cold weather riding - how cold do you ride?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    cold weather riding - how cold do you ride?

    wondering what most folks tolerate for riding temps as we get closer to winter.

    today was in the low 50s in the Boston area and that was a little too cool for me. tomorrow will be low 60s and a little more comfortable. but the cold air whipping my face is generally less comfortable to me than brutal heat - somehow I'd rather ride in the heat

    what about the rest of you for prefered riding temp conditions?

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    50s are perfect mountain biking weather! I can go as low as 20-30 for mtb riding, although I don't generally like going out below freezing. Then again, I'm a 200lbs fatass. When I'm riding I generally feel warm enough and frequently have to shed layers, but at the end of the ride after I'm tired and my energy is depleted I start to feel really cold, regardless of how many layers I have on until I've had some warm food and drink. The biggest issues for me are moisture control and foot warmth; I haven't had the money to properly manage the former and the latter I'm not sure what I can do to improve it, short of wearing mouse boots on the trails.

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    hey I'm nearly 200 lbs and I resemble that remark!

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    Frozen trails are really fast! Hit up Otis this winter. Very popular spot.

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    50 too cold, really? I think 50's are perfect for putting the hammer down. I'm still in a t-shirt and shorts until it gets around 40. Our crew goes all winter long and we've never been turned back by the cold. Just like any winter sport layer up properly and you'll be fine. Frozen ground is as fast as pavement with better traction. The only problem with winter riding is it can be a challenge to keep the beer from freezing in the car.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggrumble View Post
    50s are perfect mountain biking weather! I can go as low as 20-30 for mtb riding, although I don't generally like going out below freezing. Then again, I'm a 200lbs fatass. When I'm riding I generally feel warm enough and frequently have to shed layers, but at the end of the ride after I'm tired and my energy is depleted I start to feel really cold, regardless of how many layers I have on until I've had some warm food and drink. The biggest issues for me are moisture control and foot warmth; I haven't had the money to properly manage the former and the latter I'm not sure what I can do to improve it, short of wearing mouse boots on the trails.
    I use the thickest Merino wool socks I can find with my regular MTB shoes and I've never had a problem. I make sure that my feet are warm to begin with and that the shoes aren't overly tight. Some of my buds ride the Lake Winter MTB shoes. They're real thick and Gortex waterproofed.

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    I hear you. never had a problem with my feet getting cold - they're covered. I got a problem with the wind-chill factor to the unexposed skin (my face, fingers) and whatever wind leaks through my cotton sleeves, pant legs, etc. I could wear a wind breaker to solve part of the problem but don't like bundling up when trying to move fast.

    frozen trails... doesn't this pose a problem with traction? I never rode in the dead of winter - always assumed traction would be lacking on the iced over parts

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    I went riding this morning - last night was our first snow fall. Not much, nothing on the roads and patchy in the lower elevations and bigger patches in the higher elevations and about a 1/4" deep. Before I went out weather.com said it was 35F and the "feels like" temp was 27f. I felt just fine and that was the first time riding in near freezing conditions - all my other rides up until now have been mid 40's.

    I double up on socks, wear long john pants and long sleeve shirt, shorts and tee shirt over that. I was wearing a hoodie too but had to take it off during a climb. I also wear a pair of cheap thin knit gloves under my riding gloves. All that along with my ks knee pads and elbow pads kept me feeling toasty. I gotta find a way to keep my ears warm but wearing a knit cap sounds like it would get hot too fast. I might have to get a headband and look like a dork. That's the poor mans way to do it. I have a feeling the colder it gets, moisture is going to be a real problem though. (No recommendations unless you wanna buy it for me - I'm poor.)
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by overmodulated View Post
    I hear you. never had a problem with my feet getting cold - they're covered. I got a problem with the wind-chill factor to the unexposed skin (my face, fingers) and whatever wind leaks through my cotton sleeves, pant legs, etc. I could wear a wind breaker to solve part of the problem but don't like bundling up when trying to move fast.

    frozen trails... doesn't this pose a problem with traction? I never rode in the dead of winter - always assumed traction would be lacking on the iced over parts
    I have a tendency to overheat myself. So I may start out kind of chilly but as soon as I start hammering I'm pulling off layers. Having leaks and exposed areas is my a/c when I ride in the winter. I never have more than 2 layers going ever. I do have a variety of layers so I can get away with out being too bunchy.

    Fingers are whole different story. I had real bad problems with my hands at first. I tried various things and settled on Pearl Izumi's basic winter riding glove. It fits a little looser and has a really good windblock.

    Ice is also a different story. If it hasn't snowed and your talking about some minor puddles and creeks frozen over you can just go around them somehow or just "glide" through. If it's covered then the studded tires come out. Traction with studded tires is amazing.

  10. #10
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    I ride all winter long... but I'm in the bay area an the coldest it gets here is the high 20's and low thirtys, and those kind of days are not the norm. The norm for winter is the 40s, that's some good riding.

