Did you fight the cold today? If so, who won?

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 7th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Brrrr. See how others bundled up below.
(Photos © J. Maus)

This morning's commute was one of the coldest (mid-20s without windchill) and windiest I can remember in the five years I've lived in Portland. I was curious how many people would set out on their bikes this morning (I know several friends who opted to bus or drive) and I thought it'd be fun to capture those that did on camera.

Did you ride today? If so, share your experiences/tips. If not, perhaps the photos below will inspire you to try tomorrow...

A cold commute-14
A cold commute-13
A cold commute-12
A cold commute-11
A cold commute-10
A cold commute-9
A cold commute-8
A cold commute-1

A cold commute-7
A cold commute-6
A cold commute-5
A cold commute-4
A cold commute-3

A cold commute-2

The forecast will remain cold for several more days. Check out Elly Blue's article (and all the helpful comments) about how to stay warm on the cheap.

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  • Tyler December 7, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Decided to walk/mass transit today. More worried about getting blown over than the cold because I figured I could bike hard enough to stay warm.

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  • Matthew December 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I forgot my scarf and instantly regretted it. I also realized that my gloves actually aren't that great at keeping my fingers warm.

    But it was the first time I'd ridden in about a week, and it was still better than taking the bus.

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  • Tyler December 7, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    That said, I'm going to give it a shot tomorrow I think. I can't live with myself without at least trying to brave it.

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  • Paul December 7, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    All hail the mighty balaclava! I was biking around Southeast this morning with nary a chill thanks to mine and a warm pair of gloves.

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  • bikey mama carie December 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I was inside for 1.5 hr meeting, came out & shifter was frozen in first. Luckily meeting was close to home. Thaw in garage tmrw before morning school commute? Hope so!

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  • Dave December 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Longer heavy wool coat over light sweater and mittens did great, I just need a hat that has ear flaps or something, my ears were killing me.

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  • matt December 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    My commute is pretty much directly East. The biting wind made me want to cry! I'll be heading out again tonight to
    bike the lights at PIR. I'm be working the event, handing out hot cocoa. Brave the cold and check it out!

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  • Cecil December 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    I walked in to work today, but only because I rode 126 miles in the Willamette Valley yesterday, fighting a steady wind of 15 mph+ with gusts above 25 mph, and windchills in the teens. Praise be for chemical digit warmers, multiple layers of wool and thermal carafes that fit in bottle cages . . .

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  • Anne Hawley December 7, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I rode yesterday (merino Ice Breaker cap under helmet, cashmere-lined leather gloves, big pashmina around neck, many layers elsewhere) and the headwind going home northeastward from downtown was enough to wear me out. That's when it wasn't a side wind trying to tip me over.

    I'm already a pretty large target for the wind; bundling up against the cold just makes me more so, so I gave it a miss today. May brave it tomorrow.

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  • Anne Hawley December 7, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    PS I LOVE these photos as a group! Nice work.

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  • A-Dub December 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    The cold wasn't the problem it was the wind. I, like Matt, had a ride this morning that was headed into the wind the whole way. The only difference from my normal attire was a baclava, an extra pair of socks, my winter riding gloves and long underwear bottoms.

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  • andy December 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Meh. When I was in grad school in Winnipeg, my coldest morning ride was -35F (air temperature, not windchill). Regardless, the strategy is the same, and pretty easy: Layer, layer, layer! The outermost layer should be at least some tight-knit fabric which will stop the wind. Wear mittens (if you can) as opposed to gloves. Wear a hat. If you're going to be outside in the wind for an extended period of time, cover your face with a scarf you can breathe through.

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  • Anonymous December 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Broke out with the scarf today for the first time. Hate to ride with it on, but it's the only way to combat weather this cold. But even with my winter gloves my hands still froze.

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  • John Lascurettes December 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Layers! And snow gloves instead of bike gloves.

    Got a little bit of an ice layer on my mustache generated by my breath by the time I got to work. It was fun having the tail wind going over the Broadway bridge for once. It's going to be a PITA on the way home if the wind keeps up without changing direction.

