Winter Is Coming - Biking in Cold Weather

ColeWorld

Member
Region
USA
Alright, I've settled on a few things - got the Bar Mitts Extreme cold weather and a wool base layer pants/shirt from Minus 33. I'll also get a balaclava. I already have rain pants and jacket and winter pants and ski bibs, so I think I'll see if I can make due with those.

As for riding safety, I found another route to my son's daycare that sticks to quieter streets, so I am feeling pretty good about that. Still not sure what to do about tires. I talked to a worker at my LBS, and he said that for my use case (primarily biking on roads that have been plowed), winter tires with studs would actually be detrimental to control due to the metal studs on the pavement. He didn't have any recommendation for tires that would be better than the ones I have.

That response doesn't seem right to me. Everything I've read says that studs wouldn't be any less safe on dry pavement - just noisier and more resistance rolling. And obviously they'd be better in snow and slush. I'm leaning toward getting the Schwalbe Winter tires. Looks like they come in 27.5x2.0, which would be a bit narrower than my current tire 27.5x2.3.

Appreciate any additional thoughts on the tire question.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
When you get cold, add a layer on your head. It's the outdoor creed. I ride with a balaclava, snowboard helmet, and ski goggles when it gets really cold. I use Specialized deep winter lobster gloves. https://www.specialized.com/us/en/e...4pFlCEwX3BLL7pfSGAT4GmrzxSd2ptmcaAvjKEALw_wcB
Absolutely get a set of studded tires. My biggest tip is that weather can change in an hour in Chicago, I live in Peoria. What was a pretty decent ride in the morning, can become a collarbone breaker in the evening as the sun gets low. I broke my collarbone because a row of trees was giving just enough shade on the street that it was instantly black ice on a wet street. Frozen slush and footprints are killers, any precipitation on top of ice is a killer.
 

ColeWorld

Member
Region
USA
When you get cold, add a layer on your head. It's the outdoor creed. I ride with a balaclava, snowboard helmet, and ski goggles when it gets really cold. I use Specialized deep winter lobster gloves. https://www.specialized.com/us/en/e...4pFlCEwX3BLL7pfSGAT4GmrzxSd2ptmcaAvjKEALw_wcB
Absolutely get a set of studded tires. My biggest tip is that weather can change in an hour in Chicago, I live in Peoria. What was a pretty decent ride in the morning, can become a collarbone breaker in the evening as the sun gets low. I broke my collarbone because a row of trees was giving just enough shade on the street that it was instantly black ice on a wet street. Frozen slush and footprints are killers, any precipitation on top of ice is a killer.
Thanks Rich, that’s exactly the experience I needed to hear. Hope your collarbone has made a full recovery.

Any concerns with moving from. 2.3 inch width to 2.0? I’m thinking if I run the 2.0 width winter tires at the low end of the tire pressure that should alleviate any smoothness and traction disadvantages?
 

mclewis1

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Fredericton, NB
As for riding safety, I found another route to my son's daycare that sticks to quieter streets, so I am feeling pretty good about that. Still not sure what to do about tires. I talked to a worker at my LBS, and he said that for my use case (primarily biking on roads that have been plowed), winter tires with studs would actually be detrimental to control due to the metal studs on the pavement. He didn't have any recommendation for tires that would be better than the ones I have.

That response doesn't seem right to me. Everything I've read says that studs wouldn't be any less safe on dry pavement - just noisier and more resistance rolling. And obviously they'd be better in snow and slush. I'm leaning toward getting the Schwalbe Winter tires. Looks like they come in 27.5x2.0, which would be a bit narrower than my current tire 27.5x2.3.

Appreciate any additional thoughts on the tire question.
I ride all winter on plowed urban/suburban trails and streets and always use studded tires (in my case 45nrth Khava 2.1" tires). I've noticed aggressively studded tires offer slightly less grip on bare pavement ... and it's a bit worse on wet pavement. It's even more apparent on smooth concrete. Tires like the Schwalbe Winter tires (not the Spikers) that offer fewer studs and more "winter" rubber surface seems to have less issues when there's no snow or ice, but these tires don't do as good a job in accumulated soft snow or slush.

