Author Topic: Cycling in the cold  (Read 4217 times)

Cycling in the cold
« on: 17 January, 2024, 08:44:36 pm »
I used to cycle in the cold quite a lot. Simply because the pleasure of cycling outweighed the numb extremities. 20 years ago id regularly cycle 100 mile in freezing conditions and marvel at how i managed to ride across sheet ice without coming a cropper. However now im 63 and starting to feel slightly less resiliant im reluctant to venture out when its 0oC or lower. I do have access to a Wattbike although the boredom can be a challenge. Once a week i manage a19 miler mainly offroad along challenging bridleways, currently the pockmarked horse hoofprints are frozen and cycling on a hardtail is better than the deep mud i ecperienced recently. I expect to use the wattbike more frequently when its freezing if only to get fit or retain fitness for warmer times ahead. I wonder if other cyclists choose a turbo or smart trainer in these cold conditions rather than venture out

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #1 on: 17 January, 2024, 08:48:41 pm »
I find the cold less of a challenge than the ice. I do know the local routes that are susceptible to ice, and stick to gritted roads, but I don't do indoor cycling, so feel free to ignore.

Here in Darlo we have quite a few decent trails and bridleways which aren't too churned up by horses, but I've still suggested to a couple of local riders I know that they could fit their horses with snow shoes ;D

Kim

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Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #2 on: 17 January, 2024, 08:57:41 pm »
Consider this a general whinge rather than anything useful:

Ice can be dealt with using studded tyres or more than two wheels.  My limiting factor used to be asthma, which kicks in somewhere around 5°C but is manageable if I don't need to put in a full effort.  But now I'm struggling with the cold.  Some years ago, I did a forum night ride where it got down to a low of 6°C, and while it wasn't comfortable, I didn't feel the desperate need to add to the summer clothing I was wearing.  These days I need winter kit below about 15°C, adding the boil-in-the-bag jacket for warmth once it drops below about 12°C.  By 6°C I'm in two baselayers, a winter jersey, waterproof jacket, 3/4s with thermal tights on top, and silk liners under my gloves and socks.  And I have to ride fairly hard to generate enough heat for my hands to warm up enough not to hurt, which means I'm soaking in sweat and freeze as soon as I stop or there's a prolonged descent.

(Off-road riding is somewhat better, due to lower speeds for a given effort meaning less wind-chill.  But greater risks of something going wrong that means you have to deal with a mechanical or injury.  To say nothing of the muddy bike.)

I'm not sure where I can go from there.  Mittens.  Electric or chemical heating.  Velomobile is out on storage and cost grounds.  Streamer fairing (if my Streetmachine ever arrives)?  Indoor cycling?

Barakta reckons I just need to eat more pies.

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #3 on: 17 January, 2024, 09:09:06 pm »
I expect to use the wattbike more frequently when its freezing if only to get fit or retain fitness for warmer times ahead. I wonder if other cyclists choose a turbo or smart trainer in these cold conditions rather than venture out

I'm soon to be 65 this year.
I've never been as hardy as some [by a long, long shot], but when I started audaxing I'd be happy doing a 200 in the cold, and like you, from where I sit at the moment, I sometimes wonder how on earth I did it! But not anymore, I'm just not interested. But I am very interested in maintaining health as the latter years loom on the horizon. And also like you I have access to a wattbike, not in my home, but a small local gym. So these days, I'm up at 5.30, quick cup of tea, then gym from 6 til 7, three days on the watttbike and two days weights and various other exercises. If I feel like going hard, I go hard, if I don't quite feel up to it, I don't - I stand one-legged on the bosu cushion for an hour!. I'm enjoying it [I think!], and it's all stuff I've not done before. When I feel like getting out there on the bike again - I will.

So it's a case of being honest about what floats you boat and not worrying too much about what you think you should be doing.
Garry Broad

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #4 on: 17 January, 2024, 09:21:03 pm »
Pogies for the hands ?  https://www.hotpog.co.uk


Try a different approach for the upper body ?  Alpkit are doing a knock off of the Buffalo stuff.  https://alpkit.com/products/jura-smock-womens     I have something similar lined with Karisma fleece which is a favourite on cold days.  I've never needed more than a base layer underneath. 


Paramo stuff is warm & far more breathable than other types of waterproof.  Sadly expensive,  though my Velez smock is still going strong after 20 years.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Wowbagger

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Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #5 on: 17 January, 2024, 10:06:23 pm »
I had my first bike ride of the year today. The maximum temperature was 3°C, and that was when I was out.

