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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I started my ride yesterday it warmed up to a balmy 25 degrees. On the way out I visited my neighbor whose pipes were frozen. He had the plumber out and they had done a lot of digging and had put the pipe thawer on the pipes. It puts out 300 amps at 6 volts, not sure if it can kill you but it can heat up the pipes. Of course I thought how dumb, you need to leave your water running.

I finished my ride which was fairly level but had 1000 feet of climbing and the temp had dropped to 20. (I love that altimeter). As I pulled in I saw a pipe had burst next to the house I spent the next hour learning that the City's new tamper proof meter covers are ####bs and that I dont know quite enough about plumbing. (The knowledge of thawing pipes and fixing broken frozen pipes is "negative knowlege") My wife reminded me what sort of idiot would not shut the outside water off during freezing weather. I repaired the pipe but still havent shut it off so now I am hoping it holds until it warms up.

Ok so how cold is too cold? My limit is 15 degrees because at that temp my shoes wont keep me warm and I would probably need to buy more gear to go to colder riding.
PS-It only got to -2 last night in Cle Elum.
 

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borregokid said:
Before I started my ride yesterday it warmed up to a balmy 25 degrees. On the way out I visited my neighbor whose pipes were frozen. He had the plumber out and they had done a lot of digging and had put the pipe thawer on the pipes. It puts out 300 amps at 6 volts, not sure if it can kill you but it can heat up the pipes. Of course I thought how dumb, you need to leave your water running.

I finished my ride which was fairly level but had 1000 feet of climbing and the temp had dropped to 20. (I love that altimeter). As I pulled in I saw a pipe had burst next to the house I spent the next hour learning that the City's new tamper proof meter covers are ####bs and that I dont know quite enough about plumbing. (The knowledge of thawing pipes and fixing broken frozen pipes is "negative knowlege") My wife reminded me what sort of idiot would not shut the outside water off during freezing weather. I repaired the pipe but still havent shut it off so now I am hoping it holds until it warms up.

Ok so how cold is too cold? My limit is 15 degrees because at that temp my shoes wont keep me warm and I would probably need to buy more gear to go to colder riding.
PS-It only got to -2 last night in Cle Elum.
It was zero when I left the house yestarday morning, and warmed up to 1 F by the time I got to my destination. Only my hands were cold during the 45 minute, 7-mile (yes it was slow) commute. Last night, I picked up
these gloves at REI, and I'm hoping they'll be warmer than my PI AmFibs. We'll see. I don't think it'll ever get too cold to ride here in Spokane. I have no experience below -5 F, but I hear bike parts start to fail at -40F (see Mike Curiaks artical in Dirt Rag)...too cold for me anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Although not record cold it has been colder than normal since the end of October. For the month of November the average temp here was 35 degrees. This month so far the average temperature has been 21 degrees. There is a chance it might thaw out a little at the end of this week.

I have just been using regular heavy duty ski gloves for the real cold weather. Yesterday when I came home I took them off out in the snow and my neighbors dog took one of them and ran down the street. Fortunately I was able to find it. Might be another reason you see single gloves alongside the road.
 

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For me.....

Well, for me, it seems that the high teens are about all I can tolerate. With that said, I'm on the West side and don't have to deal with really cold temps often and my clothing is geared towards the warmer climates over here. If it were cold for a chunk of the year, I'd invest in some winter boots (like the Lake or Sidi's), a warmer jacket, a balaclava and more tights......

We did a night ride on Thursday that was in the mid-20's and as long as we were moving, I was perfectly cozy. A buddy was having issues with his rear wheel/tire (still hasn't figured out the culprit) and had several flats. When we stopped to fix his tube(s), my toes were starting to get cold, but that's expected in those temps.

Chers,
EB
 

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25 degrees?

Don't know. I don't bike from November to March when the snow comes. ;)


Cold and dry again up at the pass.
Skier's right of Internationale was windblown smooth and awesome! So was the middle of the bowl on Lower I.
 

