Sunday, December 26, 2010

25th December, 25 Degrees... First Attempts at Winter Road Cycling!

Rejoicing at the empty roads on Christmas Day, the Co-Habitant and I decided to give winter roadcycling a serious try. Once the snow arrives, I find riding a roadbike to be inherently more challenging than cycling for transportation, and have not succeeded in doing it until now. One major concern is the slippery road conditions. On an upright step-through bicycle, navigating winter roads is fairly easy: If there is slush or snow, my tires can usually take it and the bike is sturdy enough to remain upright even if the wheels start to slide. But on a roadbike, my weight is distributed differently and the handling is "twitchier" - making for a potentially hazardous situation under the same conditions. When cycling for sport, I am also going quite a bit faster - giving me less time to react to slippery patches ahead.

The other challenge of roadcycling in winter, is figuring out how to dress. On an upright transportation bicycle, I can simply bundle up in my regular winter clothes and potter along at whatever speed I am comfortable with until I reach my destination. But when cycling for sport, it is more difficult to regulate body temperature: Most of my body warms up almost immediately once I pick up speed, so bundling up will cause overheating. At the same time, my hands and face are more vulnerable to the windchill than on a transportation bike because of how they are positioned on a roadbike. To find the perfect balance is tricky and can only be done via experimentation.

After resisting "technical wool" for as long as I could, I finally gave into it, because nothing else was working for me. I hope to write a comparison review of some popular wool brands soon, but basically what I am wearing in these pictures are just a couple of thin layers by Icebreaker and I/O Bio, an old wool hat, and a wind-proof cycling jacket. I am embarrassed to admit that the jacket is Campagnolo, but it is the best athletic jacket I have worn, ever, and I should write a separate review of it as well, as it certainly deserves it.

But my most interesting (as in "bizarre") acquisition for winter road cycling are these Gore Bike Wear "lobster gloves". After mentioning in a previous post about my hands freezing when riding with drop bars, I received suggestions from readers for this style of gloves, and the Co-Habitant got them for me as a gift. The concept of "lobster gloves" was new to me, but I was willing to try anything to keep my fingers from going numb when positioned on the brake hoods. These gloves really do make your hands look like enormous, mutant lobster claws, and whether you consider that cute or unacceptably grotesque is a matter of taste.

The ideas is, that, unlike regular mitten shells, "lobster gloves" make it possible to squeeze roadbike levers while still keeping at least your pinkie and ring fingers together for maximum warmth. There are different variations of this style, and some versions keep the index finger and middle finger together as well. We went to a local Eastern Mountain Sports store to look for these gloves, and I tried several versions by different manufacturers. I chose the ones by Gore Bike Wear (called "Radiator Gloves"), because they were the only ones that allowed me to freely squeeze the brake levers on the floor model roadbikes they had in the store. Similar-looking gloves by Pearl Izumi and other manufacturers constrained my hands too much and interfered with lever squeezing motions. The sizing of the Gore gloves was unisex, and size 6 fit me perfectly. Normally I wear I size 7 in women's gloves.

Once I wore the "lobster gloves" in action, I had to make some adjustments to how I positioned my hands on the brake hoods. Braking while wearing the gloves was more difficult than without, but do-able. And they did keep my hands warm, as well as dry. The inside material is soft and silky, and the outside material is textured, preventing slippage on the handlebars. Of all the available choices, I am glad that I got this version. But I would recommend that those looking for gloves in this style try them on in person if at all possible, especially if you have brake lever reach issues on a roadbike.

As for the handling of the bicycle itself - the Bianchi was great, except when encountering patches of ice or snow, at which point it was not great at all (think ice skating) and I had to get off and walk. After doing that a few times on the Minuteman Trail, it became clear that the trail was no longer usable at this time of year and it was only really possible to cycle on the main roads. A pity, as the roads leading out of town are usually heavy with traffic and unpleasant to negotiate. By the time I get through Arlington on my way to the more open countryside areas in Lexington, I am usually in a bad mood from competing with the aggressive drivers - not a situation I want to put myself in under slippery winter conditions. The additional difficulties of decreased visibility from my eyes tearing up, and a constantly running nose, contributed to my feeling of extra vulnerability on the road.

