Anyone commute to work through the winter?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Anyone commute to work through the winter?

    Just curious. I'm starting to ride my bike to work (as you can see in my other thread), and wondering about the possibilities of doing it rain/shine/snow, all year round. Wondering how it is for you, and how it is riding in the winter, in the wee hours of the morning, say 6am, before the sun has come up. Dress? Studded tires? Just curious.
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  2. #2
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    Yes some people do.

    I prefer to take off work and commute to vegas to ride my bike where my eyeballs don't freeze into the sockets and become unable to move. Some people do, but its pretty freaking miserable.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalfaraway
    I prefer to take off work and commute to vegas to ride my bike where my eyeballs don't freeze into the sockets and become unable to move. Some people do, but its pretty freaking miserable.
    Lol, very nice. I agree. Only reason I started thinking about it was I found this little thread dedicated to it: bikeforums.net

    Those people are all pretty gung ho about it, but I'm curious how Utahan's really are about it. Thanks for your input!
    I need it up, you need it down. You don't see me complaining when you leave it down.

  4. #4
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    Yep

    ...well, more or less. The cold doesn't stop me but if it is actually snowing hard or the roads are slick from the night before I'll drive. Cars sliding around on the road and/or through stop signs/lights don't excite me when it's just me and nothing between us. Otherwise, I'm generally on the bike. My commute is fairly short though, about 20 minutes each way. I'm generally riding in the 6:00 a.m. hour, less traffic and I get to work between 6:30 and 7:00. For clothing I have a thin "beanie" that goes under my helmet to keep ears and head warm, a sweatshirt over a regular shirt and underneath a bright yellow cycling rain jacket, and some Novara full finger "winter" cycling gloves. This works fine for me even when the temps dip into the single digits, but again, I'm only out about 20 minutes. The rain jacket/sweatshirt in particular works quite well, probably because the rain jacket doesn't breathe and the sweatshirt provides the insulation. If my commute was much longer, I would look at better gloves ( I might try some Pearl Izumi's this year) and something for the feet, legs, and face. The nice thing about commuting year round is that you'll get a feel for when it's too cold for your current set up and then you can look at what else you'll need.

    I use a mountain bike with regular mountain bike tires. They seem to pick up less glass/debris/goatheads than a slick tire. Also nicer if your commute takes you through any construction areas, mud, train tracks, etc. I have a rack and panniers attached so I can carry everything I need plus a bunch of stuff I don't.

    Pretty long winded I know, but I've been doing it for a few years, have a good idea at least what works for me.

  5. #5
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    Very good info, thanks! I agree with you. I'm thinking I'll ride through the winter only on the days where the roads are dry, and there is no precipitation. Snow, slush, and ice on the roads just don't seem fun to me. And I'm thinking definitely not while it's snowing. Course, you go to work on a nice sunny morning, only too get out of work and see a blizzard. Yikes!

    My commute will only be about 30 minutes. Thanks again.
    I need it up, you need it down. You don't see me complaining when you leave it down.

  6. #6
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    ya

    I commuted most of last winter on my bike (40 min each way)..I have 2 friends that ride about 3 times as far as I in the winter also..Its amazing that throughout the winter there really were only a hand full of times where the roads were to wet making it dangerous. I definitly would use a road tire that has some knobs for the gravel. It is dark pretty much the whole way for me so it makes it nice to not have to worry so much about the road surface. I never found a need for studs..I have those same novara winter gloves. THey rock. A thin under the helmet beanie, and some long lycra and you should be set. It really doesnt get all tht cold here in the winter..Mostly in the 30's at 6 AM..

