What do you consider to be cold?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    What do you consider to be cold?

    I received a Performance Bike catalog in the mail yesterday and as I was flipping through I got a pretty good laugh at their definitions of cold. They had clothing separated by cool, cold, and coldest - which makes sense I guess - but I think that their temperature scales only make sense in a place like southern CA. According to this catalog, cool is 59-70, cold is 49 -59, and coldest is 39 - 49. Really?

    I live in Washington DC which is by no means cold and every year I do rides in Jan/Feb where the temp at the start of the ride is in the low/mid 20's and have gone mountain biking in temps as low as 12 F. When mountain biking I don't even switch out of shorts until it is below 25F.

    Given the wide range of climates represented on this board I was wondering what you guys consider to be cold for riding. Oh, and I definitely think that cold for road riding is much different than cold for mountain biking. While I am comfortable in shorts down to about 25F for mountain biking, I have to put on tights and neoprene shoe covers when the temp drops below 35F when riding on the road.

  2. #2
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    For my 20 to 30 minute commute, about -20 Celsius ( -4 F) is getting pretty cold.

    Trail rides take longer and I don't have very warm bike shoes so -10 Celsius (14 F) is cool enough.

  3. #3
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    -20 C is cold

    -30 C is ****ing cold

    -40 C is frigid

    -50 C stay in the truck.

    BTW the above is without windchill

  4. #4
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    Extra socks are required at about 20F and (at least for me) breathing gets tougher at around -10F. I guess that's my range for "Cold".

    Too bad the bike clothes manufacturers and sellers don't combine their wares in ways for these temp ranges; it seems to be mostly up to the buyer to figure out what works best. Of course, the temps in the first post aren't for those inclined to ride in real cold.

    I ride in full-on winter bike gear with winter shoes, technical layers, etc. with work clothes in a backpack. Riding in work clothes would be tough in those temps.
    Last edited by NoTrace; 11-25-2009 at 12:13 PM.

  5. #5
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    I only started commuting last week. So my experience is pretty limited.

    It was 19F this morning. Felt a bit "nippy". My commute is only a few miles though. Right now just I wear my dockers and work shoes, and a under armor type shirt with a North Face fleece, and a thin biking hat under my helmet... Any colder and I'll be reconsidering the commute some days or dressing warmer.

  6. #6
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    I consider the teens or below (Fahrenheit) to be cold. Cool extends up from there to the mid 40's. Unless it's somewhere around 32 and raining. Then it's automatically cold.
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  7. #7
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    I definitely agree that riding in rain under 45 or so can feel as cold as much colder temps without rain. Here again, the right clothes make a huge difference.

  8. #8
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    -30F is where I decide it's pretty damn cold. I still ride.

  9. #9
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    Cold to me is below 25 degrees. That is where is becomes tricky to keep my hands warm. Coldest I rode was 19 degrees last year and I had to stop at a coffee shop after 90 minutes to bring life back into my fingers.

    For shorter rides under 30 minutes it doesn't really matter.

    My range would be

    • Cold: below 25F
    • Chilly: 25-40
    • Just another day: 40+


    I wear no leg tights or summer gloves above 55F usually.
    Last edited by tubadude; 11-25-2009 at 07:14 PM.

  10. #10
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    lol you guys are nuts!!! for me anything below 60F is burning my lungs......but I live in Hawaii! so I'm not allowed to grumble huh?
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

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  11. #11
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    -20F is about the limit. I haven't really found any way to stay comfortable below that. 10 miles one way, about an hour of riding, by the time I get through the post gate and cross a couple of intersections.

    If I didn't ride down to that temp, I wouldn't get to ride much here in Fairbanks.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoTrace
    I definitely agree that riding in rain under 45 or so can feel as cold as much colder temps without rain. Here again, the right clothes make a huge difference.
    For recent weeks, I've been riding in a dark, slightly wet world with temps just above the freezing point. I hate it. But it is mainly psychological.

    I cannot wait for some snow to make the light better, and freezing temps to make things dry.

  13. #13
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    Anything below 58% is too cold!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clanky
    Anything below 58% is too cold!
    ********************+1
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

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  15. #15
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    My warmest gloves and booties are only good above 25F for 28 miles of my 35 mile commute.
    .

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  16. #16
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    As soon as it dips into the teens its pretty cold for me, but I ride anyway. Single digits+ wind keeps me inside.

  17. #17
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    27 degrees is my coldest so far. and that sucked. so I think i would drive in at anything below 30 degrees. We just don't have clothes for that kinda weather down here.

