Commute in low 40s deg F


Well-Known Member
Local time
11:45 PM
Mar 23, 2008
central illinois
Had my first morning commute in low 40s type weather this morning. It wasn't all that bad, but chilly. I wore double pants and regular leather work boots. I don't recall my feet or legs getting very cold. Upper body in something less than full winter gear. Hands were a bit of a problem; double gloves. My hands weren't very cold, but stiffness will become a problem when I have to put on something heavier.

All in all, I'd say that low 40s is not bad. When it gets colder I'll be able to dress heavier. But then that'll be a pain in terms of carrying and putting on all of that extra gear. At a guess right now, I'm thinking I ought to be able to ride well into November. Maybe even till the end of it, with just a bit of luck.

On a pedal bike I can be happy as a clam in the low 20s and can even be not uncomfortable all the way down in the single digits. Can ride at zero and even a bit below, though it's a pain mostly.

I had had a (slim) hope that, with a bit of preparation and teeth gritting, I could keep riding a motor assisted bicycle in conditions almost as bad as I can ride a pedal bike in. But I'm beginning to think that's not going to work. I might have to put the motor away for the winter about Thanksgiving or so. It's too bad.

On the other hand, I'm not particularly cold-tolerant. Some of you might be able to do a good deal better than me.

a quick bit of clarification: when it comes right down to it, I'm a cold weather wimp. but on a pedal bike, it's a whole different story. You generate so much warmth that keepin yourself from sweating to death is more of a problem than keeping warm. I'm sure some of you already know about this. For those who don't, it's one of the great things about winter riding. So you should definitely consider keeping a pedal bike around. It can keep you outdoors and getting fresh air in all but the worst weather.
Last edited:
I am going to attempt to ride my motorized bike this winter. I am swapping off the 40T sprocket with the 50T. That way I can cruise at 10-15 mph and still be in the power band of the engine. I have riden in 0* weather as well. I remember one night it was so cold that rays of lights where shining directly up in the sky from every source of city lights. You know what that affect is called? Anyway, I am going for it man! I think I will be just fine with my long johns and jeans, carhartt jacket and thermal liner. I will need some warmer boots though.
What's nice about Colorado is that the bike trails get plowed sometimes before even the roads!
Year long riding is common here.
There's a reason why I'm planning on motorizing my trike.
O' yes, biking, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, cross country sking, ice fishing, sleigh rides, frozen lake ice racing, open water ice plunge, outdoor hot tub with frozen whiskers. Mother nature....bring it on baby. On second thought, anyone got a extra room in Arizona? LOL.
Yup, you guys are right. I'm going to be out there, too. Just not sure whether I'll be motorized or not.

And I've suspected for a while, Large Filipino, that you're in a good place for riding. It sounds more and more like it all the time.
I made a 13 mile trip from friend's house last night when it was 41 degrees outside. Had thermal underwear, goose down parka, sub-zero Muck boots (almost knee high), knit cap, scarf, and big ski gloves. Took my ski hood with me but didn't wear it. Face got cold. Didn't wear it because it's black and makes me look like a terrorist. Wish I had wore it and my ski goggles too. Eyes started watering from the cold air and ran onto cheeks freezing them! I had an ancient pair of my prescription glasses on but they suck at air deflection. Hasn't bothered me up until last night. Next ride in those type of temperatures I will definitely wear the goggles and hood! When I parked it in the shop last night it had rolled over to 801.7 miles! Running strong.
You the Man!

Next week I may ride again...and it is not supposed to be toasty.
Good news for me!

Back in the spring I bought a nice pair of rain pants. Bib type overalls. A water-proof weave (as opposed to a sheet of cheap plastic) with reinforced knees, shins, etc. Good clasps and so on. cost about $50.00.

Then the weather got too warm for them. They were hanging in the mud room and I became afraid they'd disapear. So (I thought) I hung them in the basement. Recently trying to find them I was coming up empty handed. Asked the family about them and everyone said, "I dunno". I had tried them on for fit when I first bought them, but I had never actually used them. It was disappointing.

Yesterday I found them in the attic.

Now I'll include them in my running cargo. They'll help a lot with cold weather.

My cold weather riding ability forecast is improving.
I rode in to work this was in the high 40's, and drizzling on occasion. I just wore sweat pants on my legs, and had a thermal shirt, sweatshirt, light jacket, and Performance rain jacket on. Layers win against cold wind. I was not cold AT ALL. Since my gloves are fingerless, my fingers got a tiny bit chilled, but not freezing. My pants and socks got wet, but I carry my work clothes in my bags (and had the rain covers on my bags) so that was no problem. Overall, not a bad ride at all. I DID zip the ear covers back onto my Bell Shorty helmet which helps a LOT. I'm very pleased with the helmet! The ride home should be real nice....around 60 and no rain. I could see myself riding to work in much cooler weather....anything above freezing in fact.

Hi Warner, it sounds like you were a little more comfortable than I might have been in similar circumstances. My problem are my hands and feet. They get cold, then numb, easily. But I'll try to find ways to keep going.

Simonator, you're going to try to ride throught the winter? I admire your guts. But, man, you get a lot of snow. I love Grand Rapids and surrounding country. But I'm certain that I could not ride from not long after Thanksgiving until about the second week of March. I imagine you'll have a few adventures. Share them with us, will you?
And I don't know the effect that you described, with the lights shining up. But I did see something once that might have a similar source. It's called "sun dogs". A below zero January morning not long after sun-up. (And, yep, I was riding. pedals.)
Sun dogs are really just a winter rainbow. But it looks different. The ancients found it disturbing and I can understand why. Has a very definite "baleful" look to it.