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Who will/has ridden when it is -13 with wind chill of -40?

How will/have you done it?  I no longer debate with myself whether to ride when it is -1 or -2 and the wind chill is *only* -10 to -15, but I have been debating with myself about Monday and Tuesday riding.  So far the "Are you crazy" side is definitely winning, and I am leaning to waiting until it warms up to -1 on Wednesday before I ride again.

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I am having the same internal debate, Lisa. Thanks for posting this.

When I lived in Lisle I bicycled at -10 degrees, but there was little wind. I did fine. I rode a mountain bike and was covered in gore-tex, well layered and wore duck boots with multiple socks. My hands got cold, but not dangerously. 

Enter a twenty mile per hour wind. That's the kicker. It saps more energy and heat. Plus, I ride a trike, so the duck boots will slow me down more than a two-wheeler (no gravity assist on the downstroke). If I ride I will add ski goggles after blowing the dust off.

At this point I am leaning toward riding Monday and Tuesday. If I am OK after 1 mile I will continue my 6 mile commute. If I am too cold, I will return home, bow my head and take the L in.

This is what is really making me think.  I am pretty sure I could get the clothing down since so far I have kept even hands and feet warm for the three to four miles, but there is no question that the cold takes a lot more energy and slows me down.  I am pretty slow to start out with, so my commute in what is definitely difficult weather will be even longer!


Gene Tenner said:

. . . . Enter a twenty mile per hour wind. That's the kicker. It saps more energy and heat. . . .

I was just about to start this same thread. If I don't do a 30-minute ride, I have a choice between a 2-legged commute, or a 20-minute walk + CTA, so it's not like I'll be warm and toasty either way. I just don't want my face to fall off due to the wind. I'm also concerned that my goggles will get covered with frost. 

It looks like the wind will be from the northwest (here). For me, that means my morning commute won't be bad -it's coming home that will be.

I won't be riding in that weather. But if I really wanted to, I would probably make sure everything's covered, eyes included. It'd also be good to ride along roads with open businesses or buildings just in case you need to get out of the cold. And just be extremely careful.

I think your 1-mile test is a good idea. If you don't already take one, maybe consider bringing a lock just in case you decide you've had enough further along.

Good luck if you do it! :)

I've been planning to ride, since I only have to go 12 minutes on Divvy. We will see...

First off, you are a much better person than I am. I will not be riding my 8.5 mile commute by bike on Monday. I will likely take the bike to the Metra station tough.

Riding in the cold is generally more doable if you ride with the wind. So it may be a case of riding in on Monday morning, then taking the train Monday evening and Tuesday morning (to avoid riding against the wind), then ride your bike home on Tuesday evening, as the wind should have died down by then. (This is my decision when it is is in the low single digits with a strong wind).

Good thread. Yes I am debating as well. I'll wait till Monday morning and make the call then.

I have done it.  I have actually worked outside in those temperatures for long periods of time a lot.

I would not recommend it unless you must.  With the right clothing and preparation you will be OK, maybe a little uncomfortable if out for a long time, but being cold is not necessarily the worst.  For me working in the cold like that always seems to really take it out of me energy wise; I don't like to have to be out in the cold for along time exerting myself and then have to go to work or something like that.  When it is super cold I take the train as much as I can.

I think the four block walk to the subway is sounding pretty good!

notoriousDUG said:

I have done it.  I have actually worked outside in those temperatures for long periods of time a lot.

I would not recommend it unless you must.  With the right clothing and preparation you will be OK, maybe a little uncomfortable if out for a long time, but being cold is not necessarily the worst.  For me working in the cold like that always seems to really take it out of me energy wise; I don't like to have to be out in the cold for along time exerting myself and then have to go to work or something like that.  When it is super cold I take the train as much as I can.

 Why bother? Unless you are being paid to ride your bike what's the point? One of the greatest things about riding a bike is the feeling of freedom. How free are you going to feel with 40 lbs of clothing, goggles, balaclava, two hats and four pairs of gloves? It's just gonna suck and at the end you'll end up hating bike riding and or developing an unhealthy jealousy towards auto drivers in their climate controlled interiors. 

As to the first part--you are probably right.  As to ending up hating bike riding and/or developing jealousy, etc--Nah!  I keep riding when it is cold because I love riding my bike.  When I am in my car with the climate controlled interior, more often than not I am wishing I was on my bike instead of stuck in traffic. Hence the reason I posted in the first place. :-)

Jimmy Baham said:

 Why bother? Unless you are being paid to ride your bike what's the point? One of the greatest things about riding a bike is the feeling of freedom. How free are you going to feel with 40 lbs of clothing, goggles, balaclava, two hats and four pairs of gloves? It's just gonna suck and at the end you'll end up hating bike riding and or developing an unhealthy jealousy towards auto drivers in their climate controlled interiors. 

You don't need all this to ride 4 miles under aforementioned conditions.  Lisa's normal cold weather riding getup will probably do the job. Fingers/Toes/exposed skin will be the biggest challenge, but those are minor problems to solve.  Biggest factor that will determine the unpleasantess gradient will be whether there's a headwind.

I'd do it as long as the side streets were clear and dry.

Although if I had the easy option of driving instead I'd do that.  Which is one of the reasons I don't.



Jimmy Baham said:

 Why bother? Unless you are being paid to ride your bike what's the point? One of the greatest things about riding a bike is the feeling of freedom. How free are you going to feel with 40 lbs of clothing, goggles, balaclava, two hats and four pairs of gloves? It's just gonna suck and at the end you'll end up hating bike riding and or developing an unhealthy jealousy towards auto drivers in their climate controlled interiors. 

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