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How Cold Was Your Commute Today?

by Bike Shop Girl

As you might of seen from the comments from our post earlier in the week some people ride in rather cold weather!

What was the weather like on your commute? What is the coldest you have ridden or commuted in? How did you dress to keep warm and dry?

Share your stories!

 
Burley nomad 269

28 Responses to “How Cold Was Your Commute Today?”

  1. Toddorado says:

    Details of last Monday’s chilly commute here. A week later (last night/this morning), didn’t even need a jacket and used only one layer of regular cycling gloves.

    Love the variety of a winter commute!

  2. Mase says:

    Today in Houston, TX, it was in the mid-40s for my morning commute. A long-sleeve merino wool base-layer, a fleece vest, my thin yellow rain jacket, and REI Sahara convertible pants (along with wool gloves with liners, merino beanie under the helmet, and wool ankle socks) was my dress (I change into a suit at work — keep a bunch there in my office with shirts et al.). The outfit was actually a little too warm for my 2+ mile commute — I had to unzip the rain jacket and fleece at the first light. As it will be in the 70s by the time I ride home today, I’ll go without the rain jacket, fleece, gloves, and beanie.

    The coldest I commuted/rode in was when I lived back in Minneapolis between undergraduate and graduate school. I’d commute from the Kenwood area to the University of Minnesota (for extension classes) 3 times a week (about 5-6 miles). Often it would be well below zero and snowing when I rode. As I tend to generate a lot of heat riding, I’d wear a thin base-layer (a synthetic back then before I knew better about merino), long-johns, jeans, button-up or turtleneck, thick wool sweater, and thin wind-jacket. Often, I’d get rid of the wind-jacket half-way through the ride because I was too warm, even in below-zero riding. A balaclava or neck gator was also very helpful (though another thing I’d have to regulate to prevent from being too warm). Skiing gloves (this was before snowboarding) and a thick wool hat or headband completed the dress.

    At that time in my life, I only used a helmet for triathlons, did not have any ‘blinkies’ or lights, and had minimal reflective items. I’ve now learned better (riding in Houston, and NYC before that, taught me well). Front light, front/rear reelites, two blinkies, are now always on whenever I ride (love the annoying Planet Bike SuperFlash). My cranks have retro-reflective tape on them as well. Also I usually ride with the rain jacket at dawn/dusk for the big reflective stripe on the back. Soon, I’m getting some more 3M retro-reflective tape (Scotchlite Black — reflects white) with which to wrap the top tube and the top-half of the seat tube (over a base of electrical tape for easier removal). Maybe overkill, but I want to be sure to be seen. And using black won’t change the look of the bike during the day.

    Probably more than most of you wanted to know (grin).

  3. jason (sd) says:

    My coldest commute so far happened Feb. 15 2007, -15 F. My wife and I did not ride any extra that morning, so it was just the 2 miles in to work. Not sure if I remember exactly, but I can get close to what I was wearing. Balaclava, wide fleece band for my neck, work closes (blue jeans, synthetic button down shirt), mid weight (for South Dakota) lined coat, light weight lined jacket for wind breaker on top, wind breaker pants over my jeans, one pair normal socks, one pair wool knee socks, regular hiking boots. For my hands I have some good lined gloves, probably ski gloves, and handlebar mitts. I have not found a glove yet to keep my hands worm without the handlebar mitts, especially my thumbs.
    If I remember right my toes and my thighs got cold after a while, and my head started cold and then warmed up.

  4. Mark Evans says:

    In Toronto, it’s 23 degrees (fahrenheit) so it’s cold. I wear a fleece as well as a shell, snowpants and a balaclava.

  5. Tim says:

    My commute was 10 C this morning and, as always, 11 minutes long. But it was dark both ways!

  6. McAngryPants says:

    I used to ride in Toronto…From St. Clair to Front every day. oh…my…god that was cold some times. My fav was the rare “wind chill warning” where exposed flesh can freeze w/ 60 seconds of exposure.

    Me likey wet Portland now! no freeeeeeezing

  7. Nicole says:

    Wow, do I spy a fellow South Dakotan? Knowing how cold it gets there, I really can’t complain about my Colorado commute. Today, it was about 35 degrees and since my commute is very short I just had on my work clothes, dress coat, and some fleece gloves.

    However, since it does get fairly cold on occasion here, and I try to keep biking year round, I’ve worked up a pretty effective hodge podge layering system for biking around town in cold weather. When it gets in the teens or 20ish, on the bottom, I’ll wear my wool yoga pants (with possibly another layer underneath depending on the cold) stuffed into wool ski socks. If I feel it’s necessary, I’ll layer another pair of wool socks underneath the ski socks. For the top, I’ll wear a baselayer (synthetic or wool), fleece and windbreaker. Depending on the cold, I might wear a soft shell jacket in place of the fleece. For my hands, I either layer a couple thinner pairs of gloves or throw on my ski gloves. I’ll put one of my really thin, fleece-lined hats under my helmet and wear clear lensed glasses to keep the cold (and possibly random tree branches) out of my eyes.