Given that my total kms for November, December and January is about 20, it's no surprise that I'm feeling the cold. I haven't acclimatised. I wore Thinsulate golves over my gel mitts, and a Paramo jacket over my fleece. It was tolerable.

I shall be 70 in June.
Quote from: Dez
It doesn’t matter where you start. Just start.

Jaded

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Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #6 on: 17 January, 2024, 10:38:57 pm »
There was an article about the effects of cold on the body, particularly older bodies, posted in a thread about heating houses. Basically a heightened risk of stroke or heart attack for days after the exposure to the cold. It made me think about being cavalier about being out in the cold.
It is simpler than it looks.

Basil

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Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #7 on: 17 January, 2024, 10:57:49 pm »
74 now and suffer from the inability to warm extremities.  No gloves or extra socks work below 3°. 
Admission.  I'm actually not that fussed about cake.

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #8 on: 17 January, 2024, 11:10:59 pm »
I'll go for a walk or run instead. Easier to keep warm, and less risk of falling over on ice.
I think getting outside to do something is good for me.

Wowbagger

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Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #9 on: 17 January, 2024, 11:49:59 pm »
Nothing to do with cycling, but I often find that my cold feet keep me awake at night. I have a lovely fleecy pair of slippers that I wear in bed under such circumstances. This problem has certainly receded since we bought our wool duvet.
Quote from: Dez
It doesn’t matter where you start. Just start.

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #10 on: 17 January, 2024, 11:55:35 pm »
It's a fascinating subject.  I like Dean's thoughts about tracks and so on - but he is a young man!  I started long-distance cycling when I was in my mid-sixties and include several absolutely stupid efforts in my non-palmares - over the Trough of Bowland in a hailstorm so violent we were blown across a wide grass verge into the hedge; A North West Passage 200 which was apparently below zero all the way round.  Now, more than a decade later, I have circulation problems, probably Raynaud's syndrome and if the temp is below 3 positive I won't even do the industrial estate.  It's hard because I love my cycling but added to the cold is the knowledge (from sad experience) that I break very easily.  Honestly, I think macho has had its day (and is stupid) and I appeal to people to use other ways to stay healthy.  Gloves and socks won't deal with proper cold, though mittens over the top help a little - but not if its wet.  The "world's greatest glove" doesn't exist.

Think of the cold as an opportunity to grow up (it's certainly about time I did!).

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #11 on: 17 January, 2024, 11:56:36 pm »
@ Wow

Are you on heart medication?  Betablockers can be implicated.

Wowbagger

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Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #12 on: 18 January, 2024, 12:00:10 am »
Yes, I'm on betablockers. Do you think they have blocked my beta?
Quote from: Dez
It doesn’t matter where you start. Just start.

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #13 on: 18 January, 2024, 12:01:27 am »
They'd beta not have!

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #14 on: 18 January, 2024, 06:46:46 am »
It seems im not alone. So many of a similar age and dealing with cold and cycling in similar fashion. I will add that im a semi retired builder and most of my working life has been spent outside. When its below plus 3 0C i cant lay bricks but can  and do carry on with other tasks. After work im often  too battered by the cold to want to venture out again, ditto the weekends. That said, now ive some free time ill hit the bridleway today. Usually 80 minutes but can add loops on if im feeling warm enough. Were in rural North Herts, think Baldock, Royston, Buntingford. Its lumpy, wooded and countryside currently full of Fieldfares, Redwings as well as herds of Fallow deer, numerous species of raptors. This beats Zwift hands down, as long as i dont freeze. I never fear falling off as my upper body is pretty robust(not fat) after decades of physical work. Thanks for replies and stay warm .

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #15 on: 18 January, 2024, 06:53:31 am »
Nothing to do with cycling, but I often find that my cold feet keep me awake at night.

Same here, to the extent I’ve taken to wearing bed socks

On the cycling in the cold question I manage with plenty of layers but draw the line when there is frost, I’ve come a good few croppers on ice over the years and at 63 I can’t throw myself down the road anymore and expect to emerge unscathed.

A

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #16 on: 18 January, 2024, 09:07:24 am »
Cold is Not Fun, so I don’t do it. It’s a nice day today, but -4°C is not conducive to health and well-being, so I will observe the sun through my windows. I do Zwift a lot in winter, and if you get in with a good group that uses Discord for chat, it’s a lot more sociable than a group ride outdoors when you’re so heavily dressed up you can’t speak or hear.