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  11. #11
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    The first rule of managing moisture in the cold is no cotton. Second is only breathable materials (aka some flavor of GoreTex). Third is layers, because if it's in the 40s or lower you will need much more insulation for the first 10-20 minutes as you warm up (the key is to start removing layers before you begin to perspire).

    I have the Lake winter shoes and they work very well. People with the Shimano winter shoes seem to be very happy with those, too. Chemical foot warmers work extremely well if you aren't in a position to obtain winter shoes. Toe covers and neoprene booties are also fairly inexpensive.

    Avoid taking breaks...standing around in the cold after working up some heat will cool you off faster than you realize, and this often leads to cold hands or feet that refuse to warm up again - once you get your body up to temp, keep it there.

    The Cape usually enjoys being snow-free for more of the winter than most of NE, and frozen dirt is both fast and grippy. Rubber tires are just fine for snow as well (studs don't help on snow, only ice). Ice is really the only thing that requires studs.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by overmodulated View Post
    wondering what most folks tolerate for riding temps as we get closer to winter.

    today was in the low 50s in the Boston area and that was a little too cool for me. tomorrow will be low 60s and a little more comfortable. but the cold air whipping my face is generally less comfortable to me than brutal heat - somehow I'd rather ride in the heat

    what about the rest of you for prefered riding temp conditions?

    My coldest ride to date is/was 12*F with a 5 to 8MPH headwind going into work. Keeping cool was a bigger concern than keeping warm.

    The best riding conditions for me is between the 40's and 50's.
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    I live in NY near the MA border. When I mentioned that bike season as almost over, the guy in our local bike shop looked at me like I had two heads. He then pointed out all the cold weather gear in his shop. Apparently he puts really knobby tires on his bike and goes out in any weather at all. Is all about the gear!

  14. #14
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    My layers consist of a power stretch top, power stretch pants, and marino wool socks. On top of that I wear a windblock fleece vest, bike shorts, and leg armor (warmth and protection! - mosty for my power stretch). I also will wear a rain jacket to start the ride but as soon as I start sweating off it comes and it easily fits in my pack. The jacket also comes in handy if we are stopped for an extended period of time or on a long downhill. I wear my regular mtn bike shoes with neoprene covers. For gloves I have some LG windblock bike gloves or Black Diamond windstopper gloves. For a hat I have a power stretch balaclava (yea, I'm a huge fan of power stretch) or a windstopper balaclava. I don't wear anything Goretex or waterproof (except for the rain jacket but like I said that comes off as soon as I start sweating) because breathability is key. Even with temps in the teens a good ride will have you sweating.

    Low teens is about my limit. Colder than that it is a challenge to keep the hands and feet warm. Shaking and swinging to get the blood flowing to them seems to work fairly well.
    Last edited by woodsguy; 11-13-2011 at 01:51 PM.

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    No such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes.

    I love low teens! With all the windproof/breathable stuff out there now it's pretty easy (but not inexpensive) to be comfortable. Feet and hands are definitely the biggest problem but some good winter hikers with wool sox and platform pedals and all is well, some good ski gloves (Hestra maybe because of the incredible dexterity they allow for) and the hand problem is solved as well.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    No such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes.

    I love low teens! With all the windproof/breathable stuff out there now it's pretty easy (but not inexpensive) to be comfortable. Feet and hands are definitely the biggest problem but some good winter hikers with wool sox and platform pedals and all is well, some good ski gloves (Hestra maybe because of the incredible dexterity they allow for) and the hand problem is solved as well.
    Boots would be great but I am unable to ride a bike without some kind of pedal engagement. I've never tried big gloves but I can't imagine they would give you much feel. When I commuted by bike I wore leather snowmobile mittens that I could make a fist in if I got cold. They got me through several below zero days.

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    well it was in the 30s this morning when I set out pedaling to the gym, and it was fine! (I had a quilted heavy shirt and a wind breaker, gloves, sneakers.)

    my feet never got cold riding, neither with sneakers nor boots. It's interesting that some of you bring up footwear - I assume that is from getting them wet? The feet are generally working too hard to cool off.

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    I think you need to get out and actually ride in the cold for a bit. I wouldn't expect to get cold feet on the way to the gym or during a ride in the 50's either. Spend 3 hours riding in the 20's though, with snug shoes and your body restricting blood flow to your furthest extremity and you'll know cold feet. I've always reasoned with myself that cold feet are a necessary part of a cold weather ride. You either deal or don't ride. That said, I usually don't have any issues with feet til it gets under 20. I'm like Woodyak though. I'll keep riding in shorts til it's about freezing. Even then I only wear a pair of under armor type tights under my shorts.

  19. #19
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    I prefer around 55-60, perfect weather for riding if you ask me. But I ride down to about freezing. I have pearl izumi cold weather tights and under armor coldgear top an I've found the nike storm stuff works well, pricey, but every once in a while you can find good thin goretex layers for cheap at tj maxx or marshals.
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  20. #20
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    My perfect temp for riding is 75.