Although this is the closest I've ever gotten to winter roadcycling, it was still far from an actual success - especially since the the emptiness of the roads on Christmas Day is not something I can normally count on. From a logical standpoint, I don't think it's worth it to cycle for sport in the winter under these conditions - particularly for someone like me, whose bicycle handling skills are still relatively poor. But from an emotional standpoint, I am afraid I'll go nuts if I have to stay off roadbikes until late March; I had not realised until now how addicted I've become. Maybe I should snap out of it, be an adult and wait till Spring. Or maybe I should get goggles for my eyes, stuff wads of kleenex in my sleeve for easy nose-wiping access, consult with local cyclist about the safest winter routes, and try again. I guess we'll see how much I really want this. I am not big on setting goals or making resolutions, but I am curious about what will happen next.

42 comments:

  1. I alway enjoy your blog! I grew up there, and after reflection moved here to Santa Monica (where it's having a rare rainy day.)

    Recommend sunglasses or clear glasses. Warms the eyes, and then the rest of your face. Much as black is always in fashion - I wear red or another bright color for visibility. And maybe consider a helmet? You are much more likely to fall on a unseen patch of ice...

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  2. "I don't think it's worth it to cycle for sport in the winter under these conditions"

    We learn by doing, just like learning to ride a bike in the first place. One minute you can't do it at all, the next you're wobbling down the road.

    But if you never do it, you never learn.

    Although I hear tell you're going to have a good excuse at least for some days. How's the storm treating you so far?

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  3. Can't help on the roadbike issue but I really concur on the mittens. My sister-in-law & I snuck out on the bikes this morning for coffee at 19F and ski mittens made all the difference. Bit awkward on the brakes and gears but not as awkward as frozen fingers would have been

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  4. My intention is to cycle all the way through winter down here in (relatively balmy) DC, so I'm following these posts closely. Have you considered goggles to cut down on wind-chill-induced tearing? That might seem like overly equipped to you (just guessing) but if it's good enough for skiers...

    Cold, you can protect against. What terrifies me about winter biking is road ice.

    Glad to see you got out on Christmas Day, because I understand you are about to get hammered by the snowstorm that just glanced off Washington.

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  5. "wads of kleenex in my sleeve for easy nose-wiping access"

    Looks like the gloves have that covered with a softer patch or patches of terry in strategic places. What will they think of next?

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  6. Ski mittens work for me when it's too cold for my softshell gloves.

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  7. I'm another person with runny nose issues. I just stuff a handkerchief in a pocket and blow whenever I stop at a light or a stop sign.

    I don't have a sport speed vs a commuting speed though. I'm slow on whatever I ride. :)

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  8. Gregorio - Those "wipe" patches on the gloves are no match for the torrent of fluid that rushes forth from my nose : )

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  9. Last year I put away my road bike and cycled on the Pashley exclusively. So this was kind of my first time on ice with the 32mm Gatorskins (which are kind of slick-ish).

    I am not sure if wider knobbier Marathon Plus are genuinely better on ice or if it's my Pashley's supernatural handling, but I am asking myself why I would want to be out on a road bike going somewhere long distance until it gets warm. It's just not nearly as fun as touring in warm weather. At the same time, I have a couple rides in the works for next week, so we shall see...

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  10. Re goggles: Any specific recommendations? My biggest concern with goggles is that when trying to wear them I get a feeling of disconnectedness from my environment, which makes it more difficult to pay attention and notice things. But I am willing to give them another try.

    Steve - I cannot operate road brake levers in mittens. Upright handlebars no problem, just not drop bars. Even the lobster gloves are not ideal, but at least do-able.

    kfg - It is definitely snowing right now; beautiful outside and a good day to work on indoor projects. Makes me especially glad to have gone out cycling yesterday.

