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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
just as the title says, sorta newish to the mountain side of the bike and was wondering when we sorta shut down?
 

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One Gear
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I don't know about everyone, but most of the guys that I ride with will keep going all winter long. Buy some winter shoes, gloves, and winter clothing. Keep it going all winter long. When it's real cold, there is always plenty of parking along the trails. I have enough winter stuff to be comfortable down to around 25 deg. F. Get enough to get by this winter and hit the sales in the spring for winter clothing.

Good luck
 

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iridexc said:
when we sorta shut down?
I don't. You can if you want though.:p

No seriously, most riders go year around. Some may slow down a little, but riding in the snow can be alot of fun! Around here, most riding takes place at Gambrils in the winter because the trails there are not really affected by the wet weather we have that time of year. Most stay away from Patapsco, Roseryville, etc because the trails are usually to sloppy to ride and we don't want the trail damage. Now if a good freeze comes along, all bets are off.

If you want some fun winter riding, go to Dirt Rags website and check out the Bike Punk Enduro. First wkend in Dec. Rain, sleet, shine or snow. The ride's on. Usually a large turnout. Ride for awhile, stop at the beer truck, down a few and ride some more! :thumbsup: Potluck dinner at the end. Held in Pittsburgh. Haven't done in a couple yrs now, but MAY go up this yr.
 

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the unvarnished nonsense
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We get pockets in winters when we can ride around here, but most of the stuff is under too much snow or inaccessible due to snow. Forest Service roads and the Scenic Highway are unmaintained through the winter. There's always the trainer in the basement, but winter means get the snowboard out and head to Snowshoe.
 

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Bicyclochondriac.
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iridexc said:
just as the title says, sorta newish to the mountain side of the bike and was wondering when we sorta shut down?
I generally stop riding when the highs get below 40 deg. Around here (Roanoke / Blacksburg) there are days in the 40's or higher throughout most the winter. So, things slow down a bit, but most winters I can still get a ride in here and there even in Jan-Feb.

The real challenge is the light. It may be a high of 45, but by the time I get off of work to ride it is dark, and in the 30's.

I guess I'm just not hardcore.:)
 

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I am the owl
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iridexc said:
well then, the question seems to be what do i need to do to my bike for winter riding?
Focus on the body, not the bike. You need to keep warm and (sometimes) dry if you want to ride in the winter.

Layers are key. Mix and match depending on the conditions. Lots of thin layers are better than one or two thick ones. You can regulate temps better with thin ones and you can pile them on for really cold days. A few items worth investing in, top to bottom:

- Thin hat/skull cap and/or headband. Ears get cold quick, lots of heat is lost through your head
- Warm gloves. Below freezing you'll really want these
- Polypro long sleeve base layer to wick sweat
- Long sleeve jersey. Wool is great but pricey. You can find some thrift store wool items or look for close outs at places like Campmor or Sierra Trading Post if you don't want to buy swanking new Swobo duds.
- Wind vest: thin and keeps your core warm. Easy to pack and stow when you don't need it.
- Tights: mid-weight will carry you through most of the season. Heavy weight for those 20 degree days. Waterproof/windproof fronts are nice if you do a lot of stream crossings.
- Wool socks. Mid weight or thinner. Super thick just cut off circulation, you need blood flow to keep warm
- Waterproof socks (Seal Skins) or winter riding shoes like the Lake models if you ride when it's really cold or have lots of stream crossings (Patapsco anyone?)
- Toe warmers if you can't afford winter shoes and want to ride when it is really cold.

You can dirt bag a lot of these things. When I was a poor college student I didn't wear lycra riding tights, I used long underwear under my shorts. Plastic grocery bags wrapped around you socks provide wind and water protection. Use what you've got if you can't buy new gear, where there's a will there's a way. And if you want to ride during the evening, a good light is mandatory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks, i road on the road all last winter so i have most of the clothing stuff down, just dint know if i needed to change out anything on the bike
 

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Dude ride through the winter no matter what condition it is. I kept riding with one guy in our group through the winter and it was nice. I think the coldest day was around the 20's. It's a little bit harder to make it up the hill when everything is frozen but it's still nice. Just make sure that if you have V-brakes and you're crossing a stream that you de-ice the rim before the next time you really need to stop. :) My front brake lever froze up on the way over to the park (I think there was water in the housing somewhere) and after crossing the stream, my rear wheel had a nice coating of ice. Almost ran into him when the bike wouldn't stop. :) I didn't have my front brake back until I put it in the garage and it warmed up overnight. :)

Your bike should be fine for winter. I think the oil in your fork has a lower freezing point than water so it should be fine. If you have a high end bike with carbon fiber, I would probably ask a mechanic or cableguy to see if it's OK to ride seeing that it may become brittle at low temperatures.

The pics were from last year. The one with the bike is showing mud that froze on the rim/seatpost.
 

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And don't be shy when the temps are cold.

It will take a few rides to begin to get a feel for what to wear in different temps. The tendency is to overdress and start overheating early in the ride. No big deal if you dress in layers. You can pull off the tight, wind breaker, or skull cap to cool off and stow them in your Camelback for the rest of the ride.

Light cold weather gloves, a pair of tights, thin long sleeve polypro, thin skull cap, wool socks, and breathable wind breaker will take care of 90% of your winter riding. Just mix and match in different combinations to get comfortable. This gear will keep you warm down to about 30 degrees.