  18. #18
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    Wow, I had no idea you all rode in such cold weather. Cold here is 30-40 degrees. 20's is very cold and pretty rare. That said, it rains almost every day, so it's sort of a trade off.

  19. #19
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    Cold to me is single digits Fahrenheit. I rode a couple hours today, ~35 degrees when we started, shorts, long socks, long sleeve jersey, and still wore stubby gloves. I was comfortable once we started moving.

    My commute is tougher, with only 4 miles to work it can be tough to warm up.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rshughes
    ...I am comfortable in shorts down to about 25F for mountain biking...
    That's tough!
    To the troll mobile, away...

  21. #21
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    It's not really cold until you get into single digits (Fahrenheit), and anything below that doesn't really feel much different. I'll ride/commute in pretty much anything but once winter starts there gets to be too much snow on the trails for any riding so I don't really have experience in cold weather riding so I end up with my 2 mile commute to get my fix.
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  22. #22

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    Here in Berkshire UK, lots of traffic.,
    I look at the outside temperature if under 8 centigrade, and it was cold overnight, I think hard.

    As the journey is out of town it gets colder on the way up to 4-5 degrees.

    I know the Road that flooded this morning might be treacherous (black ice). So I wait for a warmer day to do my just under 11 mile commute..

    Gues that makes me a Wimp, but I want to live to Ride another day.

  23. #23
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    Cold depends on the person....

    I've found that it depends on where you live and what you're used to. For me 25F is getting cold for commuting, off road I can handle it down to about 15F. That's all without wind chill. After that, I wimp out. Used to be able to go colder when I was younger, but....

    On the other hand I have a friend that just moved "up north" from AZ. He road with us a couple of days ago when it was about 35F. He looked like "Nanook of the North" all bundled up, and his teeth were chattering at the end of the ride. He was FREEZING! As for commuting, he quits about 45F.

    Like I said, just depends on what you're used to.

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  24. #24
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    I got that same catalog and I cracked up when I got to that page. Being in NorCal, it only intensified my resentment of what 'SoCal' does to our state's reputation

    I'm in the Sierras... Just finished This morning's commute...it was 19*F. We get the fairly rare dip below zero, but single digits are fairly normal in winter. I'm not wearing all my layers until the teens. I guess I consider it to be getting 'cold' when it starts getting into the 20's.

    On a positive note, I just got my new Mountain Bike Action magazine...they have blurb on the cover about winter riding... I was expecting an article about how to buy a trainer, like I saw in 'bicycling' just before I cancelled my subscription But it was actually pretty good. They had a realistic temperature breakdown, and some good tips for clothing/layering. Some people get it.
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  25. #25
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    I am a wuss, when it's below about 50 I have second thoughts about riding.

  26. #26
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    One time in Connecticut, the temps were no higher than single digits the whole week.

    After hearing everyone complain about how cold it is, I said "F*** it", I'm riding tonight. I put on all my tights, down gloves, neck gaitor, headband, and put my windshell over my camelbak, and strapped on all my lights and went out in THE DARK.

    It wasn't so bad except that I was afraid I would get hit by a car who was not expecting to see a cyclist at 6pm in sub-zero temps.

    A hour later, I make it to my SPIN CLASS. All my friends were spinning away, probably complaining about the cold, and I walk in, still fully dressed, helmet strapped, and my lights on, and I jump onto my spin bike and clip in.

    People were howling!

  27. #27

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rshughes
    ...I am comfortable in shorts down to about 25F for mountain biking...

    Quote Originally Posted by California L33
    That's tough!
    I get a lot of grief from my friends and comments from strangers when out on the trails but it is where I am comfortable. Of course, I pay for it big time when the summer heat/humidity settle in. I can not begin to describe to you how difficult it is for me to stay hydrated when it is hot.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom93R1
    I am a wuss, when it's below about 50 I have second thoughts about riding.
    You're not a wuss. You just don't have the right clothing.

  29. #29
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    I always laugh hysterically when you hear Californians (I think Performance is in SoCal, right?) talk about cold because their absolute minimum temp is only 25 or 30 degrees below their absolute maximum temp when they set up a range. I've been living in NorCal for about a year now coming from the great state of Michigan and I remember doing a few rides in full on pac-boots on my feet and those massive wool liner aviator gloves you get at the Army surplus store on my hands and a thick beard on my face. I rode year-round then and just rode... no matter what the temps or weather was. I think my coldest recorded outing was -15F riding the six miles home from my favorite local bar. By the time I got home I couldn't breath through my nose because it was completely plugged with ice. Fond memories indeed.
    I guess I should say I'm now living near the cost in Norcal, not in the mountains, because it does get "for real" cold there.