    Janice - It is not even so much the difference in speed, as a difference in positioning. On an upright bicycle, my weight is distributed such that the bike seems to be more stable on ice and slush. It's also easier to just stop and get off the bike, if all else fails!

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  11. "Maybe I should snap out of it, be an adult and wait till Spring."

    Hahaha. Too funny. I've told myself the same thing many times. (and I'm finally starting to listen to myself.) I'm in upstate NY and we get rediculous amounts of snow. Road rides are neccessarily infrequent now, but there's XC skiing and snow shoeing to stay active and be outdoors.

    If the roads are too icy for road bike rides you could get some Kreitler rollers. Great fun indoors but a little precarious and rough on the walls and furniture. Its possible though on Kreitlers to work on your form and even zen out when you get the hang of it. Better than nothing on a winters day I always say.

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  12. Biking under suboptimal conditions requires a series of solutions to different problems. I decided a couple years ago I would ride my bike to work every day, regardless of conditions. No problem in the summer. To make it work in winter, I had to get the right clothes, install long reach fenders on my bike, get some wider tires, find appropriate rain gear, install lights, etc. I had some miserable rides while working out the bugs. However, by the end of the process, I was not only able to keep commuting year round, but could also ride a bike 12 months a year for fun and exercise as well. I'm now so addicted to riding that I think I'd go crazy (and be big as a house) if I had to quit till March. You sound like you've solved clothes and hands problems already. Keep going on the eyes, nose, and routes problems and winter riding may seem no more formidable than drop bar bikes did when you were just getting started!

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  13. I too consider myself somewhat hardy (I'm from Minnesota for crying out loud) but some days I just can't force myself out on the open road. The trainer has been a lifesaver in this case. Somewhat depressing but I'm getting used to it, especially when I put on a good cheesy cycling movie (eg, Breaking Away, American Flyers). And for an added bonus do some intervals when the characters are doing sprints, hills, etc. It's nowhere close to getting out on the road but it's better than nothing.

    And it sounds like you need to learn a new talent, the wonderfully sexy snot rocket.

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  14. H bikes through the winter and as a road racer, he is mighty prepared. I admire him for getting out there, and now you. I am contemplating winter riding out of necessity. Anyhow, H swears by the following: good cycling tights, a good cycling jacket, lobster gloves (you are good so far...), studded tires on his "B" road bicycle (a Salsa Casserole), goggles (he just got a pair of Oakley Crowbar's), a neck gator, a cycling hat, booties. It's a lot of investment, but worth it for his sanity to get out and ride. Oh, and some really great lights. As a person who rides road bicycle exclusively on the road in the summer, even H sticks to the city paths in the winter. He feels it is safer and easier to navigate (now that the 5 feet of snow at each intersection of the trail has at last been cleared away!). I get you on the going crazy without your road riding, the best I can offer myself is the trainer~though it can be a drag, I do not do it every day, and it is still quite meditative. The slippery roads do not provide a good workout, and more worry than it is worth here in the tundra. Good luck with it all and do not be embarrassed about the coat - good clothes are good clothes and worth their weight in gold.

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  15. The runny nose syndrome! I suffer it as well, have actually looked into it and some people definitely have it worse than others. I fold a bandana lengthwise and tie it around my neck, on top of whatever else I have on so it's easily accessible. I can then wipe my nose on it while I ride. Sometimes it dries in the wind, or I can just move it around to a dry spot when needed. Hope that doesn't sound too gross but I prefer it to using my gloves. Much easier to wash the bandanas.
    While I don't bike on ice, I do bike all year round, both for errands, shopping and for fun. I wear my sunglasses for eye protection, as I have light lenses that are good for low light conditions. Also, I use my road bike with the widest possible tires and run them at low pressure: 65, 70 lbs. Much better bike control with soft tires.

    Happy riding!