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34 degrees and Suuny at Tolt Today

The sun sure helps on these cold rides. Tommorow night should be colder and hopefully dry too. Coldest for me was 25 degrees a couple of years ago at Tolt with a light dusting of snow on the ground. As long as I stay warm I would go out if it was less than 25. Had 3 other riders with me today and saw quite a few more.

I sure do not like riding in the rain though, give me 25 and sunny anyday but 40 and a downpour--blah!

d (snuck a ride in between family events) b
 

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mtn biker in a city
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tolt?

that wouldnt be tolt hill out by carnation would it? i ride out there once a week. i have a good buddy who lives on ames lake so i think we're hitting the same trails, but i might be coming at them form the back side. you see the cougar yet?

i can never keep my feet warm, ive tried 2x pair of smartwool socks, a light pair and smartwools, seal skin socks, tight shoes, loose shoes. i have some poor circulation in my feet, theyre always cold. i think it could be from years of wearing sandals year round.
 

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Yep, same place!

Tolt McDonald Park in Carnation. I have not seen a cougar yet but I have seen the hammer man. Starting from park gives one a great workout with a 500 foot climb in 1 mile.

I have had some luck so far keeping the feet warm. I wear heavyweight Smartwool socks, Shimano winter riding shoes with neoprene toe covers duct taped on. Worked out well but I would love some of those Lake winter shoes, they look quite warm and dry.

db

kreger said:
that wouldnt be tolt hill out by carnation would it? i ride out there once a week. i have a good buddy who lives on ames lake so i think we're hitting the same trails, but i might be coming at them form the back side. you see the cougar yet?

i can never keep my feet warm, ive tried 2x pair of smartwool socks, a light pair and smartwools, seal skin socks, tight shoes, loose shoes. i have some poor circulation in my feet, theyre always cold. i think it could be from years of wearing sandals year round.
 

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Mtn Mike said:
and I'm hoping they'll be warmer than my PI AmFibs. .
The PI amfibs are meant to be worn with 2 layers in super cold weather... You put a base layer PI glove on underneath...

Today I did 5 hour road ride in mostly 35-40 degrees.... Doesn't get much colder than that in bellingham.

We rode up into the mountains where there was still snow on the ground and everyones driveway was pure ice (roads fully clear) and in the shade it was so cold I got a headache... So it was pretty cold but not too cold...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
On the shoe issue I bought the Answer Kashmir Winter shoe at AE Bike for $108. It has the same english made Pittards Leather as the Lake and similar sole. It lacks the Thinsulate insulation of the Lake and has thin neoprene. With two pairs of wool socks they keep your feet warm to 15 degrees. It would be a perfect west side shoe since chances are you would be biking below 15. The Lake 301 with the same wool sock set up probably would go much colder. They however cost about $160.
 

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Use the old skool skiing trick and pop a couple aspirin before the ride. It will thin your blood a little and thus help increase the blood flow to your feet.

And, don't crank down too hard on your instep as there's a vein there that's easy to pinch which will also start making your feet cold.

One thing some people don't think about during the winter is mixing up the ride with more short ups and downs instead of a long climb and a long descent. It's really tough to keep the toes cold when you're coasting down for a long time.
 

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borregokid said:
It would be a perfect west side shoe since chances are you would be biking below 15. The Lake 301 with the same wool sock set up probably would go much colder. They however cost about $160.
Problem with 'winter' shoes on the west side is that EVERYTHING gets wet sooner or later, so all that soggy insulation does nothing. Best recipe I've found (and my feet get cold QUICK) is by layers: thin wool socks + Seal Skinz + roomy non-mesh shoes (which dry out quick later) + Side Tracker booties. Some combination thereof usually does the trick, though lately I've been leaving out the Seal Skinz (for more toe movement) and relying more on the booties (as mud flaps). It's certainly as insulating as any winter-specific shoe but a lot more flexible and effective in the long run, I think. It's all about how long you can keep dem feets dry and dose toes a-wigglin'. And perspiration on the east side is no doubt just as much of a hazard as puddles are over here.

