I want to hear from the hard core Winter commuters

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by KevinK, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    I mean clothes shoes pedal systems studded tires the whole works!
    I am still commuting in Wisconsin right now with nary a problem but when the snow fly's? Now that's another story.
    I need to learn from who is doing it and has done it to make some informed decisions about clothes and equipment for a 60 plus round trip commute from work.
    I am looking at this as sort of an adventure and at the same time saving a bunch of money.
    BTW night time temps have been in the upper 20's for my return commute with no problems at all.
    I am looking for tips on how to overcome snow covered roads and any engine starting problems in cold weather.
    I would like to here about anything and everything on this topic.



  2. Wheres my dog

    Wheres my dog New Member

    Wait... are you saying 60 plus mile commute????

    Holy cow, in the snow????
  3. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    I have 1500 miles now on the GEBE/Gary Fisher system. 67 miles per day.
    Its really no big deal at 25 plus mph average speed!
    Now in the snow its a big deal. I am just kicking it around!
    Is it possible? I think that it is. The question is do I just want to park the bike when the snow hits....I am really kicking around this kind of commute this winter!

  4. Pablo

    Pablo Motored Bikes Sponsor

    Search for AlaskanVan's posts. Snow, rain, etc....the guy keeps going.
  5. mlcorson

    mlcorson Member

    I've seen students riding in Boulder Co. on snow covered streets. I have never done it myself. I would be concerned about plowed snow on sides of road restricting the roadway as it is in our town after heavy snow. Not a question of can it be done in an urban environment, but is it safe? Maybe as a winter recreation activity out in the country?
  6. jacks_bike

    jacks_bike New Member

    Winter is unpredictable. You commute to work in morning - by the time u go home there could be a white out and you'll find yourself sleeping in the janitors closet. Have a back up plan - and have a back up for that back up.
  7. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    no kidding-- way back in college at UW-Stevens Point, I left for class in the morning, and the ground was clear; four hours later when I left the Fine Arts building, there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground.

    Back then, I would ride in the winter, but rarely in the falling snow-- that was just a pedal mountain bike... and since I was young and "invincible", winter gear rarely included gloves and a hat. And I wasn't going more than a couple miles at a time, if that much.
  8. I've commuted year-round in Bozeman, Montana on regular, electric, and gas-powered bikes. As far as clothes go, just wear lots of layers and ski goggles. Hard-shell mittens are nice as well. One often overlooked thing on a motorized bike is underwear. All that cold wind has the habit of making one's junk quite numb. Seriously. I'd often stuff a wool sock into my long johns to ward that effect off. Felt kind of silly doing it, but a numb penis is no laughing matter.

    And studded tires are a plowed-road commuter's best friend. Schwalbie makes the best, Nokian's are good too. The more expensive brands will save you money in the long run because they have carbide studs which will last many seasons. The cheap ones lose sharpness in a few months. $50 a tire seems expensive, but it's cherap compared to an emergency room visit and they really do work wonders on slick, icy roads.

    For pedals, I used long-strap Power-Grips with a pair of Sorel snow boots. But if you're motoring most of the time, you can just use a large platform pedal, the kind they sell for dirt-jump bikes.
  9. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    I just wouldn't try that long a distance on snowy or icy roads. The speed of a motorized bike could turn a little skid into a nasty accident.
  10. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    I ride in winter. Studs are a must. Black ice is a killer on a bike. Another problem is slush jamming up chains, fenders, and other things that need to turn. Also, your ride can be delayed until the snow removal service takes care of the foot of snow in the bike lane or shoulder. Frozen tire tracks are treacherous also.

    Clothing is pretty well covered by adapting snowmobile technology....adds a little padding for WHEN :jester: you do go down too.

    Good idea to be even more aware of cars too. They can loose control in slippery conditions as well as you. Last winter I was blown off the road by a state plow truck plowing about 4 inches of wet heavy snow. Amazing how heavy the bow wake of four inches of slush is at 20 mph.