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  16. Despite having lived exclusively in cold climates, I cannot claim to be hardy and instead am pathetically sickly. And yes, I am considering a trainer -which is absolutely insane!

    David - I rode for transportation all last winter and plan to continue that (I have no other way to get around); so this is only with regard to roadcycling. Strictly speaking, roadcycling is absolutely un-necessary to me in a practical sense, which is why it does not seem worth the hassle. But try telling that to myself...

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  17. Regarding goggles, I've been using just a cheap pair of safety glasses bought at the Lowes or the Depot. I always feel like I have blinders on if I'm wearing actual goggles, but the safety glasses help. Aside from that I use sunglasses in the daytime.

    I've also discovered that I have "assigned" stop points along my route that seem to be perfectly timed according to the runny nose. I just wish that they were a little farther apart. :/

    I know that mittens don't work out for you with drop bars, but I thought that I would mention my hand savers as of late. I picked up from a local crafts person a pair of rabbit skin mittens lined with the rabbit fur. Sounds a little gross, but they are the warmest things I have ever put on my hands. Almost too warm! I was out a few nights ago coming home when it was in the low teens with wind chill putting it in the single digits and my hands were sweating.

    So what do you, or any of your readers do about cold ears? That has been my biggest problem with winter cycling. I can never seem to find something warm or comfortable enough.

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  18. It pains me to read that you're really torn by your love of cycling and your understanding of your personal limitations & fears.

    I have to wonder why transportation cycling isn't enough cycling (no, not what you want but "enough" ) to keep your "addiction" in check 'till better weather??

    Also I'm glad you found good gloves since frostbite is a really bad deal. :(

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  19. This is wonderful, seeing you discover another layer of cycling.
    Per Carolyn, learn the way of the snot rocket and feel RELIEF, but thanks for the visual.
    Campy makes great technical clothing, as do a number of other companies. The advancement of road cycling clothing over the past few years has been remarkable. Your bank account may have other remarks. The clothing makes complete sense as you get fitter and faster. Judging from these pix you certainly look to be going that way.
    Goggles are great for below 20 temps; consider going with standard cycling-specific sunglasses with interchangeable lenses. Find a pair that fits your face and they'll do a great job shedding wind and, in some instances, moisture. You'll notice more on normal routes than you had.
    Jim

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  20. It's not so much that transportation cycling is not "enough", as that I view them as entirely separate activities (transport vs sport). I think that any time one gets into a sport/training/exercise routine that really agrees with them, there is a natural tendency of both the body and the mind to get addicted. My friends who go to the gym start climbing the walls if their schedules prevent them from working out for a couple of days, so it's by no means limited to cycling. But essentially I am conservative when it comes to my limitations and do not do anything if I feel that it is unsafe.

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  21. Solving bad weather riding problems brought my "transport" miles from about 800 to 1000 miles a year (+25%). However, getting addicted to longer rides for fun and exercise over the same time changed my additional "sport" miles from about 200 to 3,000 miles per year (fifteen fold increase). I now go stir crazy if I cannot get in several longer fun and exercise rides ever week, (in addition to daily errands/commuting). To keep this up in the winter, I often have to use my slower, heavier, wider-tired transport bike not only for commuting, but also for the longer exercise, sport rides. It's worth it to me, but I'd rather ride a slow bike outside under most any conditions than a fast one inside pedaling on rollers!

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  22. You might find the ride of an 80s style rigid mountain bike suitably close to the feeling of a road bike, but perhaps more forgiving on a variety of surfaces (I personally haven't taken a road bike out in snow/ice).

    Untextured ice is still be to treated gingerly, and deep heavy snow will still grind you to a halt, but otherwise I've managed well even with plain knobbies. A little bit of fish tailing is fun.

    Falling isn't even so bad. As long as the little meter in my head was forecasting a good chance losing control, I've managed to get back up unscathed. The only really unpleasant fall I remember is the first time I hit black ice, the ninja hazard. That stuff is an order of magnitude more slippery than any visible ice. Err on the side of riding in slush than risking wet asphalt you aren't sure about.