If you want to ride below 30 degrees then you might want a balaclava, heavier gloves, glove liners, sock liners, and a medium weight polypro.

When the temps get down to 20 degrees I wear heavy ski gloves. Those were kind of expensive but my hands tend to get very cold in 20 degree temps when the bike is pushing wind.

The most expensive items are the breathable wind breaker and the tights. Get the tights with NO chamois. You wear your lycra shorts under them.

I also noticed that group rides tend to get a different crowd when the temps drop. The fair weather riders and beginner riders tend to stay home. You also start to see roadies who pull out the mountain bike when the road racing season ends end the roads start to get icy. So in general the rides tend to become more advanced in speed and experience.
 

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CrgCrkRyder
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kapusta said:
I generally stop riding when the highs get below 40 deg. Around here (Roanoke / Blacksburg) there are days in the 40's or higher throughout most the winter. So, things slow down a bit, but most winters I can still get a ride in here and there even in Jan-Feb.

The real challenge is the light. It may be a high of 45, but by the time I get off of work to ride it is dark, and in the 30's.

I guess I'm just not hardcore.:)
I 'm pretty close to Kapusta on this. I ride in the 40's, occasionally the 30's if its a nice day. Except for winter storm periods and post storm ice encrustations, theres usually a least a couple days a week thats nice enough. Lining that up with your time off is usually the problem - and lack of day. Our rule of thumb for nightriding is its on if the temperature reaches 50 during the day. My blood is thinner than some who posted here. Ride when you can.:thumbsup:
 

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song of the saw-whet owl
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depends on where you live and ride! in va/md/dc area it rairly snows, so you can ride year round no problem. In the wv highlands on good winters, like davis mentions... snowpack often gets deep and stays deep in alot of areas and access/forest roads to trails aren't maintained at all. altho you can XC ski all the same trails to keep the legs in shape for riding season, just like biking keeps em in shape for skiing!

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
tubadude said:
And don't be shy when the temps are cold.

It will take a few rides to begin to get a feel for what to wear in different temps. The tendency is to overdress and start overheating early in the ride. No big deal if you dress in layers. You can pull off the tight, wind breaker, or skull cap to cool off and stow them in your Camelback for the rest of the ride.

Light cold weather gloves, a pair of tights, thin long sleeve polypro, thin skull cap, wool socks, and breathable wind breaker will take care of 90% of your winter riding. Just mix and match in different combinations to get comfortable. This gear will keep you warm down to about 30 degrees.

If you want to ride below 30 degrees then you might want a balaclava, heavier gloves, glove liners, sock liners, and a medium weight polypro.

When the temps get down to 20 degrees I wear heavy ski gloves. Those were kind of expensive but my hands tend to get very cold in 20 degree temps when the bike is pushing wind.

The most expensive items are the breathable wind breaker and the tights. Get the tights with NO chamois. You wear your lycra shorts under them.

I also noticed that group rides tend to get a different crowd when the temps drop. The fair weather riders and beginner riders tend to stay home. You also start to see roadies who pull out the mountain bike when the road racing season ends end the roads start to get icy. So in general the rides tend to become more advanced in speed and experience.
i find the key in cold weather is to start off a little chilly, if your warm enough when you start your overdressed

but seriously no tire changes to make, or things that you find are worth changing out in the cold?

other thing, i dont get to hit good stuff nearly as much as i want(who does) so i settle for the rock track in Robert E Lee is any one knows it, how are rocks like that in the cold? is ice on them an issue?
 

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I am the owl
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iridexc said:
but seriously no tire changes to make, or things that you find are worth changing out in the cold?
Fat tires (I ride them all the time anyway) at lower pressures in the snow, homemade studded tires for the ice. Derailluers will freeze if you hit stream crossings at low temps, that's why a lot of people run single speed and fixed gear bikes in the winter. Rims will ice up as mentioned above, so rim brakes aren't a great option but not a lot of people run them these days anyway. Not much else that I can think of. Stout in the water bottle seems to be the only other equipment change around these parts ;)
 

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I ride year-around.

It's not the most fun considering the extra gear and frozen ground but there are some advantages: no snakes, bees, mosquitoes, other people....
 

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Usually when the temp hits freezing is when I trade the bike in for skis.
 

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Never!!

I'm just west of Martinsburg WV and I ride 280 - 300 or more days per year!
;-)

Through all hunting seasons, through snow, but maybe not pure ice... all the time (I have got a set of Nokian Extreme 294 studded tires) but I do alot of the time!

On peak hunting days (I ride mostly in a Wildlife Management Area) ie: Saturdays in fall/winter I'll often ride at night.

Since I ride solo in a large unpatrolled area I won't head out if the high temps for the day are only expected to be in the teens (and that's never happened for any more than a day or 2 since I've lived here)... but I'll ride down into the low 20's and still enjoy it.

For riding clothing... tops and bottoms are pretty easy to find because plenty of other sports clothing (skiing/hiking/running/hunting) are out there... you don't have to dig for cycling specific clothing. But head, hands and feet you do. I use Pearl Izumi Amfib gloves, Lake or Shimano winter shoes (I add chemical toe warmers in the 20's) and Sugoi Sub-Zero series skullcap or balaclava.

In short... mountain biking season has NEVER ended for me since I started riding! :thumbsup:
 
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