Biking in the dark, 45 degrees F

October 31st, 2008

I’ve been telling people that I plan to keep bicycling into the winter. I think about half the people I’ve told to don’t really believe it. And the last two weeks, I haven’t been able to ride to work due to muddy roads and scheduling conflicts. But today I did.

I left while it was still dark and 45 degrees outside (7C for the Fahrenheit-impaired). I think that’s the coldest bike ride for me yet. I wore my regular shorts, shoes, and socks. I had my regular shirt on, plus a long-sleeve thicker shirt on above it.

It was cold the first few minutes, but this was pretty much the right outfit. Once I got going and got some heat built up, I was doing fine. In fact, I had to unzip my outer layer because I was getting hot.

So. I figure that if I can do 45 with shorts, then I ought to be able to take on 20 with proper winter gear.

Either that, or I’ve now dug myself a nice big hole if I wimp out.

Categories: Outdoors

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  1. kvarko

    I used to do an hour-long bike ride at midnight, because the roads would be empty and I could have them all to myself. I would do this even in the Boston winter. Some nights were so cold that I had to wrap my shoes in plastic bags to make them airtight (otherwise the wind was too much). I remember one time I came home to find my water bottle had a layer of ice on the surface :)

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  2. Mark Van den Borre

    Your may well experience that your feet are difficult to protect.

    Neoprene is the magic word there. Neoprene shoes will protect you when winter gets really cold.

    Reply

  3. Lloeki

    watch out, below -5C it is generally not that good to do sports outside, notably as air being inhaled in great volumes does not have time to heat up enough when breathed, causing some possible freezing damage to lungs.
    knowing that, just take care (like breathing slower) when reaching these temperatures and you should be fine.

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  4. Dave Witbrodt

    Congrats. I’ve been riding a bicycle year round since Jan. 2001, when I sold my last car for $1 to a young family who needed it more than I did. The only times I “wimp out” (and get a ride from someone) are when it gets icy here in Michigan. Your experience of being OK once you start generating some heat is the same as mine: I recall once riding home from work in a heavy snowstorm, only to discover when I got home that an icicle had formed over the mouth area on my ski mask! However, on bad weather occasions like that, I have often felt safer on the bike than in an automobile….

    Reply

  5. John Goerzen

    Thanks for all the comments. It’s encouraging to see all of you that are doing this in colder climates than I’m in.

    I’ve also been reading the icebikers website and mailing list.

    Reply

  6. nattie

    Cycling under those conditions is much more of a reality when it’s one’s primary mode of transport. Brrrrrrrrr!

    Reply

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