Author Topic: Cycling in Snow  (Read 16201 times)

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Offline PoisonID

Re: Cycling in Snow
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2009, 06:10:27 am »
You have to protect yourself from the wind. Do not use Gore-Tex, it condenses on the inside and freezes. A soft shell jacket and trousers, and two, maybe three layers underneath. I use wool. Contrary to fleece it keeps me warm also when wet. You'll need a balaclava under you helmet, and a pair of spacious shoes, w enough room for two layers of wool socks. Your feet will be the coldest part of your body when you bike, as they don't move at all. And gloves, of course. Your skiing or thick leather winter gloves will do, unless it gets really cold. In that case I would consider lobster gloves that are particularly designed for winter cycling.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Cycling in Snow
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2009, 08:25:42 pm »
Your feet will be the coldest part of your body when you bike, as they don't move at all.
After years of frozen feet, I think I finally solved the problem.  I buy those cheapo little chemical hand/feet warmer packs you just expose to air and they warm up.  I now put one on top of the toes either inside or on top of the sock, depending on the temperature.  It makes a huge difference.  A pair costs about a buck.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Cycling in Snow
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2009, 05:38:53 pm »
It's dangerous to cycle in snow but
some does it. So how do you cycle in snow?
  • Studded tires, namely Nokian, although there are other good brands.
  • Disc brakes with sintered ceramic pads.  Stock/OEM pads get destroyed in short order.  When I lived in Vermont, OEM disc pads would last maybe seven weeks.  I haven't replaced a set of sintered ceramic pads yet and still have the same braking power.
  • Full coverage fenders
As others have said, falling is a matter of when, not if.  Knowing how to take a fall makes bruises about the worst you'll experience while riding in the snow.
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Offline FrankenTank

Re: Cycling in Snow
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2009, 10:33:25 am »
do you have to wear special clothes?

I can't say I have a whole lot of experience (started cycling 6 months ago or 4000km) and temperatures have just started to drop here (Manitoba, Canada), but yesterday after biking for about 45 min in around -10 C, when I got home, I noticed my mid-section was very cold/numb.  Scary.

Are there any opinions on riding a fixed gear in cold conditions (-30 C and lower)?  On the one hand, the continuously spinning pedals wouldn't allow the rider to put their feet down to make a turn, but on the other hand, I've heard from local fixed gear riders that that type of bike is preferable in very cold conditions, as there are fewer parts to fail on you.  For example, a friend with a newish cross bike was unable to shift properly (brake shifter combo style) in only -10 C.  I also hear that a fixed gear allows one to feel the icy or snowy road conditions through the pedals and one can adjust their riding accordingly.  I'm planning on building another bike soon.  What kind I'm not sure.  Suggestions would be appreciated.

Offline PoisonID

Re: Cycling in Snow
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2009, 05:08:00 pm »
" ...when I got home, I noticed my mid-section was very cold/numb.  Scary."

I would not worry too much about it, I've had that for many years now. As I've mentioned above, pure wool is always the best inner layers for winter cycling, as it keeps you warm when wet. Some time ago I bought myself a pure wool boxer short, that helped. I haven't looked further into the matter, but I believe that you could find possible solutions in those shops that specializes in clothes for people with rheumatic problems - I've seen battery-heated jackets and trousers, as well as soles for your shoes. Well assorted bike/sport shops should also be aware of the problem.

Another way of coping with this is actually to gain weight during the winter. Fat acts as a protective layer against cold. All those munchies during dark winter months is actually your body attempting to adapt to the climate. Just look at the chunky shape of the Inuits, Mongolians or Siberians.

"Are there any opinions on riding a fixed gear in cold conditions (-30 C and lower)?  On the one hand, the continuously spinning pedals wouldn't allow the rider to put their feet down to make a turn, but on the other hand, I've heard from local fixed gear riders that that type of bike is preferable in very cold conditions, as there are fewer parts to fail on you.  For example, a friend with a newish cross bike was unable to shift properly (brake shifter combo style) in only -10 C."

Even though I have never used a singlespeed during the wintertime, it sounds very right to me. With that cold, it does not take more than a few drops of water at the right place on my derailleur before it becomes difficult to shift properly. For instance, leaving the bike indoors so that the snow melts but not long enough to dry up again before taking it out, will pose a problem.

A singlespeed will also save you the trouble that you face when commuting long distances in a lot of snow - the snow has a tendency to pack itself around the derailleur and sometimes make the movement of parts difficult. Just keep in mind that the salty sludge on the street also eats up expensive fixed hubs ...  ;)    
« Last Edit: December 01, 2009, 06:19:14 pm by PoisonID »

Offline FrankenTank

Re: Cycling in Snow
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2009, 12:42:09 pm »
"As I've mentioned above, pure wool is always the best inner layers for winter cycling, as it keeps you warm when wet. Some time ago I bought myself a pure wool boxer short, that helped."

I couldn't agree more.  Wool rocks.  'There is no bad weather, just bad clothing'.  The same could be said for bike equipment and components.

"Another way of coping with this is actually to gain weight during the winter. Fat acts as a protective layer against cold."


I'm waaay ahead of you.  ;)   Or I would be if I wasn't continuing to loose weight since biking.  Even bacon, sausages, cooking in lard, eating before bed, etc., doesn't seem to help me to stop loosing weight.  Guaranteed I'll keep trying.

"With that cold, it does not take more than a few drops of water at the right place on my derailleur before it becomes difficult to shift properly.  For instance, leaving the bike indoors so that the snow melts but not long enough to dry up again before taking it out, will pose a problem."

It isn't practical for me to bring the bike indoors.  And while my frame is one that had ‘been-in-the-garage-for-15 years’ and the new parts are fairly cheap ones, it is still a precious bike to me.  I wonder what measures one could take to prevent the disintegration of their bike with the absence of water.  I plan on squirting motor oil over the moving parts and wiping the frame down with an oily rag.  Or will this just collect more sand and salt?

“Just keep in mind that the salty sludge on the street also eats up expensive fixed hubs ...”

I just found out there is a fair chance I’ll get a hold of an old-timer’s 1946 track bike – maybe 3 of them.  They wouldn't see much salt.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Cycling in Snow
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2009, 10:36:43 am »
It's dangerous to cycle in snow but
some does it. So how do you cycle in snow?

One word: Tricycle.

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