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  1. #1
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    Temperture Decision

    I wanted to start commuting to work a couple times a week this week but the temperatures did not rise as expected. I have some pretty good cold weather riding gear including baklava, under armor leg tights, and north face bionic jacket. Dressing in layers starting 6AM at 29 degrees for 25 miles?

    I just wanted find out if I was crazy...

    Thanks for the advice!

    ~Gun5
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun5ling3rX
    I wanted to start commuting to work a couple times a week this week but the temperatures did not rise as expected. I have some pretty good cold weather riding gear including baklava, under armor leg tights, and north face bionic jacket. Dressing in layers starting 6AM at 29 degrees for 25 miles?

    I just wanted find out if I was crazy...

    Thanks for the advice!

    ~Gun5
    I've commuted in temps as low as high teens (4a.m., east TN) ..... only 12 miles round trip. Was never very cold, especially after the first hill (which is right up the street ) As far as you being crazy, well .... I say no, but, everybody told me I was crazy for doing it, so....take it fwiw

  3. #3
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    What do you have on your feet and hands?

    I say, when in doubt throw on an extra layer on the torso. Once I started riding with a tight fitting next-to-skin layer I was amazed at how much I warmed up.

    A warm torso means warm hands and feet for me.
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  4. #4

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    29-30(edit: also know as -2c so I don't seem like a complete wuss to metric people) degrees is pretty much when I wuss out too. You're crazy!

    I just don't -enjoy- riding with that much clothing on. Especially commuting. Anything above 30degrees I can get by with underarmor base layers and 1 wind blocking outer layer. It's not like I'm a DUI driven commuter(or just CRAZY) so when it's really cold I just drive to work and go to the gym later.
    Last edited by Industrial; 04-14-2008 at 12:32 PM.

  5. #5
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    i stop commuting around zero to -5. at +30 theres no need for face covering or toe booties IMO...unless it's really windy or it's snowing.

    there are people in my city (calgary) i see commuting at -30 or colder. those are the true crazies.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferday
    i stop commuting around zero to -5. at +30 theres no need for face covering or toe booties IMO...unless it's really windy or it's snowing.

    there are people in my city (calgary) i see commuting at -30 or colder. those are the true crazies.
    Same idea as Ferday, but I'll keep it going until the weather drops below about -25*C (-13*F). I'm also in Calgary, and I only missed about 3 days over this winter when the temperature was hovering around -30*C but was about -45*C with windchill.

    On the coldest of days I'd be wearing:
    - thick wool sport socks, cycling shoes with duct tape covering the toes, and a bootie over them
    - lycra shorts (to keep "the boys" warm) with a pair of cycling pants over them
    - long sleeve base layer, long sleeve fleece for warmth, windproof jacket to keep out the wind
    - ear muffs that wrap around the back of the head, neck warmer pulled up to cover the ear muffs and tip of the nose, sunglasses (almost had to pull out the goggles a few times), helmet (with long hair used to keep the heat in) , and lobster mitts

    FWIW, my commute takes me about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes depending on the amounts of snow and ice so even if I can feel the frostbite coming on I am usually back inside someplace warm before it sets in.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the tips. Sounds like I'll be good to go w/ my regional temperament and protective gear that I have.

    I'll let you all know how it turned out. Looking forward to testing my new lights...

    "Named must your fear be before banish it you can." -Yoda
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  8. #8
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well

    Failed trip. I got 6 miles into it and my fingers/toes were numb, becoming very immobile, and actually beginning to hurt. I attempted warming one hand at a time by putting a hand in a pocket, switching back and forth, but after awhile I couldn't keep up. I had 19 miles left to go so I had to make a decision. I felt that I would be injured w/ frostbite if I made the entire trip. I back tracked to the closest town and stood in a convenient store waiting for my wife to pick me up. I got very dizzy standing there and could not move my toes very well for the next 30 minutes.

    I was an Army CPT, paratroooper, and an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. I wasn't "wussing" out or have a low threshold for pain. Not to mention, my wife told me the night before that it was probably too cold but I (stoically) told her I would be fine....so, if I thought I could have made it, I would have pushed on and actually did until I couldn't stand it anymore just to not have her tell me "I told you so". Just too cold. I think I went wrong with the type of gloves I was wearing and not having bootie covers; everything else was perfectly toasty.

    Better planning with better protective gear or waiting for the morning temp to rise is my lesson learned.
    "Named must your fear be before banish it you can." -Yoda
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  9. #9

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    Haha, booties and gloves are pretty key. I like to wear a headband to keep my ears warm too for those 31F days I do commute. Most people wouldn't have even tried so kudos there. It'll get warm real soon anyway. We're starting to have really nice days in new england now.

  10. #10
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    Good on'ya for trying! Also, props for knowing when to pull out and not letting your pride get the better of you.

    As you found out, it's fairly easy to keep your core at a comfortable temperature but it's much harder to keep those extremities warm.

    As you're riding in cold weather, make it a point to wiggle your fingers and toes often (it keeps the blood flowing to them and helps to keep them warm) - but don't wait until they're noticeably cold before you start wiggling...by then it's getting to the too late mark. Another good tip is to keep your shoes tied / fastened loose - this also helps with allowing circulation to reach your toes. Also, if you don't have booties for your feet you can just throw some duct tape over the toes to cut down on the amount of wind blowing through them.

    Hope this helps.

