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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't been riding that much (this'll be my third summer coming up) so I'm very much a fair weather cyclist. Commuting is also a fairly new thing. But after less riding through the winter and my rollers not being nearly as much fun I was itching to get back to my therapy.

The forecast was showing low 60s for the high for most of this week so I thought I'd take the plunge. My biggest obstacle was the mornings starting in the low 30s. Because I've been wanting to extend my season I've been keeping an eye out for warmer gear. I've had a wool base layer for a while. Found a long sleeve jersey and some gloves, and last night I picked up some leg warmers from REI and a windproof beanie from Cabella's.

This morning I stepped outside and when I could feel a bit of the cold I started wondering how crazy I was. But I realized that while I could feel there was cold air out there I wasn't particularly cold. After a few minutes of pedaling and a short-but-sweet hill about a quarter of a mile from my house and I knew cold wouldn't be my biggest problem.

I did have two "victims" to the cold that were revealed gradually. My thumbs and my toes. Why just my thumbs and not all my fingers, I don't know. My toes are fairly obvious because I'm using my regular shoes that are designed for venting. Stupid oversight... But just about any level of pain is tolerable for a 35 min commute.

My biggest problem was fogging glasses while stopped at lights on a route that's almost entirely pointing directly at the rising sun. It's no fun being blind when I have to be more into traffic because of gravel in the bike lanes.

I got to work in 37m30s covering 9.71 miles coughing like mad. But it was the good coughing of moving junk out of my lungs from a comparatively stationary couple of months with the remnants of a cold. It felt great!

2015: 1352.23 miles
2016: 15.07 miles (and counting)
 

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I did have two "victims" to the cold that were revealed gradually. My thumbs and my toes. Why just my thumbs and not all my fingers, I don't know. My toes are fairly obvious because I'm using my regular shoes that are designed for venting.
Toe/shoe covers should fix that. Tape the vents shut in the bottom of your shoes. Remove the insole and put the tape inside.
Also some thin glove liners might help. I like glove liners because you can remove them if you get to warm.


My biggest problem was fogging glasses while stopped at lights on a route that's almost entirely pointing directly at the rising sun. It's no fun being blind when I have to be more into traffic because of gravel in the bike lanes.
Get some Rain X Anti Fog. Use it on the inside and outside of your lenses.
 

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I would love for the morning temperatures to be 30F or higher. Then I would resume bike commuting myself.

Were you wearing windproof shoe covers and gloves for your toes and fingers, respectively?

Regarding your glasses fogging, use RainX anti-fog or a very thin layer of dish soap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I thought the gloves were windproof. Again, my other fingers were fine, just my thumbs. And my right thumb was colder than my left. I'm wondering if there's defective stitching, or something similar letting in cold air...

As for shoes, I had completely neglected to take into account windproofing them. I could say I was an idiot but I choose to say I've had a learning experience. ;)
 

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I thought the gloves were windproof. Again, my other fingers were fine, just my thumbs. And my right thumb was colder than my left. I'm wondering if there's defective stitching, or something similar letting in cold air...
Maybe they're wind resistant and not wind proof. Try blowing into them. See if air escapes.

It could be because of how your hands are placed on the bars, your thumbs may be more exposed than your fingers. Or maybe you have less circulation in your thumbs.
I've had times were different fingers were colder than the rest, and from one hand to the other.
 

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I thought the gloves were windproof. Again, my other fingers were fine, just my thumbs. And my right thumb was colder than my left. I'm wondering if there's defective stitching, or something similar letting in cold air...
I'd say stop trying to analyze it and get some warmer gloves. Inexpensive insulated ski or snowboard gloves are cheaper than bike-specific stuff, especially if you get them from a discounter like Sierra Trading Post. In my experience they work great. I commute most of the year here in southern New England, only bailing out when there's ice or snow on the roads. This year, it has been good until the last week, and I've done the morning commute in temps as low as 14F. That takes a few more clothing items, obviously.

Low 60's sounds nice, but I can't complain about our winter so far. We actually got that warm a few days near the end of January, when the normal high is around freezing.