    Oh, and these things, apparently called ADA Curb Ramps, are almost as slippery as metal when wet. FYI if you happen to encounter them at trail/road transitions.

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  23. tugrul said...
    "...A little bit of fish tailing is fun... Falling isn't even so bad."


    Um... No : ) Both very bad, don't want!

    But I believe you about the MTBs. There is a wicked snow storm out right now and I just walked a mile to the 24 hr grocery store and then the same distance back. There is like a foot of snow, and the roads were absolutely empty... except for a lone MTB cyclist. Not even cars were out; just him and the snow plows!

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  24. Not really on topic but after looking at the pictures I was thinking: "Why would anyone buy a Bianchi in any colour other than celeste?" It certainly is pretty.

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  25. Nice Bianchi, though the frame looks a size too big for its intended purpose.

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  26. I know from previous posts that you don't use studded tires. But I do and I am very satisfied with the results. Ice is just not a problem. The bike feels like it is on rails. The tradeoff is that the tires are noisy on pavement. For me it is worth it. I have a Surly LHT and a Bridgestone XO-4 both equipped with the studded snows. I use both bikes to commute from Milton to Quincy and for recreational rides in the Blue Hills. Your Rivendell would certainly fit snows. Not so sure about the other road bikes. I know a number of the staff at Harris Cyclery commune with studs. They probably have some ideas to share.

    As for the very cold days, I don my downhill ski helmet and goggles. When the temperature gets down to the teens or below I add a full face mask. The ski goggles solve the eye watering problem and the face mask handles the runny noise and freezing face. With the goggles I loose some peripheral vision. I need to turn my head more to look from side to side. But that is manageable. I find the car drivers take extra caution during these conditions.

    I agree with MIDI that winter cycling is not the same as the other three seasons. But I need my bike fix!

    Best,
    RJD

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  27. Sportif winter riding in Boston isn't bad once they clear the snow from the streets. I've done doing it for a few seasons and (for me) it's mostly about keeping hands (cold hands make your entire body feel cold) and feet warm (expired charcoal ski warmers are very nice to have).

    On the subject of mittens: I prefer barend shifters plus both drop (use them from the drops) and cross (interrupter) brake levers for a safe, mitten-compatible, user interface. Add a second layer of bar tape (and/or gel inserts) to provide more insulation and dampening to allow non-bike specific mittens. Lobster glove are OK (and PI lobsters are warmer because index and ring finger are bundled together) and necessary for STI/Ergo shifters, but never as warm as mittens. You can stock up on windproof mittens for much less money at a camping store (insulated gloves/mittens take days to dry after each ride). I prefer to wear a balaclava under the helmet to keep face and neck warm for temps under mid-30s.

    Bike handling in winter is riskier than summer, but can be managed well. It's much like riding in the rain. I find the risk of slippery roads is mostly related to using too much brake for the conditions (too much brake + not enough traction = fall), more than any risk of the bike sliding out while cornering or pedaling in a straight line (even over ice). Disc brakes are nice to have (because they stay fairly clean) but often have too much power, which can be bad if you brake for dogs, cats, woodland creatures, etc.

    Go slower and beef up the bike+rider weight with fat tires, fenders (a must), extra brake levers, and lots of clothing. This makes the first half of the summer season extra fun because you instantly lose 10-15 lbs when you get on the summer road bike...

    Enjoy!

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  28. At my last job, I had a 27 mile round trip commute between Watertown and Bedford, which I did year round on the ANT Club Racer (w/ 700x28 Paselas -- same as what I use in summer cycling) As you've found out, in Winter, the Minuteman is useless until the spring thaws arrive. Mass Ave. isn't that bad for most of Arlington and Lexington, as it is wide enough along most of those stretches. It gets a little wretched when it crosses over 128 and narrows, so I'd prefer to take the left at the fork in Lexington Green and head to 2A then and use that to get into Concord before making up the rest of the route as fancy and road conditions permit.