  7. #7
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    I was a messenger in SLC and after I got a job at a bike shop commuted to work year round, (Except during that nasty snow storm when the streets were shut down then I had to run...stupid snow). #1 Repeat after me..Sealskins! No not from real seals (although if you ask an eskimo they're probably pretty warm and dry too) but from Danalco.com. They make gloves and socks that are the best thing every for cold wet conditions. The socks are not meant to be worn alone so pick a good sport wool sock like smart wools and your feet will be warm and dry no matter what. Same with the gloves. Waterproof and highly wind resistant to boot. Go a size up on the socks and the gloves if you want to wear a liner under them (Always go up a size for the socks but it's optional for the gloves.) Thats the best tip I can give and one of the best you'll get.
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  8. #8
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    Yep - every day. And I resent it when business requires that I drive a car for the day. But, my commute is only 3 miles, and it's usually not too bad. I've got snow tires, after all. I did wish I had worn goggles the day it was sleeting sideways though. You'll end up in the dark either morning or evening, or both, so you really need lights. And appropriate clothes. Carry on.

  9. #9
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    Good responses, all of them. I think I'm going to do it. I just picked up a few items of clothing tonight. I still need a bunch to get ready though, a mid-layer for my torso, some gloves, a balaclava, some tights and wind-pants, and windbreaker.
    I need it up, you need it down. You don't see me complaining when you leave it down.

  10. #10
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    greetings from alaska...i used to live in slc/moab a loooonnng time ago and was just checking out the utah forum. i suggest you take a look at the alaska forum, and then go to http://www.wildfirecycles.com/fatbikes.html. as for clothing, i would also add 180s earmuffs and pogies(oversized mitten like things that go over and around the handlebar grips/shifters/brake levers).

  11. #11
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    Winter Ride

    I ride all 4 seasons. I used to ride in the mornings, but switched to after-work rides because temperatures in the evening are warmer than morning rides.

    The following, however, is a description of how I would ride 16 miles (i.e. 1 hour of exposure) during the months of December, January and February in Utah's Hobble Creek Canyon.

    Assuming 1 hour bike ride with outside temperature between 5 and 15 degrees F...

    * Two long-john thermal underwear.
    * One long-john thermal top.
    * Two Smart Wool Expedition socks.
    * Perl Izumi Am-Fib tights.
    * Cycling shoes covered by 1 pair of Sugoi water-proof shoe covers(They also provide wind protection).
    * Patagonia base layer shirt (goes over the thermal long john top)
    * Marmot mid-layer shirt
    * Descent Shelter Jacket
    * Outdoor Research Balaclava
    * Mountain Hardware Power Stretch Glove (acting as an inner-liner)
    * Gore Bike Wear Gortex Glove (outer glove - waterproof, windproof)
    * Smith Glasses (removable lens) - Must use "No Fog Cloth" on the lenses.
    * Louis Garneau Helmet.

    * Give yourself 10 minutes to get into and out of the gear described above.

    * 22 oz. Water bottle filled with the hottest water your water heater can send out of the tap.
    At the 20 minute mark, in the temperatures described above, water in the water bottle begins to crystallize.

    At the 45 minute mark, you'll notice that your bike will begin to resist changing gears. I found in these very cold temperatures that Tri-Flow and Epic White Lightening worked.

    If you add up the amount of money you'll pay to put on the gear I've listed above, you'll be shocked at how expensive it can be to ride in those temperatures, but if you're like me, you just can't stop riding!

    I use Nokon cabling (from Germany, I think) to shield my cables from slush and cable freeze-ups.

    I do NOT ride in snow storms (can't see anything), nor do I ride on top of the snow or ice. I'll only ride if the road has been plowed.

    Usually, the trails I rode during the other 3 seasons, are buried under snow, so I'm on the road during the winter. That's ok, 'cause I just love to ride.

    Hope that helps!
    "It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." - Sir Edmund Hillary (Summits Mt. Everest, 29,035 feet - May 29, 1953)

  12. #12
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    Thanks, it does help. More good info. IF, and that's a big IF, I end up riding through the winter, it will only be on days when the roads have been melted through and the cement is clear. I don't plan on riding when there is ANY ice or snow on the road. Not only for safety, but because if the roads are melted, that also means the temperature is a bit higher. I don't know if I could do a ride that is so cold that my bike stops responding properly! My ride is usually between 35-40 minutes. I dunno, I'll keep riding through the fall, and if I can accumulate some decent winter clothes, I'll try it out. I guess I'll just keep riding till i get too freaking cold!
    I need it up, you need it down. You don't see me complaining when you leave it down.

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