  30. #30
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    Lately its been in the mid 30s for my road commute and I have been fine. Occasionally it drops into the 20s, which it isn't worth buying gear for considering that they would see limited use. I would still ride in the 20s, but may need extra coffee when I get to work.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by aluminiumsucks
    I guess I should say I'm now living near the cost in Norcal, not in the mountains, because it does get "for real" cold there.

    Thank you. I was about to launch my attack...
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  32. #32
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    Not too cold.

    In Minnesota, cold is a regular feature of winter riding. I have yet to find a temp that keeps me inside. Obviously it's not ideal to ride in -20 F, but when you have to get to work... If you are equipped for the cold, it's not a big deal. I have had tremendous luck with a single pair of wool socks and Lake winter boots (the coldest I have tested is -45 F including the windchill). Aside from that, it's just about being prepared to temp changes. To quote a friend of mine, "You gotta layer to be a player."
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  33. #33
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    60+ its too dam hot
    60-40 nice
    40-20 fresh
    20-0 cold (questioning going for a ride)
    0- -20 getting colder (thinking im crazy halfway home)
    lower than -20 truck wont start better stay home

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy
    60+ its too dam hot
    60-40 nice
    40-20 fresh
    20-0 cold (questioning going for a ride)
    0- -20 getting colder (thinking im crazy halfway home)
    lower than -20 truck wont start better stay home

    Those are some huge spreads! 40-20 is at least 3 different levels in my little world.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    Those are some huge spreads! 40-20 is at least 3 different levels in my little world.
    They are F not C, just for reference. To me there isnt much of a difference between 40 and 20. I throw on a thermal instead of a t shirt as my base later, and then my shell. I switch to a heavier pair of gloves and maybe think about a face warmer

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rshughes
    cool is 59-70, cold is 49 -59, and coldest is 39 - 49. Really?
    For me, winter temperatures are as follows:

    Cool is 0 to 5C
    Cold is -5 to 5C
    Coldest is -5 to -10C

    I tend not to ride to much when it is below -10C, and any rides below this are generally pretty short.


    Of course, if it is 5C in May, that is "freezing."
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy
    They are F not C, just for reference. To me there isnt much of a difference between 40 and 20. I throw on a thermal instead of a t shirt as my base later, and then my shell. I switch to a heavier pair of gloves and maybe think about a face warmer

    40*F and I'm out of the shell entirely and just wearing a thick long sleeve top and leg warmers...by 20 I'm in full winter mode, lobster gloves, 'clava, windproof pants over legwarmers, softshell jacket... for me, the 'not much difference' range is between 20 and zero. I'm wearing basically the same stuff no matter what, once it's down below 20.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    40*F and I'm out of the shell entirely and just wearing a thick long sleeve top and leg warmers...by 20 I'm in full winter mode, lobster gloves, 'clava, windproof pants over legwarmers, softshell jacket... for me, the 'not much difference' range is between 20 and zero. I'm wearing basically the same stuff no matter what, once it's down below 20.
    Same thing with me. I just can't keep my feet warm at below 35.

  39. #39
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    50c is fine with shorts and a jersey one i get riding unless its raining. then ill double up on layers. anything lower then that i pretty much only commute and dont go out riding for fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding View Post
    The dude is like 120lbs, tops lol he can run any tires he wants without issues, i'm sure.
    :D

  40. #40
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    This post cursed me! A week ago I said that it was rare for it to get into the 20's (like once every couple years) and now they're predicting record lows down in the teens tomorrow morning! I've never ridden in that kind of weather, am I going to die?

  41. #41
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    LOL

    I doubt you'll die. Forget about shorts. Find some gloves that keep the breeze on the outside.

  42. #42
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    You will die if you have 20 extra pounds of ammo cans strapped to the back of your bike
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    You will die if you have 20 extra pounds of ammo cans strapped to the back of your bike
    Haha! Good place to stash your chemical hand warmers!
    Give it a shot, Sizzler. Bundle up the best you can for a day and see how it goes. Then you`ll have your own personal experience to help decide the next day whether drive or tough it out.
    Recalculating....

  44. #44

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    I definitely have two scales depending on the type of riding

    It was quite a bit colder at the trail head yesterday morning than I had planned (22-23F) and I thought that I had under dressed for the first snow ride of the season. My fingers and toes were pretty cold for the first 20 minutes or so but otherwise I was completely comfortable in shorts, two pair of socks, a short and long sleeve jersey, heavier gloves and a head band to cover the ears (except for when I took a spill in 6" of snow). On Friday when I commuted in to work in 35F temps I needed much more gear to stay comfortable.