  8. Fritz says:

    Uff dah! (My wife is a Swedish blond from Rapid City.. She talks funny when she’s on the phone with her family “ya ya, you betcha”)

    A pleasant 5° with fog in the SF Bay Area today. T-shirt weather for me (moved from Boulder); the Californians were all bundled up in scarves and hats and ski gloves.

    The heavy rain that hit the Northwest the other day is expected here tomorrow evening.

  9. kaz kougar says:

    Too warm for this time of year (for my taste anyway). Upper 40s and wet pavement. We in the Southern Willamette Valley were fortunate enough to only see minimal effects of Monday’s storms that have left the rest of the NW a mess. I prefer 30′s and clear this time year but I’ll take what’s given to me and be thankful for little to no wind as a good head wind can be pretty unforgiving towards a single speed bike commuter.

  10. uep says:

    Beautiful, sunny, and still fresh and cool at 7am, perfect riding weather on the cycle paths this morning. Heading for a warmer ride home this afternoon (forecast 32C), perhaps after a beer or two downstairs on the waterfront with coworkers before setting off. Dressed in shy-shorts and a light cycle tee. Sunglasses mandatory, flashy blinkenlights pointless because it won’t be dark until around 9pm (though I too love my Planet Bike SuperFlash, and it starts being usefully visible earlier).

    Sorry guys, but warm greetings from Melbourne AU, where it is (at last) not winter anymore.

  11. The first big snow storm came to the City of Big Shoulders last night with 4+ inches. Temps at 9pm when 12 of us struck across the city hovered around 29 degrees. Today it’s dipping to 12! Get on the layers … lots and lots of layers %)

  12. Nancy says:

    For the last couple of days here in Ann Arbor, MI it has been about 20 some degrees. I wear a snowsuit, which works great as a windblocker. I also tie a scarf so that it covers my nose and wear a hat under my helmet. Finally, I have some nice insulated boots that I got from a thrift store. Oh! and I can’t forget nice warm mittens, which work way better than gloves.

  13. Arleigh says:

    uep – I am so jealous. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger..

  14. Choke says:

    My commute in Fremont, Ca is currently in the 40′s when it’s dark, 60′s or 70′s when it’s light out. I usually wear my work clothes, dickie’s shorts and t-shirts unless it’s raining. When it’s cold, I’ll add some arm warmers, a wind breaker, or a hoodie. In SoCal, I’d wear tights, sweatshirt, and full finger gloves when it dropped into the 30′s.

  15. Mark says:

    It’s been running in the low 20s F all week here RI. I’ve been seeing a few flakes of snow flying around during the rides home recently, but no substantial snow to speak of yet. I’d rather have it clearly into the freezing zone than hovering around freezing with the potential for freezing rain. I can dress appropriately to stay warm when it’s cold, but trying to stay dry AND warm is much tougher.

  16. Jim Carson says:

    The Issaquah-Redmond-Bellevue (WA) triangle was 38°F and dry; this is a huge relief from the Pineapple Express that doused us early in the week. It’ll be dark before I leave work. (The eight hour swing of daylight between June and December takes a lot of getting used to.)

  17. Matt! says:

    About 55 degrees and partly cloudy on my commute from E. Los Angeles into downtown LA this morning. 4 miles. Short sleeves and jeans. Last night was chilly, so I put on arm warmers on my 5 mile ride from Heliotrope Village back to E. LA.

  18. Knuckles says:

    It was snowing on my 12 mile ride in yesterday, right around 28-30c. Bike path was empty and dead silent and for the mile or two it goes along Rt 66 in Arlington, VA, I was beating the pants off the cars, moreso than usual. Alas, the roads deteriorated quickly during the day, so at night I rode a mile to the bus stop and bussed it home.

  19. JimCi says:

    “How cold?” That truly depends of one’s definition of cold. I’m from Montreal where the temperature is typically below freezing from early December to Mid-March, with snow on the ground from around Christmas time. But right now, I’m in New Orleans. The high today was in the low 60′s. If I had my bike here, I would have been wearing shorts and short-sleeves jersey, with a light wind-breaker. Locals here today are dressed the way I do when I am riding in the low 30′s! It may be winter here, but for me it feels just like early fall :-)

  20. Rachel says:

    Memphis never gets too cold, though it was 41 degrees F. I get weird looks riding home, but I was warm and enjoying the gorgeous Fall colors on the street. I ran into a guy going clipless on a mountain bike and I rode a little out of my way to talk about riding in Memphis. It was really awesome to see I wasn’t the only one out today.

