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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, for y'all that live in colder or seasonal climates...

How cold is too cold to ride? I've been layering up and riding through the cold here lately (Germany), but I took a break from it today because I figured painful frostbite on my toes for three days in a row probably ain't too good. I will how ever brave it again tomorrow now that my toes are fully thawed and nothing has fallen off!

SO, for those that used to think there was no such thing as TOO cold to ride but are beginning to change your mind... tell us your story.
 

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Loser
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When it gets below 0F (-15C) with significant wind things start to get uncomfortable. If its been a while since I've ridden, I'll still go, but at those temps not only is it difficult to dress properly, but things on the bike stop working (seals and whatnot).

John
 

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local trails rider
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12,300 Posts
I've done my 30 minute commute at -25C. At that point my old bike started getting "sticky" and my clothing felt too bulky for comfort: not the perfect equipment. Something like -5C is great for riding on packed snow trails. My toes are the only thing that feels cold there, after a couple of hours. I just bought some shoe covers but the weather is not co-operating now: when I have time, we are expecting wet weather which I don't like and the trails go either soft or slippery.
 

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Sir Hurt Locker
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I would say -15C is the coldest that I would ride in. I never ride when there are strong winds which is why night rides are great in the winter since the wind usually dies down. -5C is a great temp for cold weather riding.
 

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turtles make me hot
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I've gone for 1 1/2 - 2 hour rides in the morning that started at 15 degrees F and the temp climbed as the sun came up.
Now, I have better clothes, but I'm older. I'm good for a two hour ride in 25 degrees as long as I stay dry. My feet are the first thing to go.
 

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Off the back...
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If I can keep my hands and feet warm, there's not really a lower limit. I've done my daily commute at -35C with a -50C windchill and been fine, although it wasn't exactly a recreational ride. For fun riding, I'd probably cap it at -15C depending on the wind and sun, and that would be for road or mountain.

I was reading a post on here somewhere about a couple of guys who were trying to sort out a route for a mtn bike race in Alaska. They kept popping tires at -50C because the butyl tubes were only designed to run @ -40C or warmer and stay intact. :eek:
 

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Ride to the ride.
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360 Posts
Too cold, as in TOO cold, I suspect is around -40 F (Which, coincidentally, is also -40C).

That's the point where tubes are too cold to hold air and start coming apart at the seams. At least according to this:

http://dwb.adn.com/outdoors/story/4642867p-4599504c.html

(Interesting question: How low can Tubeless go?)

Personally, I don't mind riding in the cold as long as I'm not particularly cold. So it's all based on my clothing and equipment. So far I've spent enough to be comfortable down into the upper teens, and a bit chilly but fine for shorter (2 hour) rides in the lower teens. Below that, I don't have enough.

Yet.

--Greg
 

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Witty McWitterson
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5,023 Posts
I've recently been out in 10ish degrees F. The key is layering. And not using clipless pedals! I've found winter boots less than adequate in keeping my feet warm. Then add in the cold sink that is two holes in your shoe, 'sealed' with a metal cleat conducting heat away from your feet...

I use slimmer profile winter boots and flat pedals. Winter isn't about speed. Its about staying steady and simply getting out to pedal and have fun. Nothing more, nothing less.
 

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Banned
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16,457 Posts
Too cold out there? Hah! We did -26 or -29 (I forget which) for a record low in Saxony a couple days ago. We are only one degree off from Moscow. My windshield washer bottle has been frozen for the last week, despite making an incredibly concentrated mix.

I use Mechanix gloves with some PI knitted liners I got some years ago. I wear thermals I got from Tchibo a couple months ago. Was that a great idea. Then I just layer with combos of cheap Lidl bike wear and some better stuff.

Gonna try an easy ride tomorrow, but to be honest, I'm more concerned about the icy cobblestone roads going up and down to the park.
 

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conjoinicorned
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3,525 Posts
Bikeabout said:
Too cold, as in TOO cold, I suspect is around -40 F (Which, coincidentally, is also -40C).

That's the point where tubes are too cold to hold air and start coming apart at the seams. At least according to this:

http://dwb.adn.com/outdoors/story/4642867p-4599504c.html

(Interesting question: How low can Tubeless go?)

Personally, I don't mind riding in the cold as long as I'm not particularly cold. So it's all based on my clothing and equipment. So far I've spent enough to be comfortable down into the upper teens, and a bit chilly but fine for shorter (2 hour) rides in the lower teens. Below that, I don't have enough.

Yet.

--Greg
interesting read, thanks for the link. i've ridden quite a bit this year in -35C, but only short trips to the store and such. no issues with tubes bursting yet....sure would suck to change a tire at those temps!
 

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Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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8,848 Posts
Off road I'm usually down for whatever, though the coldest was hovering right around 0F for me. Was fine wo long as I kept moving.

Commuting to work, I give it up and take the car once it hits single digits, or is dumping enough rain down. Fenders and rain gear only do so much.
 

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Heathen
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768 Posts
When I was back in Austin, TX, I seldom ventured out if it was less than 50F. Now that I'm in Denver, I've been riding down into the upper teens and only turned around once when the winds were gusting at 40-50mph. I got instant brain freeze when I popped over the ridge about halfway to the top of my ride.
 
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