The weather's a changin
So what do yinz do to prepare for winter for your bike and cargo’s sake, not so much the person(s) on the bike.
Cover your goods? (if it’s snowing)
Is there really “unrideable weather”?
–Studded tires. I like Marathon Winters; 42mm tires with 200+ carbide spikes, running at 60-80 psi, got me through all of last winter with nary a wobble. Or a tube change, more importantly.
–Hose the salt/slush off after each ride.
–Lube the cables and housing pretty heavily, pretty frequently (frozen gear cables are a pain…frozen brake cables are a really unpleasant surprise.)
–Add a space blanket and emergency bivvy sack to the tool kit.
I already have fenders, and carry me goodies in semi-waterproof panniers, so no need for changes there.
And, while it’s not unrideable, I tend to wuss out in sleet and freezing rain. Hypothermia and ice are a bad combination.
Studded tires make a difference. I didn’t ride with for years, then after having to deal with the often-icy Hot Metal Bridge and Junction Hollow Trail, I dropped the money for a good set. I put them on for the first snow, and leave them on ’til spring. Yes, it slows me down a bit when it’s dry, but I’m riding my stuff-laden commuter, so speed isn’t exactly important.
If you don’t have full mudguards, now is also the time to get some.
–Add a space blanket and emergency bivvy sack to the tool kit.
Dude, how long is your commute?
“Paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s comin’ to get me…”
“Be prepared, that’s the Boy Scouts’ marching creed! Be prepared, and be clean in word and deed!”
I just walk to work instead of biking once the weather gets really nasty. It takes 45 minutes vs. 15, but it’s through the park and I listen to books or language tapes.
I’d just be miserable anyway in all that snow, ice, slush and freezing air. The walk is actually kind of pleasant.
this will be my first winter riding as I didnt start commuting by bike until early march of last year.. I am planning on switching form my road bike to my hybrid and putting studded tires on it. Fenders are a must. I would also recommend some water resistant pants and rain cape or coat, not to mention good gloves.
+1 on good gloves.
To expand on the clothing theme, think layers (easy to adjust your temp, as difference between morning and afternoon commute may easily be 20 degrees F.) I find that a decent rain jacket, long-sleeved wool base layer, and short sleeved wool base layer, will keep me comfy down into the low 30s, but can be pared down as necessary for a “warm” commute in the 40s or 50s on the way home.
Wool is good too, as it’ll keep ya comfy even if it gets wet with sweat or slush. Staying dry is tough…staying warm while damp isn’t so hard.
And more on clothing…if your commute is reasonably long (i.e. longer than a flat 2 miles) you might want to be a tad chilly when you walk out the door. If you’re warm before you pedal a stroke, you’ll be too hot by the time you get to where you’re going.
Don’t laugh at me for asking, but…
Studded tires: For mountains/hybrids only? Unless there’s some wonderful news I’m missing, I think my road bike can’t take any thicker/treadier tires than it has.
I’ve been thinking of heading to free-ride to make a mountain commuter for the winter.
Dan, where do you get your wool? About six weeks ago I started doing a partial bike commute (10 mile drive up to the park and ride in Portersville, 14 mile bike up to The Rock). I stopped doing it about a week ago because it’s been so cold, but now I just feel like a corpse all day since I’m not getting the exercise in the morning. If I could find the right base layers I could probably keep this going for most of the winter.
I’ve got baselayers ordered directly from Minus33, a jersey, socks and glove liners from Smartwool via REI, and a long-sleeved jersey ordered direct from Icebreaker. The only garment with which I was disappointed was the Smartwool jersey; too flimsy, and developed holes after only a few months of regular use.
Spendy, but wool seems to last well for years, even when subjected to my corrosive sweat.
my layers that are good to about 20-25 deg are a a) long sleeve tshirt, b) a short sleeve tshirt, c) a hoodie, sweater, or fleece pullover, and d) a windbreaker.
I am usually chilly for the first 5 mins, then dripping sweat by the time I get to work. I find that I am too hot if I wear my wool when its abovet 20 degrees.
What do y’uns do about freezy bits like ears, fingers, etc.? I’ve been making do with a headband over the ears and then jam my helmet over it. It works but isn’t real comfortable. My fingers freeze below about 20F unless I add a pair of socks over them as windbreakers. This too is functional, but not real comfortable.
I really like the foldover glove/mitten combos, with maybe a glove liner underneath in the colder weather. A key feature is that I can get the dexterity to manipulate keys, etc, without the trouble and loss of warmth of pulling off a heavy glove.