    Years ago, I rode a motorcycle in the winter on a 120 mile round trip commute in Wisconsin. Snow mobile clothing, full helmet, and electric socks and gloves plugged into the charging system made it reasonably comfortable. Biggest problem was when they shut down I 94 because of black ice. Trucks were sliding off the roadway just from camber and the vibration of the engine running. I was putting along at about 20 mph with both feet down. A trooper fell down 3 times trying to stop me. Did wear the soles off a pair of perfectly good snowmobile boots. The situation seems a lot funnier in retrospect. :sweatdrop:
  11. skyl4rk

    skyl4rk Guest

    I used to pedal bike commute to work year round. We get a lot of snow. It works fine but I fell one time too many on ice. You go down fast and it hurts bad. However, when the road is dry or wet, you can commute no problem. Snow covering is not that bad. But you can't always tell if there is ice and thats the problem.

    I rarely had problems with being too cold, the problem is when you start to sweat from too much clothes. I would generally wear street clothes, a sweater or fleece and a nylon anorak. leather work gloves and headband/ear covering. This gets you down to about 20F.

    Below 20F and in high winds a face mask is key. The best face mask I have found is a neoprene type. I usually buy a new one every year trying to find a good one. (I walk one mile to work, often in blizzards and 10F temps).

    Road salt eats up your bike, you will need to clean it and recondition it each spring.

    I have had fun in the snow while motorbiking, but 60 miles would be too far for me. three or four, OK. But more than that, I would not do it in under freezing temps.
  12. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    I wear a rabbit skin hat. The kind where the ear flaps snap together over the top in good weather, and under my chin in bad weather to protect the ears. I wear a snow machine balaclava under the hat. I wear Carhartt insulated coveralls under a Helly-Hanson rainsuit. One thing that shouldn't be overlooked is lubing the cables on the bike. A little bit of moisture in a cable can freeze your brakes pretty fast at -20f. I'd recommend lubing them every couple of weeks, or when they feel at all stiff, whichever happens first.
  13. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    Good point about the cables Van. That is a chronic problem for me with the freeze thaw cycles. Tried about everything, and it is still a problem. Grease is too thick and will keep the cables from moving itself. Oil allows water to seep in and freeze. Oil and alcohol seem to help, but have to be applied constantly. Going to try the wax oil that dries this year. Course, it doesn't rain as much in most areas as it does here. :ack2:
  14. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    Great advice! I am leaning your way here. Power grips are way cool product!
    In Wisconsin it snows and they plow the roads but in a few days the roads are clear and even studs are not even needed. Do you motor with those Schawalb studs on clear roads and how does that work? And one could go to work with clear roads and leave work with snow covered roads. I am just really curious and very open minded on this subject.

  15. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    I enjoyed your video. That's quite a machine you have BTW!
    My bike is just a stock GEBE kit on an old Gary Fisher mountain bike.
    What is a Helly-Hanson rainsuit? Interesting stuff here...
    Do you get any heat from the cops with your setup? Really cool...

  16. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    Wow! Now that's hard core! Do you still do such insane riding? I would think that homeland security would lock you up in one of there camps!
    I would say that such riding would be considered terrorist activity in Wisconsin these days my friend....

  17. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    Hey Virginian,

    We are a tough bunch up here in da north woods! Seriously I am just kicking this idea around but the more I think about it the more it seems doable.
    I am a total hard core ultra cyclist but motored biking is a complete blast! I must admit that I am hooked.....

  18. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    Helly-Hanson and Grundens are the major brands of foul weather gear worn by fishermen up here. My Helly-Hanson is a one-piece suit big enough to fit over multiple layers of clothes.

    P.S. Up here, the police won't bother me unless they catch me doing something REALLY crazy. And, since most of us up here are moderately crazy, I'm not too worried.
  19. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    He he.....not to the same degree. Although I have to say it seemed like the thing to do at the time. (late 70's) There was a guy who lived in Madison and commuted to Milwaukee on a Harley every day too. I think he worked at Harley. He was going in the opposite direction I was, so it was a waving acquaintence. Other than the ice it wasn't that bad....snow removal was pretty efficient except in Waukesha county. Seemed as if they preferred to let it melt. :rolleyes7:

    I'm more of a 4 stroke guy now, but I have to say that old *water Buffalo* was super dependable. Just ran and ran as long as you kept the chain adjusted so it didn't break the gear sensor and drain all the oil out of the transmission.

    A 120 mile commute on a motorcycle would be feasible, but a 60 mile commute on a mb......I'll be following your adventure. :bowdown:
  20. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    Now now Van...I think we qualify as a tad over moderate.....:jester: