The Chainlink

What did you learn about riding in the cold and snow this winter?

I learned the power of air pockets. My base layers have always been close to the skin, but I discovered that loose fitting layers over those provide pockets of air that mean extra warmth ... everyhwere: a quarter-inch air pocket at the end of my fingers, an oversized pair shoes or boots, baggy pants and a loose jacket.

I also discovered that an even stroke (push-pull) gets you through deeper snow better than an uneven (push-push) stroke.

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I learned that biking down to -15F isn't nearly as bad one might think with the right gear. However, I still need to figure out the magic formula for keeping eyeglasses fog-free (maybe some ski goggles with the little fans in them).

Also, I discovered there is tremendous amount of fun to be had making fresh tracks in the snow at 4:15am before the plows and cars get to it. ;-)

I learned that i needed to buy more layers. Good layers.

Also, i really hate trainers.

I learned that you can't tip a Divvy.

3" of snow? No problem. 5" of slush? No problem.

It's big, wildly bottom-heavy and pretty much equipped with fatty tires, but during snow season that's a huge plus.

I learned that the Cat Crap people talk about as an anti-fog method is a brand-name product. Rubbing actual cat crap on my lenses made it impossible to see. Plus, I got chased by dogs.

I re-learned that fenders are necessary. No question. Knobbies are better than slicks and sometimes you just have to walk. The weather didn't really phase me, i just ended up wearing Ski-pants. I re-learned that chains need to be dried, de-crudded and lubed for them to make it to spring. For the 4th winter in a row I needed a new chain. In a nod to @David Beazley, yes being the 1st to make a track in the snow is freaking awesome! Oh, and a full better is better than an empty belly that makes me shiver. I need fuel for the furnace.

This was my third winter.  Rode through the cold snaps and learned to take advantage of the stoplights.  When your core temp is up and your hands are still cold put them down at your side to let some blood get down there while you wait for the green light.  I felt it really helped me stay warm all over.  Be careful not to work so hard as to start sweating.  The sweat can keep you cold if you're making multiple stops on your ride.  Running errands for instance.    

Schwalbe makes a great studded tire that I used for the first time this winter.  The spikes are more towards the edge of the tread so you can give them more or less contact with the road by decreasing or increasing the air pressure.  When there's no snow pump them up and the studs dont hit the road.

http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/road_tires/snow_stud

Reflective tape is also great for helmets and fenders to be seen in the darkness of winter. $5 bucks for a yard of it at home depot or you can find it online for cheap as well.   

Stay on top of your brake maintenance!  

Good thing I did not have anything in my mouth when I read this one!  The computer would have been a mess.  Thanks for the laugh of the day.

Nançois 8.5 said:

I learned that the Cat Crap people talk about as an anti-fog method is a brand-name product. Rubbing actual cat crap on my lenses made it impossible to see. Plus, I got chased by dogs.

This most closely resembles my own takeaway.... my motivation to advocate for year-round cycling has been pretty much quashed by the city's pathetic management this past winter.
 
Rich S said:

That the city won't be as good at removing snow and salting streets as they have been in the past.

In the words of Mater the tow truck from Cars "to not to"

I have learned that even a single speed freewheel can fail in temperatures below -5.

After riding daily for my - 8th? - winter, this year I learned that I'm a badass when it's -15° in December and January and I am total wuss when it's under 30° in April. 

+1

Lisa Curcio 4.1 mi said:

Good thing I did not have anything in my mouth when I read this one!  The computer would have been a mess.  Thanks for the laugh of the day.

Nançois 8.5 said:

I learned that the Cat Crap people talk about as an anti-fog method is a brand-name product. Rubbing actual cat crap on my lenses made it impossible to see. Plus, I got chased by dogs.

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