Yeah, you can get skinny studs–32-35. Keep in mind they are a bit taller than similarly-sized tires, so fender clearance could be an issue.
The most awesome thing about wool is that you can wash it every two weeks or so (if it’s lucky). Also, multiple layers of thin stuff is better. Patagucci is currently blowing out their stock of wool, so it’s actually reasonably priced. Minus33 is also quite good. Ibex is really sweet, but really expensive.
For my head, I have a wool “Belgian” hat that I augment with an ear band thing when it’s really cold. I really hate having stuff on my face, but will wear a balaclava when it’s really frickin’ cold.
The $10 wool gloves that REI sells are also really swell. I put lobster claw shells over them when the temps dip below 15.
I’m allergic to wool.
Winter comes, I carry an entire goodwill store of silks, rayons, and cashmeres with me.
I have a double extra large set of scrub bottoms that I can pull on over my trousers.
Silk pajama bottoms add a little bit of warmth, great wicking, and almost no bulk.
I always have an extra pair of gloves and extra hat in the bottom of my pack. This is often in addition to the 2 or 3 I might have on.
I found some glare ice on Millvale last year, coming down from Liberty. I hit the brakes. I went right down. The only thing that saved my ass was that I was doing my pillsbury doughboy imitation, so I was well-padded.
The thing about glare ice on a hill is that you’re like the coyote running off the cliff – you just keep going blissfully along after you’ve left solid ground.
A few years ago, I think there must have been frozen rain while I was at work.
I was going down the gentle slope of Elmer Street east toward to Negley. In a kind of controlled fashion, I put on my brakes, then put down a foot, then set the bike and me down in the street. No deceleration at all.
I slid another 12 or 15 feet, grooving along comfortably, but in despair, at about 8 or 9 miles an hour. I went onto the edge of Negley and was just lucky there was no car coming.
When I walked back roughly the way I came, I found out there were whole blocks I had ridden that were so slick that I could barely keep balance using my bike as a walker.
I guess I need to get some studded tires.
Done that. On Hazelwood Ave. Wearing nylon rain pants and a rain jacket. At least two, maybe three cars crashed behind me. Ambulances came, and police. I skipped straight from studded tires to PAT busses.
This thread is very much like the other “warm clothes” thread, to which I added:
I rode every day last winter in a jeans, hoodie, windbreaker, and gloves ( and beard ). For me the only things that really get cold are my hands. I tried a few “winter” cycling gloves that were ok until it got below 20 and wet but I still had to stop every few miles and get them under my armpits for a few minutes. This year I just went and got skiing gloves and I suggest you do the same.
Also, plus 2 on the space blanket, I also carry a flint and tinderbox pretty much everywhere I go. You never know when you are going to lose it, crash into a ravine, get your cell phone wet, and break both your hips in the park in the winter. Could happen
* Stu –
Posted 2 days ago
What do y’uns do about freezy bits like ears, fingers, etc.?
*get a hoodie and put the cinched hood under your helmet. More than enough till you get going and build up some heat
seems like two threads are getting confused.
This one is about your bike and it’s cargo.
This one is for how to keep yourself warm http://bike-pgh.org/bbpress/topic/warmology#post-22497
I dig all the tips. My main concern is my bike not being able to handle some “black ice” or what not. I’ve been meaning (needing) to get fenders for a while now. I also have “water resistant” bags, so they should be fine. Probly end up walking on snowy/icey days. Its really interesting to see how many of us brave it no matter what and some [are like me and] find another way.
I’m not big into winterizing. I rode all last winter from South Oakland to the South Side for work in the morning, then to Pitt for class in the evening, then back to South Oakland at night, On those Goodyear 700x25s from REI. Aside from cleaning the chain every night, I had very few problems.
I test-drove a Trek Soho this weekend. Belt drive! Sweet, sweet, smooth quiet ride. I so badly want one for the winter.
900 smackers!! Ow. I hate the color. And the lousy handlebars. And the lack of lights. And the drum brake on the front so I can’t put my generator hub on it. Phooey, I didn’t really want one anyway. *mutter*
Joe, did you take the Hot Metal Bridge at all? Many days last winter it was completely unrideable, thanks to freeze-thaw-freeze cycles that left the deck surface an icy, rutted mess.
Cold Metal, every day. The worst part is the T-intersection at the end of the pedestrian bridge, with the big metal sheets. Even in light rain those metal sheets are SLICK!
There were a couple days last winter when it was pretty treacherous, and I did fall many times, but you just have to take it slow and easy. After all, it’s better than the alternative (driving).
You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.