  21. #21
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    Too Cold?? I've ridden in single digit conditions and that may have been slightly foolish. I manage to stay reasonably comfortable down to the mid-teens. Although my extremities prefer I limit those rides to 2 hours. Hands and feet are a ***** to keep warm. I have a pair of Specialized Defroster boots that I bought a 1/2 size too large, combine that with a pair of high quality wool socks (thin ones) I prefer the "Darn Tough" brand made in Vermont. It's important to have plenty of wiggle room in your shoes and wiggle your toes frequently while you ride. Lobster claw gloves work better than the five finger variant as well.

  22. #22
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    You may want to check the Fatbikes threads as there are some real die-hard cold weather riders posting, including myself. My coldest ride was -15 F and I have to say I was plenty warm. I routinely ride when it is near 0 F. I have an arsenal of bike clothing next to my outdoor thermometer and have become fairly proficient and making good clothing choices. Keeping the core warm is easy. You want a good wicking base layer, then an insulating layer depending on temp, and finally a breathable shell that is windproof. I have no problem keeping my hands warm. On the coldest day I use down-filled mittens. I also have pogies but have not had a need to use them. The hard part is keeping my feet warm. I have a pair of Lake winter shoes 1 size too large and use thick wool socks. Early into the ride I have to think about wiggling my toes to keep them warm (if it's less than 0 F). Once the blood starts flowing I'm fine. For road riding it's hard to keep my nose and eyes warm. Covering the nose will guarantee fogging of any eyewear so I usually won't wear glasses and eye-watering can be a problem. I have tried ski goggles but peripheral vision is not adequte. I still don't have a good solution for this. Need to keep in mind: don't overdress. When it is very cold, the adage "you sweat, you die" is true. If I'm riding alone I will pack layers that I may need if I get hurt or have a technical. Hope this is helpful.

  23. #23
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    low 30s to high 20s

    layering is your friend.

  24. #24
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    Try this balaclava. The mouth is a plastic screen so it doesn't absorb moisture. The mask is also easily removable. I've never had any fogging with this.

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    Gotta have the right tools, I'm good down to about zero (f) depending on wind conditions

    Put these on your feet, size up to allow heavier winter socks

    And put these on your handlebars

    Then hop on your bike and ride

    Last edited by dirtyjack; 12-08-2011 at 09:03 AM.
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    you guys are certified maniacs for gearing up like this!

  27. #27
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    Some of my best rides ever have been those crisp clear moonlit nights when the ride starts with the temps around 10 and finishes below 0. Balaclava, ski-helmet, a couple pairs of tights, wool socks sprinkled with cayenne, lake winter shoes, a couple of changes of gloves for when the first ones get sweaty, base layer, wool jersey, wind layer. An extra warm layer in the pack in case of a mechanical, spare wool socks in there too in case you go through the ice. Avoid the long fast downhills, and all is good.
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  28. #28
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    if you have issues with your hands stying warm try these out..Bar Mitts - Warm bicycle gloves
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  29. #29
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    Oh yea, I forgot about my snowboard helmet. I've worn it a few times on rides and it works well.

  30. #30
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    Never did a trainer, never will. HTFU, really after 10 minutes of pedaling in snow, I'm usually sweating.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by hado_pv View Post
    wool socks sprinkled with cayenne,
    I'm sure the coyotes would appreciate a little spice when they're gnawing on your frozen digits.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O View Post
    I'm sure the coyotes would appreciate a little spice when they're gnawing on your frozen digits.

    Keeps the squirrels off at least. But seriously, I've found that it really increases the circulation to the toes, keeping them warmer...
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  33. #33
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    I rode the snowmobile trails around Mt Washington at -17degF last year!

    ColdAvenger face mask FTW!!!

    It's not too cold, you just don't have the right gear!

  34. #34
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    What would temps that cold do to your bike? How well would the shocks, hydro brakes, seals, lube, etc hold up?

  35. #35
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    shocks tend to stiffen up, leak a little more oil than usual. the only time i have a problem with hydro brks is when the discs heat up and then snow melts on the disc and refreezes NO BRKS. happens to rim brks as well. try to avoid slush in below freezing temps. der. freeze up,no more shifting. i've been frozen in my pedals {shimano spd's]. tube valves get frozen. yes i will admit cold weather riding can take a toll on your bike and yourself, but i still love to do it!

  36. #36
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    I have found that suspension starts to be impacted a bit in the low single digits. Once it gets below the low teens to single digits I start to lose my motivation to ride. tires rolling over hard packed snow in the teens makes a unique sound, you can also fly across frozen earth, hard pack snow and ice. It makes frequenlty ridden trails seem new again as the snow coverage smooths out the roots/rocks etc.

    Nokian - Freddie's Revenge ice tires grip on ice like crazy, riding off camber trails covered in ice that cannot be walked is pretty cool, that is until you don't make the climb and slide back done the hill..but that is another story.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by fvh420 View Post
    I have found that suspension starts to be impacted a bit in the low single digits. Once it gets below the low teens to single digits I start to lose my motivation to ride. tires rolling over hard packed snow in the teens makes a unique sound, you can also fly across frozen earth, hard pack snow and ice. It makes frequenlty ridden trails seem new again as the snow coverage smooths out the roots/rocks etc.