I also do gym and swimming, both of which involve no cold whatsoever. At 68 I’m lucky that my extremities still work as designed, and I’m on no medication. I intend to keep it that way as long as possible.

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #17 on: 18 January, 2024, 09:51:29 am »
There was an article about the effects of cold on the body, particularly older bodies, posted in a thread about heating houses. Basically a heightened risk of stroke or heart attack for days after the exposure to the cold. It made me think about being cavalier about being out in the cold.
I've just listened to a podcast discussing the beneficial effects of cooler rooms.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #18 on: 18 January, 2024, 10:01:44 am »
Pogies for the hands ?  https://www.hotpog.co.uk


Try a different approach for the upper body ?  Alpkit are doing a knock off of the Buffalo stuff.  https://alpkit.com/products/jura-smock-womens     I have something similar lined with Karisma fleece which is a favourite on cold days.  I've never needed more than a base layer underneath. 


Paramo stuff is warm & far more breathable than other types of waterproof.  Sadly expensive,  though my Velez smock is still going strong after 20 years.
Three good points. I had pogies when I used to ride a motorcycle (but we used to call them bar mitts) and they are far more effective than any gloves. I'm not sure they'd work with drop bars, but they've been discussed in various threads.

I'm not convinced that Alpkit is actually Buffalo-alike, but if I remember, I'll go up and take a look on Friday afternoon. If they have it in the shop. And I might even report back.

Paramo is the ultimate in breathability while still being waterproof. Yes, it's expensive, but it lasts, it's made with a nod to not exploiting people, and actually it's no more expensive than any other quality waterproof, such as Gore, Montane or whatever.
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #19 on: 18 January, 2024, 10:02:51 am »
Ah, seems I'm not alone. At 76, I seem to feel the cold more than ever but the main factor in my decision not to ride outdoors if it's getting close to freezing is that I had a tumble on black ice exactly two years ago, resulting in cracked ribs and and a fractured scapula, and two months off the bike. The bike was fine, since you ask.
So, now I resort to using the (not smart) turbo: just an hour or so doing a simple interval session, maybe five days a week.
Well, it's better than lying on the sofa eating chocolate hob-nobs. Innit?

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #20 on: 18 January, 2024, 10:45:41 am »
I'll go for a walk or run instead. Easier to keep warm, and less risk of falling over on ice.
I think getting outside to do something is good for me.
Mr Smith won't even walk when it's icy now. Breaking your shoulder in multiple places after an innocuous slip on mud will change your risk perception.

I ride indoors when it's cold. It's supposed to be fun. Even commuting, I'm aiming for once a week in January twice a week in February - and that's weather permitting. I do have studded tyres for the e-bike but I'm trying to keep cycling fun. -6 ain't that.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #21 on: 18 January, 2024, 11:12:36 am »
i tend not to ride in the negative temperatures, mainly because of ice (came a cropper last winter on ice, which was a good reminder). as for being cold, once i put on many layers, it's fine. hands and feet stay warm too.

i became a fair weather cyclist seven years ago, when i got a smart trainer. life is better that way :).

Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #22 on: 18 January, 2024, 11:29:09 am »
i became a fair weather cyclist seven years ago, when i got a smart trainer. life is better that way :-) .
Nothing wrong with that (don't beat yourself up about it).

Snakehips

  • Twixt London and leafy Surrey
Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #23 on: 18 January, 2024, 01:08:20 pm »
I'm 76 and I suffer badly from Raynaud's.  Just getting a bike out in this weather  triggers it and it takes 7 or 8 miles of cycling before it goes away. It took reports of a nearby flock of waxwing to get me out last week. Early last year I got myself a rudimentary indoor setup and despite the boredom that its use induces I prefer to stay in and use it. If I didn't have it I would probably still be going out. 
An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?

gibbo

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Re: Cycling in the cold
« Reply #24 on: 18 January, 2024, 01:22:43 pm »
I used to cycle in all weathers. I particularly like(d) riding on snow but now, since I got my Kickr Core turbo trainer, I no longer have the urge or desire to endure the cold. The slight irony is that the Kickr is in the garage, which is only a few degrees above ambient, so it's still pretty cold but one doesn't chill down in the quite the same way as when riding outside with the induced wind-chill.

My cycling buddies take the piss relentlessly now that I'm a fair weather cyclist but I've seen my fair share of "offs" and I don't bounce very well so roll on spring and warm weather.