Riding into the Deep Cold

After a month of freakishly warm weather, Winter has returned and it is determined to make up for lost time. The report above shows the conditions for my ride home from work this evening. On  Monday, last week, the daytime high was +10C. We all knew it couldn’t last. I have already had the dubious pleasure of setting a new personal record for low temperature cycling. My previous record was -29C on March 1st of 2011. This morning on the way to work it was -30C with the windchill making it -36C. If  I cycle tomorrow morning I will likely break that record again. Wheee!

This is actually not as bad as it sounds. With proper preparation cycling in the deep cold  not as difficult as it may seem. Despite the temperatures, I have been toasty warm during my riding the past two days. My experiences last winter taught me what clothing is appropriate under these conditions and I having been paying keen attention to  weather report.  I am also pleased to report that I have solved the problems with my glasses fogging. This is largely due to the DIY cold weather cycling respirator that I finished cobbling together this weekend. There will be more about this in my next blog post. If I have one real complaint about low temperature riding it is the length of time that it takes to get dressed for a trip.

My bike has been acquitting itself well so far. There has been no repeat of the frozen freehub problems I experienced last year. I believe this is because of the oil I lubricated  it with in preparation for winter. The rear derailleur has been a bit sluggish shifting down onto smaller cogs but has continued to function. The front derailleur is a cheap unbranded mystery component that came with the bike and it has always worked flawlessly.

I am not alone on the trails and roads. On each each trip I have spotted other cyclists. What was once unthinkable is becoming more common. I ask you, is it really any more crazy than strapping pair of sticks your feet and racing down a mountain?

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8 thoughts on “Riding into the Deep Cold

  1. I’ll pass along a tip I learned in the Army which you no doubt already know: if you bring your equipment (in this case, your bike) out of the cold and into the warm air of a house or garage, it will “sweat.” This condensation will then freeze when you bring the bike back into the cold. It will also rust your bike if you leave it in warmer temps. So keep your bike in temps as close as possible to the outside air. Just a thought from a relatively warm Yank.

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    • Thanks for the tip. I figured that one out last winter. Normally my bike is stored in my unheated garage and outside at work. However, when I brought it into the warmth to do some mechanical work and later rode it I experienced exactly the problems you mention.

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  2. I look forward to seeing your cold weather respirator as I wear entry level single lens ski goggles that seem to fog up no matter what I do and I’m guessing that copying your solution would be cheaper than buying a good quality ski goggle.

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    • I had the same problem. I’m using a $20.00 pair of ski goggles from MEC and the respirator has been working very well the past few days. If you have the materials on hand it is a cheap project.

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  3. I’ve put winter cycling in the context of snowboarding when people ask me about it and I’ve found for some people it really clicks and puts them in the “hey maybe I could try that” frame of thought as opposed to the usual “that’s crazy!”.

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