the rain commutes. Not sure why but I feel extra great riding in the rain. Proper gear certainly helps!

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    Fall!

    Weather is changing. Need to update my log.
    Since March 5th I have commuted by bike 56 times. Surprisingly, Summer had very few bike commutes for me. That was unexpected. I've also learned that I prefer cool weather to hot weather for bike commuting.

    If I bike commute 16 more times this year I will have 2,000 commuting miles since March 5th. So that is a goal for the next two months.

    28F North wind 13 mph this AM

    5.10 shoes, no covers, feet were chilled.
    Halo head cover, (not a cap), ear muffs, head was chilled.
    Leg warmers under cotton pants, legs were fine.
    2 thin shirts under wind shell, torso was fine.
    Gore windstopper gloves, hands were toasty perfect! Makes me tempted to window shop the Gore web site.

    Going home will place me into the wind remnants of Hurricane Sandy, not too bad though, NW 10-20 mph winds expected, 40F.

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    This thread gets way better if I imagine you're Cave Johnson and read all your posts accordingly.

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    I can be Cave Johnson!

    22f and 25F ride today.

    Only my feet were chilled, (but not cold).
    thin layer under bike jersey, wind shell.
    leg warmers under cotton pants, wool socks, 5.10 shoes.
    gore gloves, cap, ear muffs.

    Been doing this since March, but today is the first day I went to and from work in below freezing weather.

    Dark going home now, light is working great.

    My big question as it gets colder. Should I buy thermal bike tights and wear them under my cotton pants ? Or should I buy more leg warmers and a wind resistant pant, (not wind proof)?
    hmmm.

  49. #49
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    Most excellent. Wind resistant pants for sure, at least on the front, or all-around, depending on the temp. Combine with bike shorts or various weights of long johns as needed.

    Have you used those Gore gloves in a good rain? Did they soak through?

  50. #50
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    I use thermal bike tights all winter long. Add a layer of long underwear under them when the temp drops below about 15-20. The tights I have don't have a pad so I wear them over bike shorts for an added layer of protection in my "sensitive areas". The tight/short combination was plenty warm today at 26F. I am using Descent Shelter Tights.

  51. #51
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    Is there a difference between tights and synthetic long johns? Either way, they`re pretty useful. I wear my long johns under shorts when it gets just a little to cold for bare legs, then go to a pair of nylon sports pants (block wind pretty well) when it drops a bit more, finally go with long johns+pants as a last effort.
    Recalculating....

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    12F sunny wind 5mph

    Haven't checked in for a week. Sorry.

    Answers to questions: I have not used the gore gloves in rain, (I don't believe they would be water proof). In a heavy rain, I have had great luck using NRS gloves with X-large bike gloves pulled over them in temps just above freezing. Within this thread is a link.

    Tights. When I mention thermal tights, I am referring to tights with a chamois and are wind resistant/proof.

    What I wore today. 12F Sunny, light quartering tail wind. I arrived at work with cold feet, a warm neck, hot hands, a chill between my eyes, one elbow was cold, and my head was chilled. These minor effects give me confidence for colder weather.

    I wore a pair of Planet Bike Borealis gloves that I won at a raffle. They were super toasty. Warmer than the Gore gloves. These will be a great transition to colder "bar mitts" weather.

    Legs: I wore leg warmers under cotton pants. In the light wind this was perfect. I am certain I reached the comfort limits for both temps and wind though. I still have not bought wind resistant pants. I may also buy cotton pants lined with flannel or fleece and continue with the leg warmers.

    Feet: I bought a pair of nike wind socks at a swap meet. These are stretchy things that can be pulled OVER a shoe. I chose to wear them over my socks and inside my 5.10 shoe. My feet were cold. I think the wind shells I made will work better at this temp. Any colder though and I will wear insulated boots.

    Torso: From Sam's club, I bought an "omni-wool" crew shirt, $19, and wore that against my skin. I wore a thin tec material shirt over that. Both under a nylon wind shell. My torso was mostly comfortable. The cold elbow was windward. That "omni-wool was a great buy.

    For colder weather I have options to try on my torso. In addition to wearing my windproof breathable jacket:

    A. I am going to recycle a pair of wool sock, (cut off an end) and use that as an arm warmer under the jacket. Maybe add a very thin vest as well. My thinking is this combo won't pinch my shoulders/underarm and will give me options.
    B. Onmi wool under REI momentum shirt, (wind proof, highly breathable).
    C. Omni wool under a wool sweater.