    Nokian - Freddie's Revenge ice tires grip on ice like crazy, riding off camber trails covered in ice that cannot be walked is pretty cool, that is until you don't make the climb and slide back done the hill..but that is another story.
    got a set of those tires. love them. i put some sheet metal screws in the sole of my shoes helps a lot with the ice walking

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyjack View Post
    Gotta have the right tools, I'm good down to about zero (f) depending on wind conditions

    Put these on your feet, size up to allow heavier winter socks

    And put these on your handlebars

    Then hop on your bike and ride

    ABSOLUTELY! I ride year round in Wisconsin. It is not uncommon to see me, (although most never will), in Jan., Feb., Mar., etc. on the Madison lakes at night on the Fatbike. If you have Lake MXZ winter boots, handlebar "pogies", and a good full-face balaclava, then there is NO TOO COLD. Hands, feet, face! Most times my feet and hands get sweaty. Its all about the wind chill. Your body will make plenty of heat! ***!!!Lake MXZ boots are EXPENSIVE but Just AMAZING!!! Kangaroo leather, Boa fastening system and the foot beds have some of the same material they use in USA space suits-the closest I'll ever get to the moon!
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  39. #39
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    Coldest I've ever ridden was home from work. Air temp was -40 (at that temp C and F are the same) and -50 including wind chill. Sitting at a red light I realized how dumb it was to be riding at that temp. I doubt I'll ever attempt to break that record.
    In scientific terms, that temp is known as "stupid cold"

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    Quote Originally Posted by firedudecndn View Post
    Coldest I've ever ridden was home from work. Air temp was -40 (at that temp C and F are the same) and -50 including wind chill. Sitting at a red light I realized how dumb it was to be riding at that temp. I doubt I'll ever attempt to break that record.
    In scientific terms, that temp is known as "stupid cold"
    Were you wearing your Lake boots?
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny settle View Post
    Were you wearing your Lake boots?

    A pair of big ol' $h!t kicking kodiaks!!!

    I wasn't cold, it just took me longer to bundle up than it took to ride to work (2 1/2 miles at the time, now it's 11 miles)

  42. #42
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    Ridden around Boston at about 5F

    As a mountain biker, I'll ride down to about 5-10F routinely. As mentioned, layers are key and hands & feet tend to suffer first.

    Have different expectations. The riding isn't the same. Just getting out is the achievement. Ride until you can't take it and then quit - that means riding a route with bailouts. I tend to start cold but end up sweating after ten minutes. After that, any mechanical becomes deadly dangerous - hence choosing a route with efficient bailouts.

    As a commuter, I've ridden down toward 0F on a dahon folding bike from North Station back up into Cambridge. Crazy Cold. Freeze a witch's tit Cold! Charles frozen solid and no one moving on the roads kinda Cold!

    It's invigorating and gives one a sense of pride! I brag about it and feel alive.

  43. #43
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    Yeah - i agree. That's why I said layers.... I start layered and peel away as necessary. I usually end up pretty light - tights, base layer, long sleeve jersey, lobster gloves, and a helmet.

    But damn... if I have to stop, the first thing I do is put all the extra layers back on lickety splt before I do anything else.

    I was Boy Scout and we were trained that you lose a ton of body heat through your head. I can believe it. The baclava is always the first thing off and the first things back on.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by connolm View Post
    As a mountain biker, I'll ride down to about 5-10F routinely. As mentioned, layers are key and hands & feet tend to suffer first.

    Have different expectations. The riding isn't the same. Just getting out is the achievement. Ride until you can't take it and then quit - that means riding a route with bailouts. I tend to start cold but end up sweating after ten minutes. After that, any mechanical becomes deadly dangerous - hence choosing a route with efficient bailouts.

    As a commuter, I've ridden down toward 0F on a dahon folding bike from North Station back up into Cambridge. Crazy Cold. Freeze a witch's tit Cold! Charles frozen solid and no one moving on the roads kinda Cold!

    It's invigorating and gives one a sense of pride! I brag about it and feel alive.
    Sweat kills. Stay dry, underdress and add layers as you can't stand the cold (that means drop a layer, or at least unzip, at the bottom of a climb or tech section that will increase the pulse rate).
    Last edited by hado_pv; 11-18-2011 at 08:49 PM.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by JUNGLEKID5 View Post
    if you have issues with your hands stying warm try these out.
    Bar Mitts are definitely the way to go. I have a pair, as does my wife. The true litmus test will be the below freezing temps...

  46. #46
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    I've eaten baclava before, and it makes my stomach happy, but you'd need an awful lot to keep your head warm.

  47. #47
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    Technical clothing/layering is key for me, and I also like the less is more feel for mobility.

    Start with a high quality technical upper body base layer. In my opinion everything starts here because if you cant wick away sweat from your body your done. Short sleeve for warmer days long for cold.
    Next I like to wear an insulating full zip jersey. Depending on how cold the day will be dictates the heaviness of this layer.

