What are your cold weather ebike limits?

legsofbeer

Active Member
The battery takes a big hit on the colder temps!
Yep, I've noticed the decline starting in below 50 degree riding. Limit for me is 40 degrees, which almost never happens here. Gloves and (now) a face covering bandana helps. If I had to do this often I'd get some kind of wool beanie to go under the helmet.

Wonder what wattage handlebar grip warmers would draw?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
There's one factor I think many e-bikers overlook when riding at cold temperatures: Own riding speed. Just imagine you riding at 24 km/h (15 mph) at the temperature of 4 C (40 F) into 20 km/h (12 mph) wind. The total air-flow would be travelling at the sum of the wind speed and your own speed, contributing to dramatic cooling effect. To be able to survive any longer ride at such conditions we need winter helmets, balaclavas, goggles, multiple layers of clothing with the windbreaker being the most important layer, good gloves, heated socks and heavy boots. While I can spot elderly countryside women bravely pedalling their conventional bikes for grocery shopping. How come? They ride very slowly and for short distances.

Unfortunately, e-bike rides rather fast and makes us want long trips; that makes winter e-biking hard.
 

Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
When the snow falls here in NJ, rest assured the highway crews are out salting our roadways. So that puts a major halt to any riding at all, until the sun comes out again, dries the roadways and exposes the shoulders I ride on.

When it's cold and clear, though, I'll ride down into the 30's and 20's. But long rides over 20 miles are out; there is simply not enough sunlight in the day and even at that, a warmish sun at noon fades away quick when it begins it's fast descent into dusk. Having had a long history of flat tires on this fatbike of mine, the last thing I want to do is to catch a flat some 10 miles or beyond away from home, knowing sundown is just an hour or so away. Dressing warm is one thing. To have to suddenly stop to make a repair is an invitation of going hyperthermic. That is about the greatest fear and dread I have of going out on a late morning/early afternoon ride, in the dead of winter.

The things we take for granted on a hot July afternoon gone into evening takes on a whole different dimension when the sun goes down at 4:39 pm and that icy wind comes blowing off the Delaware River. Having worked professionally in the USCG for many years; including several tours on icebreaking tugs on the Delaware and Hudson Rivers as well as a tour on the Mississippi (getting caught on a minus 15 degree F night, some 40 miles south of our homeport on our last river patrol/buoy ops trip of the season) forces a new and deep respect for the ice and the cold.

But there are those things you see in the dead of winter that most folks staying home, all nice and warm, that are magical and worth the chance in taking, things the vast majority of folks will never see.....
 

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Dallant

Well-Known Member
Yep, I've noticed the decline starting in below 50 degree riding. Limit for me is 40 degrees, which almost never happens here. Gloves and (now) a face covering bandana helps. If I had to do this often I'd get some kind of wool beanie to go under the helmet.

Wonder what wattage handlebar grip warmers would draw?
This works pretty well and covers my ears nicely.
 

RabH

Well-Known Member
There's one factor I think many e-bikers overlook when riding at cold temperatures: Own riding speed. Just imagine you riding at 24 km/h (15 mph) at the temperature of 4 C (40 F) into 20 km/h (12 mph) wind. The total air-flow would be travelling at the sum of the wind speed and your own speed, contributing to dramatic cooling effect. To be able to survive any longer ride at such conditions we need winter helmets, balaclavas, goggles, multiple layers of clothing with the windbreaker being the most important layer, good gloves, heated socks and heavy boots. While I can spot elderly countryside women bravely pedalling their conventional bikes for grocery shopping. How come? They ride very slowly and for short distances.

Unfortunately, e-bike rides rather fast and makes us want long trips; that makes winter e-biking hard.
They must make us tough in Scotland, I mostly wear the same clothes as summer (we have cold summers) but add about 3 more layers if its 3C or below! Overshoes make a huge difference, if you can keep your feet, hands and head warm you can ride long distances in winter! The only thing that stops me is ice and snow...
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
Like some others have commented, I'm not sure about my limits on air temperature yet, but I am pretty sure about surface conditions. I'm not going out on ice, which we tend to get a lot of here. I suspect, with the riding gear I have at present, that I'll be comfortable to about -5 or -6 C, which is around 20F.

It's got to be fun, otherwise I'll grind away on the stationary bike downstairs. In years past I tended to put my bike away at the beginning of November, but with the new e-MTB, I'm more inclined to get out there and try it out.