    I am going to be riding for awhile cuz my death box (Toyota) is leaking something from somewhere (I think they call it an axle, I usually refer to these parts as things) to the tune of $400+. Man, if it were my bike I would sweat it because the guys at the co-op take care of me for next to nothing!!

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the rest of fall and we’ll see if I make it through January. I didn’t last year cuz it was freezing. However, it usually warms up in February.

  21. doug says:

    tonight it was about 50F and raining in northern california (humboldt). while i would gladly ride in freezing temperatures, i just aren’t prepared for the rain yet. stupidly. my bike is fendered, but my raincoat is about ten years old and only kind of water resistant. my old rain pants worked better, but a cat used them as a litterbox over the summer so i had to throw those away. this all means i was soaked to the bone after ten miles. hopefully the rain cape i odered from the center for appropriate transport gets here soon.

  22. david in fla says:

    56F this morning in N-Central Florida, with the dewpoint right around that. A nice cool morning, but not too cool :)

    -David in fla

  23. Paul in Minneapols says:

    As I get use to riding on mostly snow cleared greenways and slushy salted streets, the temps in the morning have been around 4 to 7 and mid teens comming home. Looks like tomorrow will be my first -1 to -8 ride and 10 comming home. Glad it’s only three miles. I did put the clipless pedals back on, going to make it a fast ride. So far every ride on the greeway I have seen other riders, even in the cold mornings.

    Two pairs of socks (wool) and booties, Two pairs of cycling gloves (mid weight inside heayweight), work cloths, wind pants, light jacket, face mask and headband and an insulated helmet. Will be adding gogles soon.

    I hope I don’t wemp out and ride to the bus stop…. : (

  24. Mindy says:

    It was only in the 50s this morning when I rode to choir practice, 9 miles, but it rained on me the whole way. I wore my bike shorts because I knew they would dry fast, and my Gore-Tex jacket. My top half was comfortable but my knees were cold and numb. Sigh…still working on collecting the correct clothes for all weather conditions.

    Mindy in Tucson

  25. It has been a cold week here in Minneapolis as Paul mentioned but it will be colder before winter is over. So far cold hasn’t been an issue as I have my clothing dialed in pretty well with multiple layers and my latest edition, Lake Winter boots which are almost too warm for the temps this week. I intend to ride straight through but will bus when it seems too dangerous; too low windchill, too deep snow, too rough icy ruts like we get when there is a wet snow followed by very cold temps. Coldest I have ridden in is -10 to -15, coldest regular commute about -5 but that was before the Lake Winter boots.

    Clothing strategy, bottom to top:
    Merino wool next to the skin except feet where poly liners seem to draw the moisture away a little better.

    For my feet, Lake Winter boots below 10 degrees, mountain shoes with shoe covers >10 and just toe covers above 40.

    Legs etc. get wind briefs, wool cycling shorts, fuzzy tights & cross country ski pants for the outer layer.

    For my trunk, compression fit merino wool tank top, long sleeve wool base layer, short sleeve wool jersey and/or light wool sweater, both for 0 or colder, and WindStopper jacket with pit zips for the outer layer. Being able to vent BEFORE I get sweaty seems to be the most important. If I let myself get too sweaty before venting, clothes don’t seem to matter so much, I will be cold.

    Hands get short finger cycling gloves, wool gloves topped with WindStopper lobster shells. I have two sizes of the lobster s nohells so I can use thicker wool gloves.

    My head gets some combination of WindStopper headband, balaclava and helmet with cover down to 15 degrees or my downhill ski helmet for colder along with ski goggles but hte ski goggles come off in downtown because they limit visibility too much but for me that’s less than a mile.

    I carry arm and leg warmers & one extra wool or poly shirt in case I didn’t quite have enough but almost never need them since I have it pretty well figured out by this point. I also keep hand and foot heater packs in my kit as emergency gear in case I get stopped by a flat or something that cuts my activity because without the exercise, I would be dangerously under dressed.

    You may have noticed my fondness for wool; this is because it keeps me warmer even if I do get a bit sweaty but more importantly, wool doesn’t get stinky and keeps me fresher as well so I arrive at work smelling better (I shower anyway) but when I leave after work, my clothes are fresh and sweet smelling. Well maybe not quite sweet but not at all stinky.

    So cold weather riding takes a little more planning but that almost makes it more fun!

  26. Jett says:

    It’s been a wacky weekend. We’re in the 80′s right now.

  27. dan says:

    I’ve had a couple surprisingly cold mornings (for LA, at least) that warmed up really quickly. Left the house yesterday and it was 44; by the time I finished my commute and extra training miles, it was 60. All my layers were soaked in sweat.

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