    Head. I wore a bike cap under a typical vented helmet, with very thin ear muffs. I will wear my gore helmet cover over the helmet in similar temps. I may also try a bmx style helmet, (bern) as it has less vents, but I am not sure how well my sun glasses will fit under it.

    Going home will be 26F with a 10 mph head wind.

    Have not felt the need to wear a balaclava yet.

  53. #53
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    My $0.02 on the torso:

    I'm really happy down to about 5F with just a longsleeve jersey (either smartwool or synthetic, but I prefer the smartwool because it doesn't stink) and an outer winbreaker shell.

    But I also wear a 3-1 balaclava, and ride with it open-faced until about 5F. The balaclava really helps keeps my torso warm - if I ride with just a beanie I notice how cold my neck gets, and how much overall colder I feel.

    Around 5~0F I'll add a fleece layer between my jersey and windbreaker, but usually end up sweating buckets. Around -10F I'll add sock armwarmers.

  54. #54
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    Oh, and I should say that at round 0F I add the fleece not necessarily because my torso is cold, but because the idea of being out in 0F with just a thin jersey and windbreaker seems crazy. I know it will make me sweaty, but that seems preferable to having a breakdown while having basically no insulation on.

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    21F sunny

    No big news today. I tried the Nike shoe cover/wind sock again today. I wore teva pinner shoes, (which have a dramatically smaller sole/footprint than my 5.10s). This time I wore the socks went OVER the shoes. I arrived at work with chilled and wet feet. So far I am not impressed with these shoe covers.

    It was warmer this AM, but I left for work earlier. The sun was lower in the sky than yesterday, and as a result it felt colder than yesterday's 12F for the first 15 minutes.

  56. #56
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    cjohnson, love the posts about what you wear for all of this, and keep it up. I'm working on trying to ride into work every day as well....

    What type of saddle bags are those you are using?

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    RE: panniers

    They are an REI brand. They are working fine for me. I bought them from the rei.com/outlet for approx $49.

    I did have to adjust the lower attachment point in order to move the bags far enough back to avoid heel strikes.

    The fabric "slow moving vehicle" reflectors I added myself. They are attached with fabric glue.

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    Good to know, and not a bad price point either for those. Definitely going to keep an eye out for them.

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    9F facemask mucus elevator! 2002.4 miles

    I started to bike commute March 5th and commuter pedaled 2002.4 miles in 2012. I also do a fair amount of mt biking and dabble in road biking. I am both surprised by that number being as large as it is, (for me) and also motivated to surpass it in 2013.

    During the Summer I did not commute if I was going to mt bike in the evening nor when the temps were above 90F. As a result I bike commuted very seldom during June, July and August. This year I've decided to not let high temps change my transportation. I also will try to bike commute sometimes when I will also mt bike.

    Today.
    9F, gentle breeze. For the first time I wore a facemask. It is half neoprene and velcros in the back. Half way to work I realized I could not blow snot nor drink water. I was being waterboarded and drying out at that same time.

    The forecast ended up being deceptive. I dressed for 5F, (which would be the most cold temp I've commuted) the temp was 9F when I left the house and was 18F when I arrived at work.

    What I wore. ( I made clothing choices for temps colder than I've ridden in previously, but the temps increased so quickly all the results are inconclusive.)

    Hands. Planet bike borealis gloves. Hands were toasty. I almost put on my Bar Mitts but thought I'd try the gloves at this temp.

    Feet. I finally wore footgear other than my 5.10s. I wore my winter boots. Vasque leather boots with 400 grams of thinsulte. These boots are rated to -45F but that's a joke. I replaced the foam insoles with 6mm wool felt insoles. (Wool will absorb sweat and insulate better). I bought these shoes a half size larger for extra socks and thicker insoles. The result, the tops of my feet were chilled but not cold. I removed the insoles upon arrival at work, underneath them the boot was cold, but the bottom of my feet were not.

    Legs. I wore bike shorts under a foxwear fleece pant, (windproof & breathable). My legs were hot and damp. I'm still thinking a wind resistant pant over thermal bike tight would be the more comfortable choice, (but if the temps will be 5F for the day's high, I will wear the foxwear pants again just to be sure).