We get a weather phenomenon here called a "Chinook", which is a warm wind that comes over the Rockies and warms things up, sometimes dramaticly. 2 hours south of here, in a place called Pincher Creek, it caused the temps to go from -19C to +22C in ONE hour. That was in 1962 and we often get fluctuations of 20C day to day here. It sure plays havoc with roads and for many unfortunate souls, their health.

I think a lot of Western American cities, like Denver, experience similar. Of course regional wind driven weather is nothing new, but ours here can make it interesting...and will likely enable more winter cycling.
 

RolandSchitt

New Member
I'm surprised how many won't go out in temps under 45 or 50. I hate the cold, but I'd rather deal with the cold than be stuck in a car to and from work.

There's a saying about how there's no such thing as cold weather, just wrong clothing.
 

Prairie Dog

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Red Deer
Like some others have commented, I'm not sure about my limits on air temperature yet, but I am pretty sure about surface conditions. I'm not going out on ice, which we tend to get a lot of here. I suspect, with the riding gear I have at present, that I'll be comfortable to about -5 or -6 C, which is around 20F.

It's got to be fun, otherwise I'll grind away on the stationary bike downstairs. In years past I tended to put my bike away at the beginning of November, but with the new e-MTB, I'm more inclined to get out there and try it out.

We get a weather phenomenon here called a "Chinook", which is a warm wind that comes over the Rockies and warms things up, sometimes dramaticly. 2 hours south of here, in a place called Pincher Creek, it caused the temps to go from -19C to +22C in ONE hour. That was in 1962 and we often get fluctuations of 20C day to day here. It sure plays havoc with roads and for many unfortunate souls, their health.

I think a lot of Western American cities, like Denver, experience similar. Of course regional wind driven weather is nothing new, but ours here can make it interesting...and will likely enable more winter cycling.
Chinooks certainly make our winters here more tolerable don't they, particularly after several cold spells that we experienced last season when the mercury plummeted to -40C on several occasions. Those are the kind of days when you hope and pray for a ‘Snow Eater’ to answer your call for a reprieve. Calgary and points south likely experience this phenomenon more frequently than we do here in the central region of the province so it's always a welcome sight to see that prominent arch in the sky. Fortunately, the solid number of sunlight hours that Albertans receive during the shorter days contributes significantly to having a more optimistic outlook to winter cycling and other similar activities. Plus, there‘s no greater feeling than to have those warm rays beam down upon your face when it's bitterly cold around you. Much of the draw for me with respect to venturing out during sub zero days is that I know for a fact that the local trails will be virtually deserted….which is a good thing.

With that being said, I should add that cold is a relative term. I have great respect for those of who live nearby large bodies of water frequented by strong wind gusts. Lake effect weather/snow in particular can be quite severe in nature and is amplified by the cold traveling air mass. We experience somewhat of a dry cold here which, at times, may feel warmer than cold moist air but I'll leave that theory to those who have experienced both extremes. Then there are those who simply enjoy throwing caution to the wind. 🥶

https://www.meetup.com/Alberta-FUN-Paddlers/photos/all_photos/?photoAlbumId=31153178
 

Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
I don’t mind how cold it is. As the Norwegians like to say “ there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”. I layer up and go wherever I am in the world.

However I hate biking in very windy days , ebike or analogue. Anything at or above 20mph/32kph I don’t ride.
 

Latitude

Well-Known Member
There's one factor I think many e-bikers overlook when riding at cold temperatures: Own riding speed. Just imagine you riding at 24 km/h (15 mph) at the temperature of 4 C (40 F) into 20 km/h (12 mph) wind. The total air-flow would be travelling at the sum of the wind speed and your own speed, contributing to dramatic cooling effect. To be able to survive any longer ride at such conditions we need winter helmets, balaclavas, goggles, multiple layers of clothing with the windbreaker being the most important layer, good gloves, heated socks and heavy boots. While I can spot elderly countryside women bravely pedalling their conventional bikes for grocery shopping. How come? They ride very slowly and for short distances.