    The season on which I would actually ride on the Minuteman is a very short one ending around the time that early sunsets can make the path rather dark and forbidding, restarting after spring returns and taking a brief hiatus in the summer high season when it's too retardedly crowded to make any real progress.

    as for why anyone would want to go road cycling in the winter? For me, if I plan on doing any randonneuring in the spring, my current commute is not sufficient to maintain conditioning before the first rides on the calendar come up in April, and I hate riding indoors. Besides, on the really cold, dry days, there's a lovely clarity to the light and crispness to the scents in the air. I swear it makes the hot chocolate taste better.

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  29. oh, and I'm curious about your opinion on Icebreaker. I tried on some of their stuff when I was visiting a retail store in Montreal ... it was nice, but not quite as smooth or supple as the layers from Ibex (have you checked out the new Ibex store on Newbury, yet?) I will certainly allow that this first impression may be tempered by a few washes, but wasn't quite up to paying for full retail to find out.

    The stuff we've bought from Ibex, btw, have been fantastic. Worth considering if you're in the market, and the outlet/sale section of their website has some tempting deals from time to time.

    Also, regarding nose drips: I have the same issue, and at the risk of being a cooties-ridden boy, I should say that it was a revelation to comprehend the real purpose of the little terry cloth patch at the base of all cyclist gloves.

    (or, as my mechanic, Tyler, pointed out to me: 'there is a reason why most cyclists don't shake hands. Fist bump, man, it's more sanitary.')

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  30. I have to agree with Jim; learning how to effectively use the snot-rocket technique is invaluable for winter sports. Though it may not be ladylike/gentlemanly, it saves you from the abrasion of your nose and upper lip that result from constantly dabbing at the trickle.

    A word of caution: until you are proficient, some attempts will end up on your cheek, chest, shoulder, and/or hair. I still think it's worth it; ymmv.

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  31. I think that one of the snot-rocket experts here needs to write a post of their own, with an illustrated how-to : ))

    Anon 7:08 - Yes, the bike is a size too big. See here and here.

    RJD - Are you sure about the guys at Harris using studded tires? Boston does not usually have snow on the roads, as it gets salted and plowed immediately, and my understanding was that studs slow you down and can even be more slippery than regular tires unless you are on actual snow. I've been advised against them by pretty much every serious local cyclist I've spoken to. Hm.

    Anon 10:13 - I can't hold my hands on the "tops" position, so the interruptor brake levers would not do me any good.

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  32. Velouria said...
    I think that one of the snot-rocket experts here needs to write a post of their own, with an illustrated how-to : ))

    Gross. I can't (and wouldn't want to) provide illustrations, but the instructions are fairly simple provided that one waits until the snot is quite runny. The importance of runniness cannot be overemphasized.

    1. Cover one nostril (I push the nostril closed against my septum, others prefer to place their thumb over the nostril) and close your mouth.

    2. Angle your head in such a way that the open nostril is aimed away from anything you don't want snot on.

    3. Give a short, sharp exhale through the open nostril. Try to avoid wrinkling your nose when you do this as it may restrict airflow, perhaps preventing your mucus from reaching escape velocity.

    4. Wipe away your mistakes.

    On one's first few attempts, the self conscious snot-rocketeer may prefer to wait until he or she is alone before performing this maneuver. Good luck!

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  33. Velouria said:
    Are you sure about the guys at Harris using studded tires?

    Maybe they just wanted to sell me the tires. ;-) Really, the folks at Harris aren't like that - as you know. And it's not just some of the guys there. At least one of the gals uses them to commute from JP. Ask Elton.