    Torso. Omni wool against the skin, covered by REI momentum shirt, covered by wind jacket. Torso was fine, but I wonder if I'd be more comfortable with two layers of wool and no Momentum shirt.

    Head. I wore a kayaking head cover, (very thin -1 mm?- fussz rubber thing) and a half neoprene face mask and googles. Absolute wind proof existence. My face felt like I was indoors. I liked this set-up for flexibility, but the only way to blow my nose or take a drink would be to remove the face mask, googles and helmet.

    Photos: " width="549">

    Last edited by cjohnson; 01-02-2013 at 01:25 PM. Reason: clarify

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    16F Balaclava foggy lens

    Last week I wore a facemask/balaclava for the first time. It was a pleasant feeling to have cold air diffused a bit before hitting my face.

    I wore one again today in slightly warmer weather. I also wore sunglasses instead of goggles. The balaclava still felt great against the skin, but my glasses kept fogging up. The balaclava funnels exhaled air right underneath the lens. Bummer. I pulled the fabric below my nose with the same result, (heat and moisture must also reach the lens along the sunglass frames).

    Wearing goggles is fine, but seemed a bit of an over kill, But I don't see a way around not wearing them if I choose to wear the balaclava.

  61. #61
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    Ice, Ice baby!

    whoa. That was intense. Astounded front tire didn't wash out.

    Bought some Nokian Icespeed tires. Very curious to see how they perform.

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    Hit some ice there I take it.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    Bought some Nokian Icespeed tires. Very curious to see how they perform.
    I have the Gazza Extremes... they will blow your mind. I long for ice now, just for the sound of the carbide studs biting in.

    edit: are you wearing your glasses over the 'clava, or sticking the temple of the glasses into the face opening of the 'clava? My glasses only fog up if I exhale while looking down (looking at the chainring or something)
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

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    Into the 'clava myself, and they fog up every time, glad I can ride without them if I have to. I know, asking cjohnson, but same issue with the fogging

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    Out of curiosity, dive instructors spray the inside of their goggles with baby shampoo to prevent fogging - have you guys tried that? Any shampoo will do, baby shampoo is lower irritant though. Spray, rub it in, wash off the excess, and leave a thin film there.

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    Haven't tried that myself, but I've been told to use barbasol shaving cream and that didn't work. I'll pick up a small bottle, worst that happens is I use baby shampoo for a while, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    Last week I wore a facemask/balaclava for the first time. It was a pleasant feeling to have cold air diffused a bit before hitting my face.

    I wore one again today in slightly warmer weather. I also wore sunglasses instead of goggles. The balaclava still felt great against the skin, but my glasses kept fogging up. The balaclava funnels exhaled air right underneath the lens. Bummer. I pulled the fabric below my nose with the same result, (heat and moisture must also reach the lens along the sunglass frames).

    Wearing goggles is fine, but seemed a bit of an over kill, But I don't see a way around not wearing them if I choose to wear the balaclava.
    Very cool thread...pun intended

    Anyhow, I haven't tried this yet but here is a simple formula that is supposed to help prevent your sunglasses from fogging up.


    How to Make Anti-Fog Sunglasses | eHow.com Trek 8.6 DSg-sunglasses.html

    People also use dish soap as well as aftermarket products like Cat Crap

    Amazon.com: Ek 123625 Cat Crap Anti-Fog: Sports & Outdoors

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter006 View Post
    Out of curiosity, dive instructors spray the inside of their goggles with baby shampoo to prevent fogging - have you guys tried that? Any shampoo will do, baby shampoo is lower irritant though. Spray, rub it in, wash off the excess, and leave a thin film there.
    The dive instructor I had used snot. "The Greener The Cleaner" as the saying goes.

  69. #69
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    I put the glasses outside the 'clava, outside the helmet straps, outside everything... no real issues with fogging. Lots of variables though, from the shape of your face to the shape of the glasses to the shape of the 'clava....

    But my hunch is that it allows the face opening of the clava to seal a bit better to the skin, and doesn't provide an easy path for the air to shoot out right at the glasses. I'd imagine that most of my breath seeps out through the fabric, and very little goes out right at the glasses.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

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    This is a great thread! You are smashing all of the typical excuses for not commuting by bike! Godspeed!!!

    Also, what city/state are you in? I am very jealous of your bike paths and low-traffic roads. Keep it up man.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    I put the glasses outside the 'clava, outside the helmet straps, outside everything... no real issues with fogging.