Unfortunately, e-bike rides rather fast and makes us want long trips; that makes winter e-biking hard.
Stefan, good points. As a sailor, I am familiar with the concept of apparent wind; it’s critical for racing upwind or downwind.
I finally feel as of today that I have my winter gear in order. Goretex sailing boots with heated socks, lined rain pants, layered a Goretex windbreaker over a fleece pullover and a technical, wicking light shirt. Lightweight balaclava under a lightweight touque under my helmet. And finally, a pair of heated gloves arrived this morning that were outstanding on my 4C, 2 hour ride today. I took the gloves off to take a photo in windy conditions by the lake and within minutes my fingers were cold. Put them back in the gloves and they were soon fine again. Bring on the snow... it’s coming soon.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Stefan, good points. As a sailor, I am familiar with the concept of apparent wind; it’s critical for racing upwind or downwind.
I finally feel as of today that I have my winter gear in order. Goretex sailing boots with heated socks, lined rain pants, layered a Goretex windbreaker over a fleece pullover and a technical, wicking light shirt. Lightweight balaclava under a lightweight touque under my helmet. And finally, a pair of heated gloves arrived this morning that were outstanding on my 4C, 2 hour ride today. I took the gloves off to take a photo in windy conditions by the lake and within minutes my fingers were cold. Put them back in the gloves and they were soon fine again. Bring on the snow... it’s coming soon.
Be careful out there!🥶
 

Luto

Active Member
Until it is too dangerous from either road conditions or weather. Sleet and freezing rain are no go's. Also so cold, you can put enough clothing on and still move freely. I also remember cars have poor field of vision in the rain. Wind is no big deal. Went out the other day in 25mph gusting to 45mph. Just watched out for falling trees. Located in the PNW
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
When the snow falls here in NJ, rest assured the highway crews are out salting our roadways. So that puts a major halt to any riding at all, until the sun comes out again, dries the roadways and exposes the shoulders I ride on.

When it's cold and clear, though, I'll ride down into the 30's and 20's. But long rides over 20 miles are out; there is simply not enough sunlight in the day and even at that, a warmish sun at noon fades away quick when it begins it's fast descent into dusk. Having had a long history of flat tires on this fatbike of mine, the last thing I want to do is to catch a flat some 10 miles or beyond away from home, knowing sundown is just an hour or so away. Dressing warm is one thing. To have to suddenly stop to make a repair is an invitation of going hyperthermic. That is about the greatest fear and dread I have of going out on a late morning/early afternoon ride, in the dead of winter.

The things we take for granted on a hot July afternoon gone into evening takes on a whole different dimension when the sun goes down at 4:39 pm and that icy wind comes blowing off the Delaware River. Having worked professionally in the USCG for many years; including several tours on icebreaking tugs on the Delaware and Hudson Rivers as well as a tour on the Mississippi (getting caught on a minus 15 degree F night, some 40 miles south of our homeport on our last river patrol/buoy ops trip of the season) forces a new and deep respect for the ice and the cold.

But there are those things you see in the dead of winter that most folks staying home, all nice and warm, that are magical and worth the chance in taking, things the vast majority of folks will never see.....
I envy you, since you photographed a bald eagle. I see them by the river fairly often but they never sit still long enough to get a shot, in the Summer anyway.
 

Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
I envy you, since you photographed a bald eagle. I see them by the river fairly often but they never sit still long enough to get a shot, in the Summer anyway.
Thanks so much, Art! That eagle was photographed in what is called the Abbott Marsh, Crosswicks Creek, Bordentown, New Jersey. There is a large eagles nest built on a tree within the marsh, a good ways away from the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath where I snapped the shot from using my old reliable 6mp Kodak camera. The New Jersey Transit RiverLine light rail tracks are opposite me. The D&R canal splits the towpath and railroad line.

Each winter when the leaves are gone, people will come with their binocs and long distance camera lenses and photograph the goings on within the nest, which has been an active one every year I've been riding this canal towpath. Here are a few more pics. The first shot was taken in Dec of 2017. Second pic is from Nov 2018, showing a close up of the nest. Shots 3 and 4, again, Nov 2018. #5 is from Jan 2019. The last two are from February, 2020. Every winter, they have chicks that I can often spot sticking their heads up out of the nest. The nest is in a great spot, isolated and in an area with enough small wildlife and fish to keep the young ones well fed.
 

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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
A friend of mine has a spotting scope set up in his cabin aimed at a nest on the the opposite shore. The nest seemed to be about the size of a large SUV when I saw it from a boat.