Monday Commute

Subzero weather returned this morning but due to a bit of experience and some helpful suggestions my ride went much smoother.

(Many thanks to Cyclerist, Jim, Joshhan and everyone else for their encouragement and support!)

Last night I put ten more pounds of pressure in my tires, lubed my chain and set my bike on a gear that would work for the entire ride. When morning came I was ready to roll!

I treated my bike like a singlespeed for the duration of my commute. No coasting, no gear changes, just constant, steady pedaling. (Except when going downhill of course, then I had to pedal like crazy.) This worked out very well and I didn’t have to stop once to adjust a slipped chain, hallelujah!

Because I didn’t have to stop biking at any point, the problem of my goggles fogging up was also eliminated. When I arrived at work and removed them I discovered little spikes of frost about half a centimeter high along the inside of the bottom vent. So that was the white thing I kept seeing in the corner of my eye!

Sadly, one factor remained the same as my last subzero commute. I thought it was a fluke last time, that I had simply forgotten to dim the beam from my headlight, but apparently my headlight is allergic to cold weather. Even though I fully charged the battery last night, two miles from work the low battery indicator came on and I had to bike the remaining distance in the dark. I guess the cold depletes the battery much faster than normal.

I called my dad and he thinks a bit of foam insulation could help, or maybe I will order another light, keep it in a inner jacket pocket and then switch lights mid-ride. My taillights remained unfazed.

To work (10 miles)
3:35 am to 4:50 am

Weather
-11F, 7 mph East wind

I wore
Head: head band, ski goggles, balaclava
Torso: two thermal undershirts, rain jacket
Hands: winter gloves with liners
Legs: two pairs of yoga pants, thermal pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: Everything was great except for my legs, need to order something warmer for them asap.

From work (10 miles)
3:35 pm to 4:45 pm

Weather
9F, 14 mph Northeast wind, 28 mph gusts

I wore
Head: balaclava, ski goggles
Torso: two thermal undershirts, rain jacket
Hands: winter gloves
Legs: yoga pants, thermal pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: Nice.

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24 thoughts on “Monday Commute

    • That’s downstate New York, us little bumpkins in the northern woods probably won’t get much this time around.

      But if we do get a storm we’ll be fine, it is just the city folks who don’t know how to dig themselves out of snow! 😉

      Joking aside, snowfall like what is predicted is serious stuff for a city like NYC or Boston, they have actually cart the snow out of the city, here we just push it out of the road.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There is nothing wrong with that 🙂

      I just adore winter and have discovered biking in it is pretty awesome. I almost bought a car this autumn instead of trying to bike through the winter but I am so glad that I didn’t!

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  1. While I don’t brave subzero cycling, I do ride down to double digits. Regarding keeping my toes warm, I have found that tinfoil in my shoes reflects the heat from my feet and my toes don’t get cold. That is the only thing I have found that works.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Tony!

      Unfortunately, (this is gonna sound rather odd) the texture and sounds tinfoil makes often bothers me. You know how many people are bothered by a screeching chalkboard?

      Foil gives me the same feeling. I don’t think I could stand having it in my boots even when wearing thick socks. I am a strange one 😉

      Like

      • Rode into a bastard headwind this morning which took 6°C temp down to 0°C (apparently). Feet did not feel cold though I’m not sure whether that was the extra layer of the foil or that it did reflect the heat. My hopes of re-using the foil on my return home were dashed-fell to pieces when I took my shoes off! Next up will be a comparison trial with one foot without the foil and the other with foil on it in sub zero conditions. Thanks for the idea-keeps me interested in the commutes

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Considering that using a bike light is mostly used in the winter when it’s cold amd sark, there’s a business opportunity right there-an insulated bike light. Be interesting to know if the foam works

    Like

    • I also called the light company and the guy I talked to was really helpful. He used to bike in -15 and he would cover his light with a sock, he said that worked pretty well. He also suggested electrical tape and making sure the light is warm before I start my commute.

      I will definitely post about whether insulating does the trick! (Hopefully it will because biking in the dark is rather scary)

      Like

  3. I wonder what make your front bike light is? Mine has also had appalling battery life recently while the back one is fine – wonder if it was the cold affecting it! I also have learnt a great tip from your comments – tinfoil!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have Light and Motion’s Urban 550. That is strange that our front lights are dying while the back one’s are fine. Does it have something to do with wind chill? Maybe being mounted on the front of the bike versus the back makes a difference. Of course it could just be factors like battery quality and run time as well.

      Like

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