Even with aggressively lugged and studded tires it's IMHO not enough of an issue to be concerned about ... just be aware that it can happen and it will likely surprise you when the grip releases a bit sooner than you expect.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
January 1, 2022. Cashmere and windbreaker with light gloves.
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tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
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PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
I lived in Northern North Dakota & Upstate NY. But now am in the alternate universe CA. Now I get to see the snow in the mountains from 100Km two times per year. At that distance it looks nice. -38 is about -38 in Canada and the States. F=C. ND was that cold. Then dust storms would cover the snow. It was a two dimensional world. The only 'hill' was a First Nation's ceremonial mound.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
Kids In Finland Continue To Ride Bicycles To School In -17°C (1.4°F) Weather And It’s A Lesson In Commuting
Yeah, for 1-2 kilometres.

This is a Finnish e-biker:
1662901893873.png

He rides his 45 km/h Vado 5.0 (the same as mine) for 90 km round trip everyday in the warm season. I asked him: "Are you riding in the Winter, too?" to which he replied: "No, I don't. It is too cold". Were he less polite, I'm sure his answer would be "ARE YOU MAD?!" :D

It is a pity Tom you saw so little of the world and believe in whatever is put in the print.
 

Prairie Dog

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Red Deer
@ColeWorld - Since you are considering a set of studded tires for your ride, why not treat your winter footwear to some similar grip if, by chance, you do come upon ice and need to dismount.

I’ve worn these ice cleats on my winter rides all last season and they have saved me from slipping and falling many times over. 👍


IMG_20220911_0848596.jpgIMG_20220911_0849410.jpg
 
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tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
It is a pity Tom you saw so little of the world and believe in whatever is put in the print.
Always the insulting asshat Mikes. You know nothing of my life and travels. Your one friend is the litmus test for Finnish winter riders. Sure enough Stefan. You never disappoint. You’re consistent I’ll say that. Always a “Richard”. A keyboard warrior. Its what i get for letting your posts out of ignore.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
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Prairie Dog

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Red Deer
Yeah, for 1-2 kilometres.

This is a Finnish e-biker:
View attachment 134911
He rides his 45 km/h Vado 5.0 (the same as mine) for 90 km round trip everyday in the warm season. I asked him: "Are you riding in the Winter, too?" to which he replied: "No, I don't. It is too cold". Were he less polite, I'm sure his answer would be "ARE YOU MAD?!" :D

It is a pity Tom you saw so little of the world and believe in whatever is put in the print.
I think that it depends on who you talk to. I know a few avid cyclists here who only ride during the summer and shoulder seasons but refuse to ride in winter conditions. On the flip side, most who do are usually well prepared, are dressed for the weather and enjoy what winter brings and the fact that frequent and full sunny days here make it all worthwhile. That being said, it’s a fact that bike infrastructure and snow removal are key for people to get out more often once the snow starts to fly. Personally, I prefer riding in the snow and cold over grey skies and rain any day of the week.

 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
I think that it depends on who you talk to. I know a few avid cyclists here who only ride during the summer and shoulder seasons but refuse to ride in winter conditions. On the flip side, most who do are usually well prepared, are dressed for the weather and enjoy what winter brings and the fact that frequent and full sunny days here make it all worthwhile. That being said, it’s a fact that bike infrastructure and snow removal are key for people to get out more often once the snow starts to fly. Personally, I prefer riding in the snow and cold over grey skies and rain any day of the week.

Art: do you know many riders who set off for long rides during Canadian winters? I do cycle all year long. Yet, I fully understand the need of very proper clothing, often heated; and spiked tyres. I had one long ride at -9 C minimum and in a blizzard and I can clearly say: a) it is not for everybody b) Riding at extreme low temperatures is very dangerous. You know that.