  11. #11
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    I commute 3 mile in low teens high single digits, the only problems I have is icey roads. I find if I'm getting to cold I need to start riding faster, but I also live in the northern upper peninsula of michigan so I'm used to cold temps, If your not you shouldn't start winter riding with a 25 mile commute.
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  12. #12
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    I commute in -20, -30, however cold it gets in the Wisconsin winter. The most I ever wear on my torso is an athletic shirt with a long sleeve t-shirt and a windbreaker. Long underwear, any pants. Good socks. Lake MXZ302 winter cycling boots... good mittens (or lobster mitts if you have a bike with controls). Maybe some moose mitts are in order next winter for me. At 29 degrees I wear a windbreaker. Shants (short pants) and tall wool socks pulled up. A thin glove and my stocking hat.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun5ling3rX
    Failed trip. I got 6 miles into it and my fingers/toes were numb, becoming very immobile, and actually beginning to hurt. I attempted warming one hand at a time by putting a hand in a pocket, switching back and forth, but after awhile I couldn't keep up. I had 19 miles left to go so I had to make a decision. I felt that I would be injured w/ frostbite if I made the entire trip. I back tracked to the closest town and stood in a convenient store waiting for my wife to pick me up. I got very dizzy standing there and could not move my toes very well for the next 30 minutes.

    I was an Army CPT, paratroooper, and an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. I wasn't "wussing" out or have a low threshold for pain. Not to mention, my wife told me the night before that it was probably too cold but I (stoically) told her I would be fine....so, if I thought I could have made it, I would have pushed on and actually did until I couldn't stand it anymore just to not have her tell me "I told you so". Just too cold. I think I went wrong with the type of gloves I was wearing and not having bootie covers; everything else was perfectly toasty.

    Better planning with better protective gear or waiting for the morning temp to rise is my lesson learned.
    Well, glad to hear it didn't discourage you though. You can always try duct tape over the vents on your shoes to help out.

    For reference when the temps are in the low 30's I wear:
    Torso:
    -Skin-tight sleeveless synthetic shirt
    -Merino Wool arm warmers
    -Smartwool midweight long sleeve
    -Synthetic summer weight cycling jersey
    -Cycling jacket (pretty thin highlighter yellow thing)
    Legs:
    -Cycling shorts
    -Knee Warmers (thin)
    -Leg Warmers (thin)
    -Tights
    Feet:
    -Smartwool midweight socks
    -cycling shoes
    -neoprene covers
    Hands:
    -Polypro liner gloves
    -Lobster mitts
    Head:
    -Thin liner hat
    -Helmet
    -Ear warmer

    Now I chill easily and always have cold feet and hands so I might be in the excessive dept. here. I also usually end up doing some unzipping to vent off some heat after a while.
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  14. #14
    Which way? Uphill.
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    Oh yeah, and another trick for warm hands. If your hands are cold that means your body has likely cut off some circulation to the to keep the core warm, I will rapidly pinwheel each arm to force warm blood back into my hand.

    Nothing like a little centripetal force to help you out.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferday
    i stop commuting around zero to -5. at +30 theres no need for face covering or toe booties IMO...unless it's really windy or it's snowing.

    there are people in my city (calgary) i see commuting at -30 or colder. those are the true crazies.
    Who, me?

    I rode all winter, including that week in January when the records were set, -48C windchill, that was not fun, but standing waiting for the bus is no picnic either, I hear many people were waiting an hour and more.

    Yeah for cold weather, keeping the face, hands, and feet warm is what's difficult, you don't really need a lot of layers on the body.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun5ling3rX
    I wanted to start commuting to work a couple times a week this week but the temperatures did not rise as expected. I have some pretty good cold weather riding gear including baklava, under armor leg tights, and north face bionic jacket. Dressing in layers starting 6AM at 29 degrees for 25 miles?

    I just wanted find out if I was crazy...

    Thanks for the advice!

    ~Gun5
    Mmm, baklava! Sugar, sugar, some flour, more sugar, and, when you think you have enough sugar, you add some more! I think you meant balaclava.

    I don't care what people say: keeping the body warm does not automatically mean that your fingers and toes will stay warm, too. I've had rides where my fingers and toes have gone numb from the cold while my body was sweating quite nicely from the exercise. Good gloves and booties go a long way towards keeping you warm from head to toe. I once tried putting on Nitrile gloves over my full-finger riding gloves to keep the cold out and my fingers still went numb from the cold.

    BTW, I wuus out at about 40 degrees F. Below about 48 degrees, I have problems with my fingers going numb from the cold. I've never had problems with my feet going cold unless I wear my roadie shoes as they are ventilated and allow the cold air in.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferday
    i stop commuting around zero to -5. at +30 theres no need for face covering or toe booties IMO...unless it's really windy or it's snowing.

    there are people in my city (calgary) i see commuting at -30 or colder. those are the true crazies.
    That's me! I didn't miss a single day this winter. The worst was the -50C windchill. I wore an extra pair of socks those days.

  18. #18
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    I commuted most days this past winter in Michigan; once I ended up riding home in 6 inches of white stuff (that took a while, but worked out fine with Jones XR 2.25 front and ACX 2.0 out back).

    For me, it worked best with three layers. Good shell (cabela's gore-tex parka with double zipper top-bottom) insulating layer (polar fleece zip up) and a good liner (underarmour and the like). When you start getting warm open up the shell and the ventilation works wonders (remember, that air will be COLD). I ran carhart lined jeans which aren't the greatest for biking but they are warm and are *great* for those wipe-outs you WILL get riding in ice and snow. A good pair of wool socks, good gloves and a good hat are also essential.



    EDIT: Oh, and a nice beard helps

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