    But my hunch is that it allows the face opening of the clava to seal a bit better to the skin, and doesn't provide an easy path for the air to shoot out right at the glasses.
    I was wondering what the heck you meant when you asked about that yesterday- now I have an answer. Seems kinda weird to me, but I think I`ll try it. I stick the arms of my glasses through the face hole in my clava, but your way might be more comfortable, especially with my night time glasses, which are extra wide and stretch things out a lot.
    Recalculating....

  72. #72
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    I'm thinking if the temple pieces of the glasses are creating a little wind tunnel in there, all your breath shoots out right at the lenses, and you get fog. Glasses outside is definitely more comfortable for me also. I don't get fogging unless I let out a big exhale while I'm looking down at the chainring... weird airflow thing.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  73. #73
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    Well, the dish soap idea worked for about 2-3 miles an then started fogging up pretty good afterwards.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by 50calray View Post
    Well, the dish soap idea worked for about 2-3 miles an then started fogging up pretty good afterwards.
    The only real solution to fogging glasses is to ensure your breath is directed away from the lens.....

    If you breath into a balaclava ther will definately be times that your glasses fog up quickly.

    I ride with a balaclava but I do not breath through the fabric....

    If it is realy cold I have a nose protector on my goggles that shield my nose and face from the wind.

    If it is not so cold then I am okay.

  75. #75
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    If I want to see (a really good idea BTW) the glasses' arms must be inside everything for me or the center field is out of focus. I have non scratch self cleaning lenses. Water beads on them. But with titanium frames, they are the better part of $800 with the eye test. Only some fog with the thick balaclava looking at the chainring, and it clears fast when returning to normal position. Cross winds sneaking in behind the lens can be a pain, but usually not an issue.

    The think balaclava is good for about 15 F and lower. I am in the market for a light balaklava for the 15-32 F zone. The $20 REI one is out of stock. Recommendations?

    BrianMc

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    If I want to see (a really good idea BTW) the glasses' arms must be inside everything for me or the center field is out of focus. I have non scratch self cleaning lenses. Water beads on them. But with titanium frames, they are the better part of $800 with the eye test. Only some fog with the thick balaclava looking at the chainring, and it clears fast when returning to normal position. Cross winds sneaking in behind the lens can be a pain, but usually not an issue.

    The think balaclava is good for about 15 F and lower. I am in the market for a light balaklava for the 15-32 F zone. The $20 REI one is out of stock. Recommendations?

    BrianMc
    Turtle Fur- Balaclava, Silver Technology Performance Fabric, Black : Boys

    I have been wearing this one until it gets really cold for many years.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    If I want to see (a really good idea BTW) the glasses' arms must be inside everything for me or the center field is out of focus. I have non scratch self cleaning lenses. Water beads on them. But with titanium frames, they are the better part of $800 with the eye test. Only some fog with the thick balaclava looking at the chainring, and it clears fast when returning to normal position. Cross winds sneaking in behind the lens can be a pain, but usually not an issue.

    The think balaclava is good for about 15 F and lower. I am in the market for a light balaklava for the 15-32 F zone. The $20 REI one is out of stock. Recommendations?

    BrianMc
    Turtle Fur Fog Free : Brand - Collections : Turtle Fur

    I would like to try this one.....it is very similar to my nose protector googles system.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Seems kinda weird to me, but I think I`ll try it.
    I split the difference. With the arms of my glasses outside the straps, it felt like they were going to fly right off my face. With the arms outside the `clava, but inside the helmet straps they felt considerably more secure and still don`t hold the barn doors open. The sun glasses I did that with today are pretty comfortable no matter what, but my clear glasses pinch my temples a little, especially when the balaclava is pulling them tighter. Will find out soon if they`re mo betta on the outside.

    Jeffscott, did you make your nose protector? Have a picture of it any chance? I like that idea too.
    Recalculating....

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    I split the difference. With the arms of my glasses outside the straps, it felt like they were going to fly right off my face. With the arms outside the `clava, but inside the helmet straps they felt considerably more secure and still don`t hold the barn doors open. The sun glasses I did that with today are pretty comfortable no matter what, but my clear glasses pinch my temples a little, especially when the balaclava is pulling them tighter. Will find out soon if they`re mo betta on the outside.

