You are hereWinter riding: When is cold too cold?

Winter riding: When is cold too cold?

Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 17 May 2011

< 20 degrees
2% (2 votes)
< 15 degrees
5% (5 votes)
< 10 degrees
10% (9 votes)
< 5 degrees
26% (24 votes)
< 0 degrees
15% (14 votes)
It's never too cold to MTB!
41% (37 votes)
Total votes: 91
ae93gti's picture

Autumn last year on Mothers day I had an operation which kept me off the bike for 4 months so being new to the MTB scene, didn't get to experience winter riding.

Different story now, I have to keep training during winter for my first 100km at the Back Yamma.

What do people do/wear? I think my legs will cope in shorts, but not so sure about arms...... thinking about it, my feet might get cold too.

Coming off and hurting yourself when it's cold must be doubly painful too.

I voted < 5, but have some "insulation" which will hopefully disappear in coming weeks/months.

BT's picture

It gets pretty chilly on those night rides during winter. I've always coped with thicker socks, arm and leg warmers + a wind proof jacket. Still manage to work up a sweat though. The painful part is the very beginning before I've warmed up.

GAZZA's picture

Wet and cold is not ok!
I go out sometimes at 4.30am on the road and it's ok with the right clothing but if it's wet and cold I'll give it a miss for sure!

Flynny's picture

Just add more clothing

One memorable ride of recent years was a night ride on Newnes Plataue. Ground crunching under tyres. After riding through the gully bikes were a bit muddy and gears started sticking a bit.

Get back to cars moaning about the morning need for bike strip and clean.

Wake up in the morning to find all the "mud" had melted leaving a bit of wet sand beneath the bikes.

Brian's picture

I voted <20. Doesn't that technically mean I'm voting for all off them except the last one Sticking out tongue

craked's picture

cold is ok ,but cold and wet is a different story, rode to work today at 5.45 am it was cold but only my fingers and toes felt it!

Rob's picture
I voted <20. Doesn't that technically mean I'm voting for all off them except the last one Sticking out tongue

No, it means you're soft! Eye-wink

Brian's picture

So Rob, I'm going to post something see if anyone is interest in doing West Head from Bayview a couple nights a week, 1. for motivation, 2. because it's freaken scary out there. Can I count you in Smiling

hawkeye's picture

... only because I don't have the kit. Fast long descents at less than 5. Brrr! Was it Billy Conolly that said "There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes"?

That said, I draw the line at wet AND strongly gusting winds when commuting. Not being able to see, and being blown about all over the road isn't great for one's life expectancy. And off-road, wet trails aren't so good for bike transmission, brake life or trail sustainability.

Logan's picture

If its cold early doors on the roadie...

Nomally I will ride with base layer, jersey, and a coat, arms warmers, nicks, leg warmers, toe covers for the shoes and long finger gloves. Normally I am plenty warm enough with that, sometimes a little to warm, so just go with base layer, jersey and arm warmers which is sufficient.

Dont really mind it being cold, just not wet.

Rob's picture

Recipe for disaster. That's what a wind trainer is for! Smiling

Lach's picture

I remember doing one of the 8hr races there a few years ago when it was -3C driving across from Canberra in the morning. Frost on the grass and ice on the pond beside the track for the first few laps. I did the first lap in knicks, long tights, shorts, a base layer, winter LS jersey and SS jersey and long finger gloves. All good apart from my feet, which felt like two blocks of concrete for most of the lap and until I'd stumbled around for 20 minutes after getting off the bike.

If you haven't paid for race entry, -3C is too cold for mtb.....

Logan's picture

In the UK before when it was snowing, that was pretty cold and fun.

philberesford's picture

The lot of you, are you Mountain Bikers or shandy drinkers?

GAZZA call yourself a Yorkshireman? Get ye to a olde real ale pub! That'll warm your cockles.

FWIW I voted 'It's never too cold to MTB!'

muzza_t's picture

I'm a South Island Kiwi so I know what cold is, not like you aussies. When you can ride across puddles and the ice doesn't break, thats when you knows its cold!

andyfev's picture

I used to ride in the snow courtesy of the Great British weather... That was cold!

Fatboy's picture

I voted <10. Now before I get told to HTFU here's why.

At <10 I need 3 layers which keeps you warm on the road but as soon as you are in the trees mountain biking and have no breeze and your heart rate climbs then you overheat quickly. If you remove a layer then you freeze on the descents or any fast trail.

If road riding then I'll go down to zero as I can have whatever number of layers that keeps me warm and a constant speed etc so you don't suffer from overheating.

Ok enough bulls$&t, it's just nicer to stay in bed when it's cold ...

Matt P's picture

What temp does shock fluid freeze at?


muzza_t's picture

Sounds like you need a good riding vest. I've got a couple of Noret Vests, Fleece Collar, windproof front and mesh back. Great for when you get warm on the climbs as you can shed the heat well then it blocks out the nasty breeze on the descents.

GAZZA's picture

There's a reason moved to Australia mate!
Bloody miserable Yorkshire climate!!!

philberesford's picture

the beer is better here Sticking out tongue

Slowpup's picture

I rode the Valley of the Emperors in China last year. Was all rugged up in shorts and a light rain shell.

Snowed as we got out of the car to set up, and the first descent had icicles on the bike frame.

Still rates as a great day on the bike, and the noodle soup at the roadside stall at the end of the day was brilliant!

philberesford's picture

Pics or it didn't happen!

Rob's picture

For those that don't know, the first stage of the Tour of California was called off 2 days ago due to snow. Pfffft... soft!

Although... Greg Henderson tweeted later about the abandonment of the stage, "We made the right decision today. A couple of us rode to top of first climb. At top brakes were frozen open and front mech frozen. As was I!"

Yeah, frozen brakes would be interesting on a descent... although MTB hyrdo discs would fare better you would hope Eye-wink

philberesford's picture

Just increase your cadence to about 1300rpm and any residual heat should conduct through the frame nicely

CharlieB's picture

will appreciate this. The greatest unknown for my winter riding (and this ALL pre technical clothing – just layers of tee shirts, rugger jerseys and fleeces...) was wether I would go through the ice and then how deep the puddle would be if I did. That depth being important for determining if your bike stopped or not, of course albeit without you stopping resulting in many an OTB dismount. Smashing through the ice is, for the uninitiated, just a little harder than pushing through a creek you typically find here.

So it is never too cold to cold in my book. But I did also used to do the post windsurf car park strip in mid winter. With air temp at -2, the water temp of 6 was positively balmy, but the wind chill factor was well below. Hum those were the days! I wonder why I never went home?

hawkeye's picture

You guys crack me up. This all sounds so strangely familiar... Sticking out tongue

CharlieB's picture

this is exactly what I was thinking about this am... Call this a winter. This is not a winter, .....

shano's picture

If its any colder than my bowl of warm milk I tend not to go outside....miaow! Cool

Pete B's picture

I'll back up the argument that it's never to cold.

Only thing that stopped me back in Derbyshire was if the snow drifts were too deep.

philberesford's picture

yeah, up in Yorkshire if the drift is halfway up the first floor window then it's pretty safe to say it'll take The Council or local farmer at least a week to dig you out. But I wouldn't say it's too cold, just impossible to get out.

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