    Here are my two scales
    Trail Road
    Cool 25 - 35F 35 - 40F
    Cold 15 - 25F 25 - 35F
    Coldest below 15 below 25F

  45. #45
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    you guys are INSANE!!! I live in north Texas and that Performance chart looks about right to me.

  46. #46
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    ^^ I heard it snowed in texas this week and half of the population headed across the river into Mexico to escape the madness.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  47. #47
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    For me I love cold
    60+ too hot
    60-40 love it and stilll wear shorts and a jesrey
    40-30 jesrey and shorts with thermals
    30-10 thermal and windbreaker with jogging pants
    10- -20 windbreaker and jogging pants with thermals under both

  48. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1971tch
    you guys are INSANE!!! I live in north Texas and that Performance chart looks about right to me.
    I was stationed at FT Sill OK for 18 months and FT Hood TX for the better part of a year and what I remember most about that part of the country is that the wind never stops and can be vicious in the winter making it feel much colder than what the thermometer is reading.

    I guess you never do any rides that look like this:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What do you consider to be cold?-snow_ride.jpg  


  49. #49
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    40 is cold for me
    I love the central coast
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    The way I see it right now, if my bike is too heavy, then I'm too weak!

  50. #50
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    When I was in Bosnia-Herzegovina, about a dozen years ago, the US troops from Tuzla were not allowed to go outside their camps when there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground ... they must have been from Texas or something ...

  51. #51
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    Yeah, ya'll keep laughing at the people from Texas. At least we don't start crying in the summer when the temps are in the 90'sF!

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1971tch
    At least we don't start crying in the summer when the temps are in the 90'sF!
    Never happens here...

    I recall things were a bit warm when I was staying in a place with temps well over 100F in summer. Didn't have a bike with me there but tried to do some hiking and jogging (can't call it running...)

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1971tch
    Yeah, ya'll keep laughing at the people from Texas. At least we don't start crying in the summer when the temps are in the 90'sF!

    That's why I love living in the Sierras... this morning it's 8 below, in July it will be 105. Diversity is the spice of life.
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  54. #54
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    That`ll be me crying about the heat- probably not at 90F, but by 100 most definitely.
    Recalculating....

  55. #55
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    7 degrees

    It was 7 degrees this morning......I wimped...So 7 degrease is to cold.
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  56. #56
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    cold

    Quote Originally Posted by ae111black
    lol you guys are nuts!!! for me anything below 60F is burning my lungs......but I live in Hawaii! so I'm not allowed to grumble huh?
    60F is about t-shirt weather here in Portland,Or.If the sun is out.I spent the winter in Hawaii once.Way to hot and humid.I think it's all about what you are used to.I'd sure like to be in Hawaii now,it's 20 something outside here.Can't wait till it warms up to 35,40.Here's a good question.How cold of water will you surf in?I'm from L.A.Wouldn't go in the water north of Santa Barbra.

  57. #57
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    The wind is the KILLER here in central Wyoming. It can get down to about 0'F here and even though it's cold, I don't really think it's too unpleasant as long as it's calm, but it can be 20'F with 30mph wind which just feels absolutely hellacious! I'd say the wind blows hard here about 65% of the time in winter and that's the main thing that'll keep me indoors.
    The coldest I ever road with a buddy was calm and near 40 below F. We damn near frost bit our toes and I don't think I care to do that again. Him either. So I guess I'd say that -15F is bordering "too cold" if it's calm, and if it's windy, anywhere from +20 - +40 could be "too cold", or at least too miserable depending on wind speed. 45mph sustained winds happen frequently here in winter and 65mph gusts aren't a really big suprize.
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    0 degrees f is about my limit for my short commute (which is what I've been riding to work in for the last week), but anything below 35 is cold to me for the road. I'll ride in the mountains down to about 20.

    Here in Eastern Washington, we get some temp extremes. We will pretty commonly see sub 0 temps in the winter, and top out around 110 in the summer.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squash
    On the other hand I have a friend that just moved "up north" from AZ. He road with us a couple of days ago when it was about 35F. He looked like "Nanook of the North" all bundled up, and his teeth were chattering at the end of the ride. He was FREEZING! As for commuting, he quits about 45F.

    Good Dirt
    Confirmed. I'm in Phoenix....I bailed on my planned twice weekly commute this week because its dipped into the 30's/40's....opted for the warm confines (and scenery) of the local spin class.

    My hat is off to all the rest of you brave souls

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