    On top is a breathable shell, vest, or jacket to keep out the cold wind. Again the heaviness of this outer layer is dependent on coldness. I like to get shells/jackets that are breathable and "vent able", so you can regulate your body heat by unzipping. For my lower body, I typically range from insulated knee or full leg warmers with baggy shorts on top.

    Another very important piece to the puzzle is your head and hands. Temps again will dictate clothing from a simple cycling cap to an insulated cap to a full on Balaclava. Same goes for glove choices. I also like to pack a back up lighter pair for when you warm up after a few miles.

    Finally feet. I am a big believer in quality winter cycling specific shoes over multiple socks, show covers, and heat warmers pads. Or any other combo. Last winter I wore Shimano winter specific waterproof shoes with thin wool socks in temps below freezing with no problems.
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  48. #48
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    cold is a state of mind

    riding in Canada
    minus 40 with the windchill
    at that temp. the mechanics have to be maintained frequently, I have yet to find a lubricant that doesn't completely disappear or turn to peanut butter witch means: easy gears and slow pace. but when the sun shines and the snow is fresh what the [email protected]#$, I'm going for a ride.

    long sleeved cycle sweater, fall breathable jacket, gore tec winter jacket shell with zippered vents, ear warmer headband, light weight cap(toque) , neck gator, long under wear, pants , northface ankle high boots, flat pedals ( have considered attaching spd clips)

  49. #49
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    As cold as it gets

    If you sit around waiting for the perfect day you'll never ride.

  50. #50
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    Amen

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundundata View Post
    If you sit around waiting for the perfect day you'll never ride.
    Nice. I like this

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundundata View Post
    If you sit around waiting for the perfect day you'll never ride.
    Now that I'm retired, I can
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    Quote Originally Posted by thecanoe View Post
    Now that I'm retired, I can
    Now that I'm unemployed, I just ride most every day whether its nice or not. To each his own I suppose.

  54. #54
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    Well, it wasn't really mountain biking like on a forested trail... but it was on the path that runs along Farmer's Loop in Fairbanks, Alaska.

    I used to ride down to -20ish, then I just didn't enjoy it.
    I rode 7 miles into town to UAF, went straight to the gym, stripped everything off except my balaclava then hit the showers.
    The balaclava had to stay on because I had one huge beard, and my breath would freeze the mask to my beard until I defrosted it in the showers

    I remember a bike shop in town and the owner who built special rims at the time... extra WIDE. Someone was making special hubs too. People would put lithium grease in their bikes for the extreme cold. Tires were down to 8psi IIRC, and we'd wear kayaking pogues to keep our hands warm.

    For light, we'd get the dog musher's special, with special cable designed to be flexible in subzero temps, 4 D batteries, and stuff the battery case inside our clothing.

    Clothing was a mix of things, but generally kept me warm enough.
    I'd ride in my home-made, felt-lined mukluks, or my Sorels. I think I even might have ridden in my mickey-mouse boots a time or two.

    Now I live in beautiful, but extremely wet, Humboldt County California and it never gets too cold to ride the trails... just a tad too wet and muddy

    I would have LOVED a Surley up in Fairbanks!
    I had an old Haro with no suspension.

  55. #55
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    A ride you pass on is a ride you'll never get back.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by overmodulated View Post
    wondering what most folks tolerate for riding temps as we get closer to winter.

    today was in the low 50s in the Boston area and that was a little too cool for me. tomorrow will be low 60s and a little more comfortable. but the cold air whipping my face is generally less comfortable to me than brutal heat - somehow I'd rather ride in the heat

    what about the rest of you for prefered riding temp conditions?
    me i prefer the cold over the blistering heat

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    some comments. winter shoes do help but regular shoes with booties are better alternative but walking the snowy hills can be tricky. I have various thickness of all clothing. and last year on Cape Cod never had to get the really heavy gear out. It takes years of experience to know what you have to wear for what conditions and cycling mode(mtb or road).

    people(non cyclists) say I'm nuts for riding all year but I know I'm normal when I go out at night in 20 deg wx and snow and I see lots of fresh tracks! or Roger Wharton gathers 5 riders to go for a ride in 7-10degs at Nickerson Park and our group meets another group of 4! yeah!

    DO NOT immediately take a warm shower after a 7deg ride without letting your feet defrost!! Again booties are better.

    the older and maybe newer Sidi winter shoes are NOT as good as the Lakes. the soles are hard plastic with limited grip when walking up icy/snowy hills (don't remark about only whimps walk up hills.I'm not) and don't have much more insulation than regular shoes.The Lakes have nice soft grippy rubber like soles and better insulation and wet weather protection.

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    Good news! If your not riding under under 50 degs yet, there is a whole other bike season waiting for you. Enjoy!

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    Coldest I rode was ~35. Was going to ride this morning, but when I saw that it was 25 degrees outside, I decided not to.

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    Wimpy People! Jeez , it is all bout being dressed correctly. ansd the hardest part about riding in the cold is walking out the door!

    it was25 degrees this morning when I went into the woods to ride , there were tons of rideres out there today in Vietnam

    but here is a group of us going out , it was 5 degrees when we left , -13 when we finished up!

