The Chainlink

Anyone commute in the winter? Biggest challenge? Necessary gear? Bike maintenance issues?

I am determined to do some commuting this winter.

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August...perfect time to revitalize the Winter threads.
Found this, had to share...

http://www.beardhead.com/index.html
Yikes, winter really isn't that far away. I always joke that bike fall is harder than bike winter b/c of the variable, often cold-wet-windy-raw weather. We'll be celebrating ten years of Bike Winter this season, and I have loads of fleece for a new batch of free gaitors and balaclavas. Also, an updated version of www.bikewinter.org will be unveiled some time this fall.

In the meantime, my best advice is, in September, start packing a bandana or head scarf and thin gloves for those days when the temp plummets into the 50's. Numb ears and fingers have knocked many a cyclist out of the saddle. Also, fenders, other rain gear are very helpful.

Ride on!

Gin
I love this! I will be copying this for my crocheting projects. Beard hats for everyone this winter!
Though technically, isn't it a kind of 'stash hat?


Tiberculosis said:

August...perfect time to revitalize the Winter threads.
Found this, had to share...

http://www.beardhead.com/index.html
please dont depress me, seriously.
It's not depressing, really. Riding in the winter is fun in its own way. I'm actually kind of looking foward to it.

When I am whining in February you can print this and then give me a hard time them.

Julie Hochstadter said:
please dont depress me, seriously.
great advice from many people. it gets me in the mood again for winter biking. i love the solitude and serenity.

my list is comprised from mostly stuff i already had from skiing or just other. i had to buy a clava, ski gloves. it repeats what people are noting, but it's a list:

1. best thing i have is a fleece facemask (clava).

2. layers work awesome. i use a pish-posh of t-shirt (stay-dry), long sleeve, fleece, windbreaker (the same one i use in the summer)

3. gloves: i have a thin pair that keeps me really warm until it gets <32 degrees, then i add winter ski gloves (higher on the wrists) over the thin ones.

4. long johns under some windbreaker pants for those <20 days

5. two layers of socks on <30 days, and sometimes a plasitc bag over my shoes for the wind (haven't bought those shoe booties yet)

6. sunglasses really help. googles for those <10 degree days.

7. lights. it stays dark later in the morning and gets dark early in the evening.

8. say no to slush and snow. the cold doesn't get me. it's the snow and ice that do. (haven't fallen yet though...where's the wood around here?)

9. take a break from it. i biked in the winter 3-5 days out of the week and took a break on the really snowy days. however, those snowy days you think are bad on a bike, can be even worse in a car.

10. i spray it down or wipe it with a damp cloth after a salty ride. i keep it indoors and put a fan on it to dry. and it's nice to splurge mid-winter and get a bike shop to do an overhaul cleaning, like an oil change for your car.

11. it's better than driving most times. you're warm in two minutes, you don't have to walk around in the cold after a warm car ride.

12. you feel like a rock star, eskimo style.

13. it's a great conversation at parties. people love talking about it.

14. one thing to get used to...wet clothes. i'm lucky. my work has a place where i can hang my clothes near a heater/fan. you might have to ask your company about such a situation. i also bring a bag to put those extra clothes in if i don't need them on the warmer ride home.

great topic. good luck, and may the snow be with you.
I have a Nashbar one that was on sale for $50. Haven't heavily used it. It has a few issues/features: lots of pockets, but only the main one is water proof (it's a removable dry-bag) also the rack clips are cheap and have come off the rack too easily - i'm going to change them. I have some zip-lock bags for some smaller stuff.

Julie Hochstadter said:
Does anyone have a recommendation for a water proof pannier that isn't the ortieb? The problem with the orteib (pictured below) is its "bottomless pit" feature. I need a water proof pannier that has a pocket for keys, etc.

It's not so bad, I did all last year except when I was sick, and I stayed in better shape, was happier and saved a lot of time.
You need to check the weather and your clothing every day, I have various layers I can use depending on the conditions: tights/fleece/rain gear, etc. I only can wear a balaclava and other warmest layers when it's super cold: 0 or so.
Even in winter, streets are usually fairly clear most of the time (last winter was an exception.)
It will take more time: more clothing on you, denser air, will slow you down, add 10% or more to your time.
Have fun! I rode thru' a snow storm passing lots of cars (rode on the sidewalk for a lot of it - shh) enjoying the snow in my face.
i have an ortleib, the silver one. it has pockets inside, and doesn't fall over. here's a couple options...

http://www.rei.com/product/768571

rei has a few good options, more than last year.

http://www.rei.com/product/749998


Julie Hochstadter said:
Does anyone have a recommendation for a water proof pannier that isn't the ortieb? The problem with the orteib (pictured below) is its "bottomless pit" feature. I need a water proof pannier that has a pocket for keys, etc.

One thing I had heard about for years but had never done before last December is to run at a very low tire pressure, in my case 15 p.s.i. down from 65. I only do it on snowy/icy days but it makes a big difference. I use my beater mountain bike with grip shift, which helps a lot when I have thick gloves on. Lights, lots of lights. Also last year I got some cheap boots that have no lace holes and are two sizes larger than I wear to have room for extra socks and cold feet have not been a problem since. The more you do it the more you'll learn what works and what doesn't. Commuting in Winter is fun, but I really love mornings around 3:00 or so when no one is out, after or while it's snowing. It's dark, quiet, and peaceful - like another world.
Mark Kenseth said:
i have an ortleib, the silver one. it has pockets inside, and doesn't fall over. here's a couple options...

http://www.rei.com/product/768571



+A lot on this one. I have had it for almost two years. Affordable when bought on sale. I use it daily and it shows minimal wear and tear. I store my blackberry, wallet, multitool, spare batteries and more in the pockets. It's big enough to carry lunch and a change of clothes. Biggest downside is it's drab appearance
Amen to the lower tire pressure. At first I thought "lowering" my tire pressure to 80 psi would do the trick. Uh, no. I now run my tires at between 30 and 40 psi whenever there is a chance of ice. While I hate the lowered rolling resistance, if there is any ice at all the lower psi makes it possible for me to ride the ice. Running lower would probably be better. Baby steps for me.

Amen also to the joy of riding early in the morning when your tracks are the first thing to break the snow.

MM2000 said:
One thing I had heard about for years but had never done before last December is to run at a very low tire pressure, in my case 15 p.s.i. down from 65. I only do it on snowy/icy days but it makes a big difference. I use my beater mountain bike with grip shift, which helps a lot when I have thick gloves on. Lights, lots of lights. Also last year I got some cheap boots that have no lace holes and are two sizes larger than I wear to have room for extra socks and cold feet have not been a problem since. The more you do it the more you'll learn what works and what doesn't. Commuting in Winter is fun, but I really love mornings around 3:00 or so when no one is out, after or while it's snowing. It's dark, quiet, and peaceful - like another world.

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