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Cold weather riding

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#1 Eazy_E



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Posted 14 November 2019 - 02:01 PM

Generally speaking, I'm a fair weather flyer, but I'd like to change that, so what are some tips to make riding in the cold tolerable?  I know you can ride on a trail if it's early and it's frozen, but in general, what time do they become unstable?  Ten?  Earlier, later?  Thanks.

#2 sniker


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Posted 14 November 2019 - 02:20 PM

Around 10 on a sunny day does sound reasonable. Depending on how cold it is outside.

Have you read this article? It's pretty informative.



I hope that works as a link for you.

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#3 Oh Baby

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 02:27 PM

I don't like to re-learn every year what to wear, so here is my temperature-clothing chart.  I am usually on the colder side @ ~150lbs...


60 and above

Arm Warmers


59 & below

Long sleeve jersey or base layer + warmers

Or Jacket


49 & below


tights/leg warmers

ear covers


40 & below

winter gloves

winter boots

thermal tights

second long sleeve (tech shirt mid layer)


30 below

thermal skinsuit base layer


20 below

vasaline on face

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#4 MTBKona22



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Posted 14 November 2019 - 11:17 PM

I think Oh Baby has outlined a pretty good list for different temperature ranges.


I would add a couple tips that I have learned over the years of cold weather riding necessary for frozen dirt.


- Winter boots are expensive, but great to have below 25.  Neoprene shoe covers turn a summer riding shoe into a decent winter riding shoe on a budget, but are a hassle to put on with some shoes.


- If you keep your cycling shoes in the garage, I would bring them inside the night before a planned ride and put them on in your car.  For me, starting with a warm foot and warm shoe makes a big difference when the temperature is below 25 degrees.


- Similarly, I always try and have the bike read to go (tires pumped, everything adjusted, etc.) before leaving for trail.  Messing with your bike for 10 minutes with no gloves at the trailhead when it's 15 degrees out is a great way to make sure your hands are cold the entire ride.


- Buying a nice pair of winter riding gloves is probably worth your investment, like Oh Baby noted below 40 degrees.


- My first couple seasons for shorter winter rides, I did a base bottom layer underneath leg warmers and summer cycling shorts.  Not nearly as effective or comfortable as winter cycling tights, but definitely cheaper if you already have all that gear.


- If you use a Camelbak, the line will freeze on cold winter mornings.  Blowing all the water back into the reservoir between drinks is one way to avoid this.



On a frozen morning, winter riding is definitely a blast.  The trails and parks are not nearly as crowded and you see everything a little differently.



#5 falasi4


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Posted 15 November 2019 - 01:16 PM

Several brands make "lobster" style gloves - I have cold hands/feet issues and the lobsters do the best job of helping with the hands while still allowing me to shift/brake and keep a good grip on the bar.  I've used full mittens which are warmer but you spend a lot of the ride only being able to hang on with your thumbs as hooks - sketchy when things get bumpy.


Wool/wool blend socks - sometimes 2 layers not to tight - with neoprene shoe covers has worked for me into the upper 20's/low 30's ..  



start out with as much low speed uphill as you can

#6 Eazy_E



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Posted 12 December 2019 - 10:57 AM

I went out in 25* the other day at Greensfelder. It was only cold the first 4 miles, but even with windproof gloves, my fingers were dead until mile 4. Overall though, it was a decent experience.

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