    Jeffscott, did you make your nose protector? Have a picture of it any chance? I like that idea too.
    Nope came with the googles.

    Smith Products | SmithOptics.com

    I have a better picture in my attachments but I don't know how to get it here.
    Last edited by jeffscott; 01-16-2013 at 08:43 AM.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    I have a better picture in my attachments but I don't know how to get it here.
    Assuming you have access to the picture file, you can load to a service. I use ImageShack® - Online Photo and Video Hosting which works for this Canuck-Yank. I load at 640x 480 so the picture is not too big in the forum. I assume it is available to you. Free for smaller pics. When loaded, paste the forum link to get an embedded pic.

    Thanks for the Turtle Fur link.

    BrianMc

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    Assuming you have access to the picture file, you can load to a service. I use ImageShack® - Online Photo and Video Hosting which works for this Canuck-Yank. I load at 640x 480 so the picture is not too big in the forum. I assume it is available to you. Free for smaller pics. When loaded, paste the forum link to get an embedded pic.

    Thanks for the Turtle Fur link.

    BrianMc
    Thanks but the picture is already in my MTBR attachment file....how can I "copy it" to the thread?

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Thanks but the picture is already in my MTBR attachment file....how can I "copy it" to the thread?
    I dunno- tried to do that a few weeks ago on BFnet and gave up

    Anyway, thanks for the info. I can see from the ad picture that it`s integrated into the googles, so I won`t be copying their design. I was thinking (hoping) that you had just made some kid of shield yourself and I might copy yours. It doesn`t seem very hard- maybe I`ll try it. A piece of imitation leather like a key fob with a short strap on top? Might need a seam down the middle to keep it semi folded?
    Recalculating....

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    I dunno- tried to do that a few weeks ago on BFnet and gave up

    Anyway, thanks for the info. I can see from the ad picture that it`s integrated into the googles, so I won`t be copying their design. I was thinking (hoping) that you had just made some kid of shield yourself and I might copy yours. It doesn`t seem very hard- maybe I`ll try it. A piece of imitation leather like a key fob with a short strap on top? Might need a seam down the middle to keep it semi folded?
    The shield connects to the google with little tabs the stick into the slot where the lens also sticks in.....then there are two little hooks that hold the bottom in...

    Works fine...

    I am quite sure one could construct a nose shield out of stiff leather or plastic...

    The trick is it needs to held of your face so the air can escape easily..out the sides.

    The underside (face side) does frost up a bit but the frost does not build up into a large mass....

    The googles and balaclava end up with no frost at all.

    BTW I think the sell the noseshield separately....I have enough cold days that I would not bother with making something, purchasing seems to work better.

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    16F Ice, wool socks for the office.

    We have a small amount of snow that fell after prolonged freezing rain. The past few days have had above freezing with temps well below freezing at night.

    The four mile bike trail portion of my commute had been intense. I bought a pair Suomi/Nokian Icespeed studded tires. Whew.
    Once rolling across the ice the emotional part of my brain was anxious, the logical part of my brain didn't fully trust the stud & ice contact either.

    There were no mishaps and I am thrilled with the tires so far. Even on dry pavement there often is ice along the road shoulders, which is where bikers often need to go.

    The below video shows the bike trail. The "white" is not snow, that is snow encased in ice.

    <a href="https://s262.beta.photobucket.com/user/bpcharjo08/media/photobucket-13140-1358529413142.mp4.html" target="_blank"><img src="https://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii102/bpcharjo08/th_photobucket-13140-1358529413142.jpg" border="0" alt="Ice video photobucket-13140-1358529413142.mp4"></a>

    A clothing tip I have neglected to write down. I wear wool socks and warm boots to work and I usually arrive with chilled feet, which is fine. I had been bringing dress socks to wear at work and my feet stayed chilled all day, that sucked. For the past 6 weeks I've been bring a pair of dark wool socks to wear in my dress shoes and I very quickly have warm feet. Sweet.

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    0F 17 mph wind, light snow

    I had a tail wind for much of ride and I was mostly comfortable. I had zero skin exposed. The only time I felt cold was a mile or so section "into the wind". "Into the wind" I felt an icy cold on my stomach, directly behind my jacket zipper.

    All bets are off going home. I'll have a stiff headwind and similar temps.