    Really wasn't too bad with the layers and gloves.

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  • hemp22 December 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    i learned that the AAA batteries in my superflash tail lights don't hold up well to the cold temps - i have 2 of them and both were extremely faint by the time i got in to work (before the sun came up).

    I didn't wear my super-warm gloves, so my hands could've been warmer - but the eyes were the only thing that really bothered me - could've used ski goggles

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  • Nick V December 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I rode today and I can't say enough out my Pearl Izumi lobster claw gloves. I was amazed at how warm my hands were when I got to the office. Cold hands and fingers are usually my undoing. I'll have to break out the balaclava this evening and I am, for once, NOT looking forward to the ride home.

    Wind + cold + dark = Unhappy Nick V

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  • Nick V December 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    PS - I'd trade this weather for the 107 degree temps last summer in a heartbeat. Just saying.....

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  • Ed December 7, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Layers, mittens, balaclava worked fine for me.

    Don't have a balaclava? Make a ninja mask out of a thermal shirt. Looks really goofy but it works great.

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  • Paul S December 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    It was a draw. I rode into work, but I didn't take my son to daycare. My wife chauffeured him in the car. I wore my usual rain kit but closed all the perspiration vents, which was...sufficient.

    But my ride home is all uphill, and the wind at my back.

    Cold + windy but nothing like other places I've lived like Billings, MT. I kept my brain warm today thinking of my brother in Minneapolis. Meh, I guess it's always worse somewhere else.

    Nick V: I will meditate on 107F on the way home...

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  • toddistic December 7, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    It was cold today but I'm thankful we aren't contending with black ice.

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  • Kate December 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    The only thing that saved my morning commute was the fact that practically the entire commute is up a really, really steep hill. While I was cursing the lack of a scarf when I set out, by the time I got 1/3 of the way up the hill, I was no longer cold at all.

    The ride down was a different story! Despite my layers (wool tights and jeans on the bottom, 5 layers of wool and silk, plus a Burley coat on top), and gloves (Cyclone) I could hardly tolerate it. My fingers were so numb I could barely hold my housekeys to open the door. And this is an easy 15 minute ride home!

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  • Anonymous December 7, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    oy. It's a draw. My ride is short, but the wind put up a pretty good fight. I was just warm enough, but my eyes were streaming and I could barely get moving forward. I'm still on the fence about bike past the lights; icy cold + dark + wind may be too much for me.

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  • Grimm December 7, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Today is the first day I have noticed my eyebrows got cold. Its seriously colder than it was during epic snow storm '08.

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  • Ryan G. December 7, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I was comfortable this morning, and my "kit" wasn't too different from most days. My only regret was not having my balaclava (definitely digging that out for tomorrow!) because my face was really cold when I was screaming downhill on 15th just south of Alberta.

    Things that were lifesavers: my Mountain Hardwear gore-tex windstopper fleece; my sweet Shaun Deller wool cycling cap with cashmere ear-flaps (which I picked up Saturday at Bike Craft); delicious, strong, black, hot coffee at Stumptown (right by my office- sweet!) before going to the office.

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  • Case December 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Grimm, I like to think of the epic snow storm as "The Great Whiskey Shortage of 2008". Anyhow, winter cap with earflaps, winter lobster gloves, double front pants, wool wife beater below shirt below wool sweater below Team Beer (Brrrrrr?) winter jacket kept me pretty toasty. Could have used shoe booties though.

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  • velo December 7, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    It was 16 when I left this morning, in St. Paul MN. I'm a recent transplant to MN from Portland and it's brisk riding here.

    It's supposed to snow 6-8 inches on Wednesday, I've got the studded tires ready! Hopefully it'll warm up in Portland.

    Some thoughts on staying warm in the cold:

    Generally layers are good. Don't over dress or you'll end up drenched in sweat and then cold.

    Hands: Mittens beat gloves. Get something large, well insulated and windproof. Liner gloves inside mittens also help. Pogies, basically giant mittens attached to your bars, are super warm and popular with friends who ride all winter in Alaska.