Toes are a tough problem. Try adding a thin liner sock under your regular socks (if there's room in your shoes) and putting a plastic bag over the front of your foot inside the shoe, to block wind flow. On a long ride that can make you sweaty, but for 30-40 minutes it works pretty well.

When I commute in winter I'm always riding home in the dark. You need lots of good lights and reflective stuff.
 

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I agree with the comments about general purpose clothing. Most of my winter cycling gear (gloves, balaclava, socks, base layer) comes from Costco. One trick I've found for the fingers is to squeeze the bar hard and release a few times. For the feet I'd try modifying your shoes as other posters describe. Booties are helpful but they don't seem to last long and can be time-consuming to get on and off.
 

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Same here. It's been almost 2 months. I just can't motivate myself to ride in when its in the low 20's ... or worse.
I rode in low 20s several times, but the same problems kept cropping up that I don't see when it's at least 30F. My water bottle starts freezing after a while, and I would buy an insulated bottle if that was my only problem. The other problem is that halfway through my commute my eye shield completely ices over. No anti-fog solutions will do anything for that. If I remove the shield so I can see, my eyes get horribly dry by the time I reach work.
 

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I rode in low 20s several times, but the same problems kept cropping up that I don't see when it's at least 30F. My water bottle starts freezing after a while, and I would buy an insulated bottle if that was my only problem. The other problem is that halfway through my commute my eye shield completely ices over. No anti-fog solutions will do anything for that. If I remove the shield so I can see, my eyes get horribly dry by the time I reach work.
Insulated bottles help. But the problem is the nozzles freeze up. Rides are normally shorter and easier so I can do without drinking much.

My eyes water like crazy in anything under 60°. I can't wear regular glasses. I use motorcycle riding glasses which have foam seals which sit on your face and keep most of the air out.
Amazon.com: 3 Pair Motorcycle Riding Glasses Smoke Clear Yellow: Automotive
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So my glove problem isn't a glove problem. It's a stupid Neolithic problem. I was putting a lot more weight on the webbing between my thumb and fingers and gripping tighter. This was cutting off circulation to my thumb. I relaxed my grip and shifted my positioning a bit and things were A-O-K this morning.

I grabbed a plastic bag for my shoes and my toes were happier. They weren't super cold yesterday so they weren't as high of a priority. I also just remembers that I have some thin sock liners with my fishing gear so I'll dig those out when I get home tonight and see how it goes tomorrow.

So this is going to work well for me. I'm still more of a fair weather cyclist so I'm not planning to ride when it's any colder than this (more from a time of day, lighting issue). It will only get warmer (generally) from here on out.

I'm planning on getting a Fly12 when they hit in April so riding when it's dark will become a possibility. And I'll keep an eye out for even colder gear through the year to extend below 30. Soon enough my coworkers will think I'm mind-bogglingly crazy rather than simply crazy.
 

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Would've ridden more this winter were it not for the lack of winter shoes- didn't want to spend the money on dedicated shoes, and I can't find my damn booties.

So you're doing nearly ten miles in 38 minutes? It takes me about that long before I notice the cold getting uncomfortable in my toes/fingers. Guess when you go fast the wind is more of a factor?
 

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Same here. It's been almost 2 months. I just can't motivate myself to ride in when its in the low 20's ... or worse.
I was that way as well until I decided to ride whenever I had free time this winter. You can really get used to the cold in my experience, it's not that bad.
 

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I was that way as well until I decided to ride whenever I had free time this winter. You can really get used to the cold in my experience, it's not that bad.
I agree with this. I usually call it quits when it starts getting down around the mid\low thirties, but have trouble getting back on in the spring until it reaches the high thirties\40 degrees.

The cold's easier when there is time to acclimate to it.
 

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When I commute in winter I'm always riding home in the dark. You need lots of good lights and reflective stuff.
This is key, especially if you are riding to work into the sun, cars are also going to have a harder time seeing you. Bontrager makes a great daytime light called the flare R. Look into that puppy and enjoy the commuting!
 

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There are lots of great lights, from lots of manufacturers. I use at least a bright red rear blinky at all times, plus a front white flasher when commuting. At night, more lights
 
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