    What I wore.
    Feet. I wore my insulated hiking boots (400 gram thinsulate). I wore my shoe covers over them. Arrived at work with chilled feet. (note: Before making my shoe covers I searched the internet for a them, thought they didn't exist, turns out Gore makes them. Mine look almost exactly the same, except Gore has an elastic band under instep area, (which I will add to mine). http://http://www.goreapparel.com/go...es-shoe-covers

    Hands. Used my bar mitts for the first time. I wore thinner gore windstopper gloves inside them. Hands were warm if I was riding on the hoods. Cooled off very quickly on the bars. I own kayak pogies I could use for riding on bars, (too bad those pogies are 3 hours away). Gonna wear my Borealis gloves on the ride home.

    Legs. Bike tights under foxwear windproof fleece pants. Legs were fine.

    Torso. Three layers. Lightweight wool, lightweight polar fleece, thin wool sweater; all worn under a Bontrager windproof breathable jacket. I was fine, until hitting the head wind.

    The cold directly behind the jacket zipper felt like a cold steel rod was placed against my skin. I did not like that sensation. I have a thin wind proof vest I will wear under my jacket going home, hope it helps.

    Head. I wore a gore windstopper balaclava under a thin cap. The gore balaclava has large breathing holes over the mouth area, at these temps the holes allow way too much cold air to reach my lips and teeth. I wore a second half face mask over my nose and mouth area. I wore goggles. I also put a cover over my helmet to further block the wind. Head area was fine. No exposed skin.

    I've accumulated several balaclavas over the years, including two this year, a gore and a 45north. Of them all, the gore is my favorite. Mainly because it is the only one that easily keeps no skin from being exposed around the eyes. Plus, can't beat windproof breathable for comfort.

    I was mostly comfortable riding to work but my office is freezing. I turned up the heat, but it appears I am going to start my ride home being cold.

    The 13 second mark of this youtube video is a good approximation the conditions. Intense blowing snow and wind - Hamel, Illinois, December 20, 2012 - YouTube

  86. #86
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    ^^ How cold was it CJohnson?

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    0F -20 wind chill

    0F -20 wind chill going home, straight into the wind. The vest and borealis gloves were awesome. In or out of the barmitts my hands were warm. No cold chill under the jacket zipper either. I was comfortable. How cool is that? Quite frankly I am a bit stunned. I know my co-workers are too, (but not in the same way).

    As I got closer to home, my goggles started to frost up, I lost about 1/4th of my viewing area. That was the only issue I had. Every once-in-awhile cold air would momentarily find a route to my skin, but it would be a short lived chill.

    I am going to do this again tomorrow. Similar temps. Maybe a bit less wind.
    Last edited by cjohnson; 01-21-2013 at 05:50 PM. Reason: too

  88. #88
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    Nice! Great you had the vest to add. When it's cold, I try to either have an extra layer in my pack, and/or room in it to peel off a layer if I'm erring on the warm side.

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    closet

    I have two paniers on the bike. One is for work stuff, the other is pretty much a closet full of clothes.

  90. #90
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    This has quickly become one of my favorite threads to read

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    33F ball bearing and slush

    Since the day I put the studded tires on the bike I've been thankful such things exist. Locally, the above normal temps and low snowfall continue to create icy riding conditions. With the studded tires, these conditions aren't that big of a deal.

    Interesting commute this AM. It snowed an inch yesterday. The snow was covered by a 1/4 inch of frozen rain, then this AM the temps hovered near freezing.

    Slush on the streets. Felt a lot like riding through sand.

    The bike trail was fun. Some areas were slightly slushy and icy. This felt like riding in mud. Some sliding, but never too much. Doc's advice holds true for these conditions as well. http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LR6eS2NWf4


    Some areas were ice. Some areas were covered by little balls of ice. These area felt like riding on a gravel road. Lots of small side-to-side movement of the wheels.

    So glad I have the studded tires. My commutes have been pleasant and uneventful.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails exhilarating-003.jpg  

    exhilarating-005.jpg  

    Last edited by cjohnson; 01-28-2013 at 12:04 PM. Reason: phto

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    hieroglyphics

    whoops
    Last edited by cjohnson; 01-28-2013 at 05:40 PM.

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    31F rain.

    31F and a steady rain. Gusty headwind. Note: The wind will change, and I'll have snow and headwind home too.

    More than any other weather I have pedaled in, this AM had me the most anxious. Cold, half frozen rain can be miserable to be in but I arrived at work in total comfort! It is freaking amazing.