    I used them all last winter. I'm not a strong cyclist (but I do consider myself a serious one) so I never tested ultimate cornering traction. I have no problems with slipping on dry pavement. Just the hum as I mentioned before. I do think they are slower compared to my 3 season road slicks. They added about two minutes to my usual 30 minute commute that day we had snow last week. But it is a price I pay to feel comfortable when there is ice or icy snow. I think I might have been even slower without the studs that day. The back roads of east Milton were not well plowed or sanded. I'm glad a couple of my bikes have 'em.

    I bet the Minuteman BikePath, that day you switched to the roads, would have been vey doable with studded tires. So name your poison. Auto traffic or tire hum and a bit more exertion. Keeps you warm on a cold winter sport ride. :-)

    RJD

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  34. cris - As far as tops go, I can only compare Icebreaker to Smartwool and I/O Bio, and I prefer Icebreaker by far of the three. Smartwool has a rougher feel to it, whereas I/O Bio is not quite as good quality-wise. I do own some Ibex cycling knickers, which I love, but have not tried any of their tops.

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  35. "Snot-Rockets"...maybe it was a matter of learning to road-ride in Marin County, CA with folks originally from the Deep South, but I had always heard it described as a "Farmer John". Same technique, though.


    I'm laughing inside at the sound of either term uttered in the stereotypical Hahvahd accent.

    When doing this in a group, take the outside corner out of courtesy. Else your ride mates *will* make you clean their bikes.

    Corey K

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  36. OOO, you bought the Gores. They are toasty, and braking with them will become easier as you get used to them. I put them on the other day, for about the sixth time total, and didn't even notice the lobster part. I just braked and rode and did my thing. It was raining and very cold, and I did about eight miles, and the Gores were bone-dry inside when I stopped. I don't know how they'd do on a long ride in the rain, but so far, so good.

    They do need to be dried out when you stop, though, as they will eventually get damp inside if left, say, wet on a shelf in your garage... . Then when you put them on the next day, they will not be comfy.

    I wouldn't ride a road bike near an icy road, either. You can do longer rides on your "transport" bikes. I have done 20 miles on a Raleigh Sports, for heaven's sake. I mean, it's not a century, but do you really want to ride that far when it's cold? I know, you're really into the Bianchi right now and just want to ride it. We've probably all been there. Stupid winter. I just took my Panasonic with me on a trip in our RV. It ended up sitting up in front for two days, as it absolutely poured the whole time and even I'm not dumb enough to take my minty road bike out in horizontal squalls on unfamiliar roads. But I was hopeful, you know?

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  37. odd question, but what kind of pants?

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  38. Anon - They are I/O Bio merino capri pants, worn over knee-high wool socks.

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  39. ah, thanks! I wish I could find something like that for men's... any suggestions? I would ideally like something wool (not into synthetics) and could be used all(most) weather. I have icebreaker base layer pants but want something 3/4 length like you have for over them. I don't think i/o bio makes then for guys.

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  40. as for glasses, i would look into Rudy Project. they have numerous models with interchangeable lenses for various conditions

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  41. Ah I know I'm a few months late to finding this but I did the same thing this year. I rode my bike on Christmas day it was a wonderful ride I loved it. First time I ever rode in weather that cold but thing for me that worked and always does is layers. As for gloves I used good old fashioned thick lined leather gloves not mittens gloves and they work so well for keeping the wind out while allowing you to use the brakes easily. Only thing I wished I had was my goggles with me hadn't thought to bring them. I doubt in reality I will be riding that much in the cold winter but it was fun running straight down the middle of one of the busiest roads in my town almost close to being a highway. LOL But like any riding or activity in the cold part it's all how you dress. Far as with snowy weather? I haven't done any riding in snow since I was 10 and that was a one time thing for me never again with chance of snow or ice. heck worrying about the sand is bad enough.
    Cheers
    Jim

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  42. Wanted to post an update: I now have a pair of wool grippy gloves by DeFeet that keep my hands just as warm as these lobster gloves without the bulkiness.

    Oh and I second Kyle's Feb 9 8:53 recommendation for Rudy Project glasses; love mine for both summer and winter.

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