But ultimately there really is no magic bullet so far as feet and hands are concerned, in my experience. Sometimes it's just better to keep other things slightly over-warm to prevent blood being shunted from the extremeties prematurely. Then it's just a matter of how long you can keep pedaling and how well you can time making it back to the truck. ;-)
 

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borregokid said:
Before I started my ride yesterday it warmed up to a balmy 25 degrees. On the way out I visited my neighbor whose pipes were frozen. He had the plumber out and they had done a lot of digging and had put the pipe thawer on the pipes. It puts out 300 amps at 6 volts, not sure if it can kill you but it can heat up the pipes. Of course I thought how dumb, you need to leave your water running.

I finished my ride which was fairly level but had 1000 feet of climbing and the temp had dropped to 20. (I love that altimeter). As I pulled in I saw a pipe had burst next to the house I spent the next hour learning that the City's new tamper proof meter covers are ####bs and that I dont know quite enough about plumbing. (The knowledge of thawing pipes and fixing broken frozen pipes is "negative knowlege") My wife reminded me what sort of idiot would not shut the outside water off during freezing weather. I repaired the pipe but still havent shut it off so now I am hoping it holds until it warms up.

Ok so how cold is too cold?
I have a lot of experience in the cold-wet-miserable department, not related to mountain biking. And I think about this alot, since I ride solo so much and have had more than a few brushes with hypothermia myself. The big difference is dry cold versus wet, which is why you east side guys get away with temps us flat landers wouldn't be able to tolerate. Anyway, here's the recipe that works for me. And using layers in a disciplined way is a key component too.

If its 50 or above, even totally soaked with rain coming down sideways, I can go for as long as I can keep pedalling -- even epic rides of 4-6 hours are OK.

Much below that, say, mid-forties (and wet), I watch the time and plan routes which I know will conform to a specific time, usually 2-3 hours.

If it's dry (or I can stay dry somehow), subtract 10 degrees and the same rules apply.

Worst case -- freezing rain, driving wind -- things are usually down to an hour. (Wind is an important factor too but we're generally shielded in the woods.)

A body can tolerate worse than this (I know from painful experience) but this recipe is 'comfortable' -- mountain biking's supposed to be fun, right? -- and safe because you need to factor in a buffer, in case of delays or mishap.

Interesting tidbit #1: More soldiers suffer hypothermia assigned to 'temperate' Fort Lewis than any other military installation.

Interesting tidbit #2: We Pac Northwesterners often ride in conditions that would cancel races in other parts of the country.

Be wet, be cold, be miserable -- be proud! ;-)
 

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I live in New Mexico where the air is dry so I know it feels colder way up there in the PNW!

I ride until it crosses over below 10 degrees. I wear a pair of winter tights (Sugoi), wool socks, Gator neoprene shoe covers over my "normal" shoes, a poly longsleeve jersey with another wool long sleeve jersey on top, a gore tex shell, a balaclava, one of those black half face neoprene masks (between 10 and 20 degrees only), and down filled gloves (10 - 20 degrees only). When I start the climbing, I usually take off the shell because I'm too hot. My feet still get cold sometimes so I just ordered a pair of StormKloth socks from Rogue Angler hoping that will solve that problem. Some say it will.

I was just reading Matt Chester's blog from Sandpoint Idaho (who builds singlespeed titanium frames) and he was saying that Sandpoint isn't a two wheel friendly town in the winter - lots of ice and mud. Thank goodness we can ride most of the year here and in the PNW!

Hey Hawkens! I was born in northern Minnesota and went to college in balmy Grand Forks, North Dakota. Plus I'm about 99.9% Norwegian. Like you, we laugh at cold. I had a Norwegian buddy come to visit us a couple of years ago. He didn't even wear gloves down to zero degrees when he was snow skiing. He crewed for Doug Swingley in the Iditarod that year. He was a tough tough guy! I guess it kinda depends on what you get used to...
 
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