    The trail and streets were turning to thin slush and some freezing as I arrived at work. Other than rolling resistance, no extra effort was needed to feel good.

    Hands. My hands were my biggest worry. I wore my planet bike Borealis gloves. My hands were dry and hot.

    I was covered in goretex from my helmet to my legs. I wore my shoe covers over my boots. Dry. Wasn't even very sweaty.

    My Wife, co-workers and friends don't even know what to say about the conditions I've been riding through. I am surprised too. I do tell them though, that if I was experiencing discomfort, I wouldn't be riding my bike.

    Note: In spite of what I wrote in the thread, "what did someone yell at you" I have been experiencing courteous drivers every day. I've been riding in this city for 22 years, and other than a few inattentive drivers, I have not had bad experiences with cars. I do ride defensively and keep myself visible.

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    things to buy??? Ear covers and optics

    These optics have intrigued me for years. I XC ski and fogging and snow covered glasses are a problem then too. I am told the flip feature is cool for when it is snowing. Flip the lens up and you have some eye protection from falling snow flakes, but can still see, (snow will often cover lenses while skiing). They are too expensive for me right now.
    http://http://www.newmoonski.com/mm5...Category_Code=

    Ear muffs. These awesome earmuffs. I like my ears covered anytime the temps are below 50F. These are super thin and flat, fit under helmets easily. I wear them XC skiing on the most cold of days. New Moon Ski Shop: Hats

    In general, my XC ski gear has been great for commuting.

  95. #95
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    cjohnson -- You are my new hero. Just read this thread for the 1st time this week. Great read. Keep up the good work. I'm almost inspired to start commuting in the winter......almost, but I think I will wait for the ice to go away first.

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    Two week gap.

    A variety of reasons kept me from bike commuting the past two weeks. Prior to my ride today I felt uncomfortable and uncertain with the whole bike commute process. Wasn't sure what to wear, did I really want to ride, did I have the energy.... Those were weird thoughts, similar to the ones I had before my first commute. Did the time away cause my bike mojo to dwindle? I'd like to say those thoughts went away during my commute, but they did not.

    Most of the ride my mind was reliving recent irritations, a few disappointments and some worries. I had a productive day at work. The ride home was against a strong headwind and I was tired upon reaching home.

    I've had a few hours to mull this day over. There is a tendency to think the daily bike ride will make every day joyous, relaxing and fun, or convince ourselves the day has been. Today was a conventional workman-like day. It would be is easy list the benefits of the bike commute, but I don't feel like doing that.

    I did have a productive work day, so I will speculate my mind was not distracted by non-work thoughts.

    The time it took me to get home was very comparable to days with out wind and I was not dwelling on the headwind during my ride. That's new, and I should be excited about it.

    I am thinking the time off has not diminished my bike mojo, it is just the mood I am in. And that is fine.

  97. #97
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    Drip, drip..

    I store my bike in the garage. When snow and ice build up on the bike I wasn't sure how to thaw it out. What drips off the bike is often a bit grimy and I didn't want to risk grease and oil stains in the house.

    My solution was to buy two cheap plastic snow sleds. I cut off one end of each sled, leaving two long pieces. I then connected the two long pieces together, (caulk and gorilla tape). This created a "tray" long enough to set the entire bicycle into.

    The bike drip dries, I can wipe the bike down and lube it up, all while having the floor protected.

    At work, when I arrive in the AM I will linger in the front entryway for a few minutes allowing moisture to drip off before bringing the bike to my office. In my office I have small rug to place the bike over.

  98. #98
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    One year!

    Today is 365 days since I started bike commuting in earnest. Bike commuting is among the best things I've done in a long time. Weeks that I am able to pedal more than drive my production at work is higher, I sleep better and am happier. Maybe it is a coincidence, maybe not.

    This AM I had a NE wind blowing 0 MPH. Last week I had a N wind blowing 0 MPH. I'll be honest, I couldn't tell the difference.

  99. #99
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    Good job!!!

    Don't fool yourself its no coincidence that you work harder, feel better, and definitely sleep better when you commute. Keep up the good work.

    I LOLed at the NE/N wind blowing 0 MPH.

  100. #100
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    this is a great, short read. I find myself having similar thoughts.
    Ocycling essay: Riding a bike gives political writer a new image | OregonLive.com

  101. #101
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    Snow, slush, water, ice

    What day I had yesterday.

