Winter commute... ehm... passion- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Winter commute... ehm... passion

    Hi all and happy biking!

    Last year I started commuting to work to get back into short as is detailed a bit here. I was a little worried for the winter as the weather conditions here in Iceland can change - often and quick. I bought studded tires, gathered my hiking clothes and was ready. Winter comes one week at a time here it seems and it usually starts with rain. And wind. That is, horizontal rain. This period lasted a month or so and to my surprise I got through it all ok. Sure it was a little harder to bike on the studded tires with headwind in pretty much every direction and my whole body more wet than in the shower. But somehow I found motivation to continue (I'm sure my man-tits and belly were the biggest - pun intended).

    In November we had a pretty good two weeks of heavy snow. Unfortunately it was quite wet and hard to bike in. Very slushy and the bike was horribly dirty after each ride home. There was tons of salt from the streets, dirt from the grass and my clothes seemed to need two runs of washing. Fortunately frost hit back with a vengeance and biking on ice for most of December. The studded tires served me well and for once I actually felt more secure on my bike than in my car! I had more traction during acceleration and braking at least!

    Then January comes with this heavy snow fall. First week of it there was nothing but endless beautiful powder. That is quite rare here in Iceland and my love for it as a snowboarder is endless. But I found new love for powder. To blast through an untouched gathering of powder at 20 km/h on my bike, snowflakes hurling in my face is just the best feeling. Last week was simply my best bike week from the start. And it is freaking winter!

    This week we had even colder temperatures and the wind decided to show its mighty forces again. All the powder blew around, forming hills and bunks and beautiful landscape on my commute route. I was so exited to blast through some 40 cm high gatherings of snow so one morning I hit the pedals, gained as much speed as I could to make a show of snow splashing around me, reflecting the flicker of my bike light. I had of course forgotten the fact that wind throwing the snowflakes around, gathering them in bunks also makes the snow much denser, thicker ... and harder to bike through! Next thing I knew I had my face stuck in the snow with my bike some 4 meters away. But I was laughing. Laughing hard and loud.

    The last three days have been the hardest on the bike yet. Just incredibly hard. But every ride to and from work has been the hardest of exercises yet. Some places the snow is impossible to bike through and to soft to bike over so I have no choice but to but the bike on my back and carry it. I come to work sweating like I've hiked the Big Mountains but smiling like I've just had the greatest *** of my life!

    People still look at me funny from their warmed up cars when I come riding at ridiculously slow speeds in horrendous weather with snow or rain pretty much anywhere. But I love it. Those funny looks get me through the day. For the first time in my life work is coming in at second place. The commute is what I wait for in my day. Every day is liking riding a new single track since the snow formations change so much over night. If it were up to me, I'd have winter all year round!

    I would have loved to have some photos with this post of the conditions but since the sun doesn't rise until after my commute, and is gone by the time I head home there is very little light. The flash on my camera doesn't play well with the snow. I'm going to take a ride over the weekend in good light and should be able to post some photos then. But for those out there that are overweight and want to do something about it (although I doubt there are any overweight people on a forum such as this one ) I'll put two photos of me as motivation to get out there and put in some kilometers on the old trusty bike in the garage.


    Tobbi @ January 1st weighing 144 kilos (317 lbs)


    Tobbi @ December 16th weighing 110 kilos (242 lbs)

    I know it is only photos of my face, but I'm going to assume no one here will sleep well enough if full body photos are shown

    No matter the conditions, whatever sucky weather - there are few excuses good enough not to ride. Not while it is this fun.

    See'ya out there.

    - tobbi

  2. #2
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    Summers coming

    and you will be screaming fast.

  3. #3

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    a little empathy

    ...and I thought it was bad in Chicago. My brother studied in Finland years back and his stories of the winter there were bad enough.

    Keep it up, congrats on the newfound addiction, and post some of those pictures for us.

    All the people in cages never seem to get it as they drive along...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostdog
    ...and I thought it was bad in Chicago. My brother studied in Finland years back and his stories of the winter there were bad enough.

    Keep it up, congrats on the newfound addiction, and post some of those pictures for us.

    All the people in cages never seem to get it as they drive along...
    It isn't that bad, one has just find the good in it I guess. It is a definite plus that it is less scary to fall into thick snow as opposed to the rocks during summer. It is all about attitude in the end. And passion.

    I'm sure Finland would be great to bike in as they probably have more snow and for longer. Unfortunately here in the capital area of Iceland our winter has turned into being rain season instead of snow. I'd choose snow over cold rain any day.

    There seem to be quite a few people here that ride in this weather, judging by the tracks in the snow I sometimes see in the mornings. I still really enjoy driving my car and fully understand people that aren't interested in biking, even more so in this weather. It all comes down to interest. I'm sure there are things they all do I won't. Like sitting in front of the TV while the weather outside is too gorgeous not to be abusing those two round shapes of rubber on the road or track.

    - tobbi

  5. #5
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    And I thought my commute in Denver was bad with two big snow storms and a few blocks of ice each way. Doesn't sound like the cross bike could hold up to the conditions in Iceland.