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    It was 23 degrees when I headed out this AM and I loved every minute of it. If you have the right equipement riding is very enjoyable this time of year. The forzen ground, and a dusting of snow make for some of the best conditions of the year.

  62. #62
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    Where did you ride that had a dusting of snow?
    Last edited by thecanoe; 12-18-2011 at 06:15 PM.
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    When I left the house this morning it was 15degF. 'twas a bit chilly for sure. There was still open water on the trail in places and it kept flash-freezing to my wheels and frame. Caused the chain to skip around a bit too. Hands were OK, face was OK, toes were a bit numb after 2hrs but serviceable. Overall a nice ride, but about 5 deg colder than I'd like.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by thecanoe View Post
    Where did you ride that had a dusting of snow?
    I was riding around the Carolina Hill area of Marshfield.

  65. #65
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    I just recently heard about that area. I think Bill Boles led a ride there last week. What type of terrain is in there and how much hill climbing?
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    0 is my limit. Like others, i wear thermal long johns and long riding pants over them, long sleeve thermal undershirt and a gor-tex overshirt. i do wear a handband that i also use skiing to cover my ears. My wife says i do look like a 'tard, but WTF, i'm warm ...

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by thecanoe View Post
    I just recently heard about that area. I think Bill Boles led a ride there last week. What type of terrain is in there and how much hill climbing?
    I ride there quite a bit. It's mostly smooth singletrack with some fire roads. There's also a section west of 3A. A few steep hills if you know where to look for them.

    We rode Borderland Sunday, it was about 22 when we started out. Luckily no dusting of snow, or the carnage rate would be high.
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  68. #68
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    All the above layering advice is sound. A particular problem I have is poor circulation in the hands and feet. Thus, keeping the extremities warm is key. If I start cold or they become cold, warming them up can be difficult. I keep the ski gloves and Lake boots on the radiator overnight prior to the ride. If the temp is below 25 or so I have found that toe warmer heat packs will keep the feet from becoming ice blocks. Yes it is an expense but well worth it. At the start they need to be warm. If I drive to a ride I dress completely in the warm car. By being careful you can have enjoyable rides in the single digits.

  69. #69
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    30-35* this season so far and it was raining.

    I was about the same in New Mexico back in November up in Cloud Croft too.
    Patapsco or bust...............slingin mud or getting broke off!!!!!!

  70. #70
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    I also draw the line at zero. When it get's that cold it's just no fun any more for me.

  71. #71
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    i've ridden under 30F, and i find that my body always stays warm. even to the point of being very sweaty. its my damn hands and feet that ice up first. i dont have a lot of warm gear right now because i dont have the means to ride in the snow. maybe when i get the pugsley i always wanted.

    i was on my road bike and underestimated the cold. my bike shoes have air vents and i really thought i might get frostbite they hurt so bad. so i stopped and stuffed a ton of leaves in my shoe. it was pretty ridiculous but it saved my toes.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    i've ridden under 30F, and i find that my body always stays warm. even to the point of being very sweaty. its my damn hands and feet that ice up first. i dont have a lot of warm gear right now because i dont have the means to ride in the snow. maybe when i get the pugsley i always wanted.

    i was on my road bike and underestimated the cold. my bike shoes have air vents and i really thought i might get frostbite they hurt so bad. so i stopped and stuffed a ton of leaves in my shoe. it was pretty ridiculous but it saved my toes.
    Don't delay winter ride due to lack of a fat bike. Your regular ride will do fine in packed snow,i.e. snowmobile trails, I joined the local snowmobile club to make my use legit. You will need to consider studded tires as ice will cause pain if not respected. That being said with studs you can ride up a frozen stream bed. As for the extremities, you can use ski gloves for hand warmth. For feet, winter boots are key. See my post above. With the right gear winter riding is as cool as any other season. Try it and enjoy the fun of defying the cold.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAC1 View Post
    Don't delay winter ride due to lack of a fat bike. Your regular ride will do fine in packed snow,i.e. snowmobile trails, I joined the local snowmobile club to make my use legit. You will need to consider studded tires as ice will cause pain if not respected. That being said with studs you can ride up a frozen stream bed. As for the extremities, you can use ski gloves for hand warmth. For feet, winter boots are key. See my post above. With the right gear winter riding is as cool as any other season. Try it and enjoy the fun of defying the cold.
    been thinking about studded tires......

  74. #74
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    ...not exactly cycling... but I climbed Mt. Monadnock last week in 10-20F temperatures. At the top, the wind-chill had to be considerably colder as the wind was easily blowing in excess of 50 mph.

    It was cold enough to freeze our camelback tubes in minutes. We had to keep sipping constantly or the ice would block it in about five minutes. In the video, you can see frozen sweat in my hair and mustache.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/w6B-Y0x2ZbM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    The trick to unfreezing a blocked tube is to tuck it between your back and the pack.

    But I'll agree with everyone above: 0F is my absolute limit. In fact, I get quite anxious around 5F.