    I had a bike friendly evening meeting approx 17 miles from my office. Looking at a map I realized I could ride most of the way along a Parkway that followed a river and/or also ride along bike trail. I decided it'd be a fun ride to do. Riding to work, the event and then home should be approx 56 miles. I studied the map, and left with a fully charged phone and headlamp.

    The daytime temps hovered near freezing, there were snow flurries with minimal accumulations. The bike trail was often under a few inches of water, the Parkway was practically deserted. I made a few wrong turns, (no street signs!?) but it was a great ride.

    Going home however was an adventure. The temps dropped, the flurries continued. The bike trail and roads were now glazed with ice, the standing water had slushy bottoms and a thin layer of ice.

    My rims iced up and I had no brakes, my derailleurs iced up and I was reduced to my two lowest gears, my headlamp died, my phone died, my water bottles froze shut, and my goggles were fogging.

    I pedaled a total of 63 miles yesterday, 57 of them after 5 PM. It took me three hours to get home, midnight and exhausted. Slept great.

  102. #102
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    You likely have this under contra. If not...

    Phone should not have died if truly fully charged unless you are using it like an iPhone in an iBike. (That setup has a 3 hour run time with extra battery. I plan on a super cell to let it run for century rides.) If you can shut off wide band and screen brightness can increase life, or just shut it off until you need it (that slows emergency 911 calls, though, waiting for the phone to activate). I did have one phone that lied about charge it was fully charged or dead. I shed no tears when it died a well deserved death.

    Extra or larger batteries or run the lights at a lower setting to get more run time. On full power, I get a bit over 3 hours for the headlights with my 76 WHr battery, about 7 hour on the next setting which is still brighter than a standard car low beam. I am planning two 51 WHr batteries as replacements. One for shorter rides, the spare on board for longer ones.

    BrianMc

  103. #103
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    Brian, I've found that phones can behave wonky at low temperatures. Earlier this winter I'd get home to find my phone had 95%+ charge roughly 3 days a week, and the other 2 days it would be stone dead. This happened for about 3 weeks straight, with the same basic temperatures, same route, same pocket...

  104. #104
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    hungry!

    Good gosh I am hungry today.

    I spread my packed lunch out on my desk, and my stomach just laughed.

  105. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    Brian, I've found that phones can behave wonky at low temperatures. Earlier this winter I'd get home to find my phone had 95%+ charge roughly 3 days a week, and the other 2 days it would be stone dead. This happened for about 3 weeks straight, with the same basic temperatures, same route, same pocket...
    Cold can impact battery capacity, but when you are seeing uneven results like newf is there are two common causes:

    1. Some application is left running in the background that is sucking the battery

    2. Materials around the phone are attenuating reception causing the phones radio to up it's power output in order to remain connected to a cell site thereby draining the battery faster.

    Easy thing to do on #2, if you think that might be your problem, is just to put the phone into airplane mode. My phone will run for a full day with the radio on, and a full week while in airplane mode. Another advantage of airplane mode is if you do need the phone, it's quick and easy to get reconnected.

  106. #106
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    ^^ Thanks for the tip on airplane mode.

    BrianMc

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    google maps?

    I had opened google maps. I figured the cold and that app drained the battery.

    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    Cold can impact battery capacity, but when you are seeing uneven results like newf is there are two common causes:

    1. Some application is left running in the background that is sucking the battery

    2. Materials around the phone are attenuating reception causing the phones radio to up it's power output in order to remain connected to a cell site thereby draining the battery faster.

    Easy thing to do on #2, if you think that might be your problem, is just to put the phone into airplane mode. My phone will run for a full day with the radio on, and a full week while in airplane mode. Another advantage of airplane mode is if you do need the phone, it's quick and easy to get reconnected.

  108. #108
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    Yup, riding through snow and water with temps in the upper 20's is a good time.
    Gotta love fall and spring here in Wisconsin.

    Fenders the natural way!









    22+ miles added 10 lbs worth of ice glazing. The key [for me] to working brakes and derialleurs is to keep using them even if you dont need to.
    *** --- *** --- ***

  109. #109
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    frozen crud on bikes is very photogenic!

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    Freedom!

    23F this AM, but last week I removed the studded tires, I am wearing shoes that weigh 2 LBS less than my Winter boots. Felt so nice riding today!

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