    Enjoy the ride, commuting is bad weather is as much fun as I've had on the bike in years.
    Blogging about nothing since 2005
    http://devinrides.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
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    Nice work!! I speak for the Betties when I say thanks for the bit of eye candy

    Problem is......what's MY excuse now for slacking off this mild winter??
    "We sat outside the dentist, tooting a horn on the guy's bike."-overheard in the Underground

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christine
    Nice work!! I speak for the Betties when I say thanks for the bit of eye candy

    Problem is......what's MY excuse now for slacking off this mild winter??
    Thanks, I'm assuming (and hoping) Betties is referring to the females on the board

    There is no excuse of course! But of course, a break is needed once in a while...

    The weather forecast is showing signs of warmer temperatures so I better get out there this weekend and enjoy the last of this nice snow. Seems the sky will be clear also so I ought to be able to take some photos. Will upload after the weekend.

    - tobbi

  8. #8
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    Wow, those before and after pictures are remarkable! Have you made other lifestyle/diet changes during the past year or is all of that progress just from commuting? How far is the commute?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T
    Wow, those before and after pictures are remarkable! Have you made other lifestyle/diet changes during the past year or is all of that progress just from commuting? How far is the commute?
    Thanks

    No, little changes really. There have been some changes in the diet by reducing sodas and bread. I also stopped drinking alcohol in the last year. I suppose that made a big impact. Most of the added weight has accumulated in the last 8 years (from about 90 kilos) and that came about because of no exercise.

    The commute to work is always the same route at about 6,5 kilometers. On the way back I vary it a little bit, ranging from 6 kilometers to about 20. Depends on the weather and the energy I have. Most of it is on the pavement but I can also get out of the town easily and ride on paths. Those routes are in the longer range so they are reserved for days I manage to leave at five in the afternoon.

    Still some 20-30 kilos to go and the weight loss will slow down gradually for what is left. I set out on this as a three year program so there is still two years to go. The biking will go on after the three years are over though. What also made it a lot easier for me is the shower I have access to here at work. I sweat a lot so I couldn't imagine sitting at my desk after the commute without a shower in between.

    - tobbi

  10. #10
    life is a barrel o'fun
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    The first bunch of weight is the easiest to lose, once you notice the everyday habits that add up (calories in snacks, beer, juice etc.) Then getting the exercise into a routine so it becomes another habit.
    "We sat outside the dentist, tooting a horn on the guy's bike."-overheard in the Underground

  11. #11
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    Nice story tobbi, I enjoyed it!
    Good for you to be loosing that weight and also to be getting that daily excersize commuting which is probably more important than the weight. You are lucky to have a shower at work. I always wondered how people who commute to work on bikes can deal with being soaking in sweat at their desks..
    Take it easy!

  12. #12

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    Cool to hear you are doing well. Great job quitting alcohol, 4 years for me and I quit not because of weight issues but rather for my family. Keep it up and pretty soon you will be to your ideal weight and able to blow by the fastest climbers. Congrats and keep it up.

  13. #13
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    So, I managed to go out for two rides this weekend. Took photos as promised. Was a bit late out on Saturday so most of the photos were too dark to use. Today was much better. There were hardly any clouds in the sky, temperature was about -10 celsius and the air was as still as it gets. Generally just as good as it gets.
    It didn't start out too good as I managed to rip out the valve on my front tire while pumping some air in there (was running lower pressures yesterday to try it out). Spent 15 minutes in the freezing cold (already sweating from the short distance covered by that time) swapping out tubes. I don't recommend doing that!

    1. This is shortly after I leave my house and is on the way to work. Taken yesterday - hence dark. In the back the area for one of my hometown's sport clubs is seen, FH.


    2. About a kilometer further than the last photo this is a path that goes between the town I live in (Hafnarfjordur) and the next one (Gardabaer). It runs through the old lava field between the two towns. Just last week they hadn't cleared the path of snow so it was quite tough to cover.


    3. Just a photo showing my view most of the time on the way to work. Lights, speedometer and the heart monitor (the HR being the single most useful tool, after the bike, for my weight loss).


    4. This photo is taken not far from work - maybe 5 or 10 minutes. The longer route I sometimes take starts just about there. I'm out of town in that area so the pavement is a luxury you can only dream about from there.


    5. Taken only a few hundred meters from the previous photo this is a path that winds through the swamp there. I have often gone on the ice instead of the track since there is usually less snow there. I found out the hard way today that sometimes the ice is not strong enough!


    6. And the last one for now. At this point I'm back into town, just arriving into my home town. There are nice paths all around and the area in the photo is just incredible in weather like this - be it summer or winter it is just a great place to go out waking with your family or friends.


    Rest of the photos from the day can be seen here.

    - tobbi

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by EscourtU
    Cool to hear you are doing well. Great job quitting alcohol, 4 years for me and I quit not because of weight issues but rather for my family. Keep it up and pretty soon you will be to your ideal weight and able to blow by the fastest climbers. Congrats and keep it up.
    Yeah, I didn't quit because of the weight loss really. Mostly because I didn't like where I was heading with that and it could have very easily become a real problem later on. I do however think that this weight loss and change in lifestyle did bring about rethinking my whole life and seeing what I could do better.

    Good luck to you and congrats on the 4 years to you!

    - tobbi

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