  75. #75
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    Amen! Well yesterday was an outstanding cool but not freezing day, and today appears to be just as nice. I'll be blasting through Rock Meadow / Beaver Brook Park this afternoon - am sure there will be a lot of riders on the trails.

  76. #76
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    You don't need a fat bike or studded tires to ride in the winter. Rarely is there snow on the ground the entire winter and the Cape is usually snow free. Otis and Trail of Tears are worth the drive.

  77. #77
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    Studded tires

    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    been thinking about studded tires......
    Nokian has a few choices, I have 296's which have lasted for years.

  78. #78
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    Camelbac tube freeze

    Another technique is to blow all the water out of the tube each time you drink. Make sure the last bit is out of the valve by elevating or draining afterward.

  79. #79
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    50 too cold? hahahhahahah...
    Sorry.. But cmon.....

    I will say I am not really happy going below 30, but I STILL ride man... If you ride hard enough, you will get warm, no problem.
    “People fear death even more than pain. It's strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death." JM

  80. #80
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    Today ... 35 degrees, stiff wind, great ride.
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  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAC1 View Post
    Another technique is to blow all the water out of the tube each time you drink. Make sure the last bit is out of the valve by elevating or draining afterward.
    you can get cold weather camelbak insulated tubes - like this:

    CamelBak® - Thermal Control Kit™

    However it's pretty simple to sew your own camelbak tube insulation. You just need some neoprene fabric.

    Of course if it's really cold this won't help anyway.

  82. #82
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    Here in Kodiak if you don't like riding in the cold then you don't ride. Same goes for the rain. It's been in the teens here lately, but today was a warm 24 degrees. A t-shirt, sweats, shell pants and jacket, and a baclava, and we're good to go. The only thing I haven't been able to keep warm is my hands. Still looking for a pair of gloves that can handle the task.

  83. #83
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    To keep the hydration tube from freezing I store it under my clothes or drink from it frequently.

  84. #84
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    Baclava recipe (for those of you that haven't used one yet)
    I still don't know how this helps keep you warm but I'm here to help.

    Ingredients

    1 pound chopped mixed nuts
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
    1 cup butter, melted
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup honey
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    Toss together cinnamon and nuts. Unroll phyllo and cut whole stack in half to fit the dish. Cover phyllo with a damp cloth while assembling the baklava, to keep it from drying out.
    Place two sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the prepared dish. Brush generously with butter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture on top. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with about 6 sheets of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, cut baklava (all the way through to the bottom of the dish) into four long rows, then (nine times) diagonally to make 36 diamond shapes.
    Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes, until golden and crisp.
    While baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
    Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it. Let cool completely before serving. Store uncovered.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by kubaner View Post
    Baclava recipe (for those of you that haven't used one yet)
    I still don't know how this helps keep you warm but I'm here to help.

    Ingredients

    1 pound chopped mixed nuts
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
    1 cup butter, melted
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup honey
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    Toss together cinnamon and nuts. Unroll phyllo and cut whole stack in half to fit the dish. Cover phyllo with a damp cloth while assembling the baklava, to keep it from drying out.
    Place two sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the prepared dish. Brush generously with butter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture on top. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with about 6 sheets of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, cut baklava (all the way through to the bottom of the dish) into four long rows, then (nine times) diagonally to make 36 diamond shapes.
    Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes, until golden and crisp.
    While baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
    Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it. Let cool completely before serving. Store uncovered.
    Wise guy, huh? Edit... "Balaclava" not baclava.

  86. #86
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    it's ok to feel cold, and there are things you can do to make the cold perfectly manageable. the life lived at an entirely optimum temperature is not the life worth living. would you appreciate pleasure as much if it weren't for pain? would you like salty as much if it weren't for sweet? would you realize how much sammy hagar sucks if it weren't for david lee roth? nope. so why shelter yourself from the beautiful variety of natures atmospheric whims?
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  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by rottendan View Post
    it's ok to feel cold, and there are things you can do to make the cold perfectly manageable. the life lived at an entirely optimum temperature is not the life worth living. would you appreciate pleasure as much if it weren't for pain? would you like salty as much if it weren't for sweet? would you realize how much sammy hagar sucks if it weren't for david lee roth? nope. so why shelter yourself from the beautiful variety of natures atmospheric whims?
    -Bike Snob
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    You sound like John Belushi in Animal House, "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"
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  88. #88
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    Keeping hands warm

    I feel your pain. The best adaptations I have found are to use big ski gloves to allow for adequate circulation, pre-heat the glove on the home radiator or windshield defrost vent, then if needed use a glove cover. I carry them along with a shell jacket to layer as needed. I use Headsweats which are a little awkward but are inexpensive and make a big difference, especially in wind. Also consider checking out the Icebike website. Any other suggestions are welcome.

  89. #89
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    Zero degrees this morning. I find that hand and toe warmers help a lot. If you buy them online in bulk you can get a few years worth for cheap. Put them in a zip-lock between rides then they'll last for quite a few rides.

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    Road biking is cold, but MTB to almost any temp. The keys seem to be covering the face, and ski gloves for the hands, and using boots for the feet, just layer up for the rest.

  91. #91
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    Hand/toe warmers

    Thanks for the recommendation to save these in a zip lock. I was not aware of this.

  92. #92
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    If it's warm enough to ski, its warm enough to ride.

  93. #93
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    Yeah. I really hope it warms up so we can start skiing. Damn cold weather messing up my ski season.

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    i usually stick to 25 and above as my gauge. if you dress appropriately you'll be fine although getting the right clothes to match the conditions can be tricky. i usually under dress a bit since you warm up very quickly. personally i'd rather not overheat and have to constantly be shedding layers.

  95. #95
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    Even though we have been enjoying an incredibly mild winter, my weekday rides still end up being at night. It may be 40 and sunny during the day, but by 6 or 7pm it's at or below freezing. As long as it's above 15 degrees I'm down to ride. The firm ground makes for easy rolling on the sometimes sandy/loamy Cape trails.

    What I usually wear when it's 15-40 degrees at night.Base layer: Under Armour cold gear pants and long sleeve compression shirt. Nike dri-fit jacket, a long sleeve wickable shirt for extra cold days. Pearl izumi elite barrier booties and barrier skull cap. I usually wear no gloves in the summer months, for winter I wear my motocross gloves. They can get cold occasionally, if I go on longer rides, I wear a heavier insulated glove.

    I rode more in January than the first 6 months of 2011...We are 5 days into February and i've been out 3 of 5 days already...Loving 2012 right now!

  96. #96
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    I have to agree with everyone else, even as someone who relocated here from Phoenix a few years back, I'll ride in anything. Just make sure you dress right, the biggest thing I learned to do- invest in wool socks. The beanies, under armour base layers, ski gloves, etc... are all kind of common sense but once a long time local clued me in about wool socks I've never even hesitated riding on even the coldest days.

    I will say this winter is very mellow compared to the last two I was here for.

  97. #97
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    "Yeah. I really hope it warms up so we can start skiing. Damn cold weather messing up my ski season" ME TOO!

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    I've ridden around the 30's this year. It gets hot pretty quickly when you have so much clothes on and you are riding consistently

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    I can handle to about 20 degrees with light wind. I prefer riding frozen ground or ice with my studs. Depending on the trail conditions when it's warm in the spring it is usually too muddy and bad for the trails.

    Smart wool socks, shoe covers or winter booties are a must. Winter gloves.

  100. #100
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    Oh cool , finally someone with bigger tyres then I have

  101. #101
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    Have ridden in the low teens with no issues. Could probably stand single digits if I pulled out some of the ski gear. Where I wimp out though is that on a super cold day, I drive to the entrance of Wompy instead of riding the 2 miles from my house to the park. Why freeze on the road for 10 minutes when it's so much better to toss the bike in the back of the warm jeep and be right at the trail head in a few minute?

  102. #102
    CB of the East
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    ^ I'd probably ride the 2 miles that's really not that far. I did this morning's ride at 6 degrees.

  103. #103
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    yeah, it's not far but it's mostly down hill so you get that good 25 mph wind chill going too. The seats down a=in the jeep and the bike fits in with no need to remove a wheel, so I am sad to say I have wimped out... I have ridden a road bike in -1 deg f once (eyelids almost froze shut), so I will stand on my record as a life time New Englander. But as approach 50, sanity sometimes gets in the way...

  104. #104
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    Yeah, it's best to start on a slight uphill when it's cold. I'm starting to approach 50, well in 5 years, and sanity is fleeting. -18F is my limit so far. I'm not going to say it's all that enjoyable.

  105. #105
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    -30C which equated to about -40C with windchill maybe a little cooler once you factor in speed of bike. Grease was so hard I thought I was riding with the brakes on. Rode in that for about 45minutes with just a touch of coldness in my feet. I use barmitts and gloves and my hands were toasty. Waiting for winter to throw something colder at me to see what I can tolerate.

  106. #106
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    I didn't read the whole thread.
    What kind of shoes, shoes cover do u guys use?

  107. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by overmodulated View Post
    wondering what most folks tolerate for riding temps as we get closer to winter.

    today was in the low 50s in the Boston area and that was a little too cool for me. tomorrow will be low 60s and a little more comfortable. but the cold air whipping my face is generally less comfortable to me than brutal heat - somehow I'd rather ride in the heat

    what about the rest of you for prefered riding temp conditions?
    Nothing is too cold. Just layer thin synthetic clothing, wear a balaclava, neck gator, headband if necessary, glove liners under gloves. I ride flats so warm shoes aren't a problem, if needed I'll use those chem pack heaters. Throw some pogies on the bars and ride.

    The challenge is getting the right amount so you don't sweat too much or overheat. If you do it right you start off cold and need to stop once or twice to do some jumping jacks.
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  108. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thiago7 View Post
    I didn't read the whole thread.
    What kind of shoes, shoes cover do u guys use?
    I use Northwave Artic Celsius GTX until it gets real cold, then I switch to flats and my Solomon winter boots. This also usually coincides with needing to bring snow shoes for breaking trail, so that works out well.

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