    Face: Goggles or glasses are good to cover the eyes. I cover my face with a mask when it drops below ~10-15.

    Head: A windproof hat is good. Swix also makes little ear muffs that keep the ears toasty.

    Legs: Windproof insulated tights rock, add some long underwear and I'm set. Wool pants are also good. Leg bands seal out the drafts. Rain pants over other pants are also pretty warm.

    Torso: A windproof insulated jacket is a good start, or a rain shell over fleece. Toss that over a wool sweater, long underwear and good to go! I've worn my down jacket when it is really bitter. The new wool long underwear by Ibex, Icebreaker and Smartwool rocks. It's spendy, but great if you can afford it. Mine has lasted very well.

    Feet: Liner socks and then Smartwool socks work great. For bike shoes toe/shoe covers are nice. My feet are usually warm so others might have better advice.

    I've been working on my attitude and keep trying to think, it's never a bad time to ride! It's never a bad time to ride! Ride on!

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  • katelyn December 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I usually ride my bike to work MWF, bus it on TTH: today I checked the temp while eating breakfast: 24 degrees WOAH. But, even though I didn't know if it'd be for better or for worse I decided to stick to the ol schedule.
    What worked:
    - rain jacket with all them vents closed up and hoodie up! (never do this, but that hood protects agains wet AND cold! yes.)
    - alpaca scarf up over the chin. But not under the chinstrap.
    - windproof gloves, under alpaca mittens (i thought it should have been windproof over warmie-warm, but those mittens did the trick!)

    yay. gear. thank you!

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  • dan December 7, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I used: earwarmers, neck warmer/neck gaiter, ski/snowboard gloves rather than bike gloves, and some cheap plastic rain pants that don't breathe. I was acceptably warm - mitts would have been more comfortable, but I still had feeling in my fingers when I got into work.

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  • davidio December 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    There is no bad weather - only poor preparation.

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  • JP December 7, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I had to get to work an hour early, so I took the 6 A.M. bus. It's the first time this winter I've wimped out, I'll be back to riding tomorrow, my balaclava, scarf and mittens are ready.

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  • John Lascurettes December 7, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I be remiss if I didn't plug my wife's ingenious helmet muffs. They kept my ears plenty warm this morning. She sold a lot at Bike Craft and is working crazily to get her Etsy storefront complete.

    Helmuffs by Gigi's Handy Work.

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  • John Lascurettes December 7, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Oh, blast. I got that URL wrong (bad hubby!). Here it is:

    Helmuffs by Gigi's Handy Work.

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  • Ethan December 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Sadly, my bike was at my destination (work) . . . I walked to work for the first time ever. I could have picked a better day.

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  • BicycleDave December 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    The cold and Dick's Sporting Goods were the winners on my commute. My lobster gloves are usually warm enough, but after 11 miles my fingers could barely hold the keys to lock my bike. Bought some thermax glove liners for the trip home at the mall.

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  • Anon December 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Skateboarded to work today. Woohoo!

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  • spare_wheel December 7, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Toasty on Sun night and Mon morning. Bike tights underneath lycra sport pants, wind resistant gloves, 1 cotton layer under a wind resistant neoprene jacket. Sunday I wore a fleece cap under my helemt but that was way too warm.

    If it had actually been cold (e.g. below zero) I would have added another cotton layer, double gloves, long johns, rain pants, double wool socks, and a baclava.

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  • cold worker December 7, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    +1 for andy(12) and nick v.(17)

    my ride was cold but *nothing* compared to many of my mpls winter rides. that's what i kept telling myself anyways.

    wind-proofing is the key. you can wear surprisingly light clothing, even in sub-zero temps, if you have an outer wind-proof layer. velo, that's for you. you are gonna have days that hurt it's so cold! keep riding though!

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  • stace December 7, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    rode st. johns to inner SE this morning. If I had checked the weather report I might have opted to drive. Fingers were chilly for the first couple of miles and then my feet started to get cold with the wind. All in all not to bad- I found myself wishing that I had more uphill riding on the way into the office just to keep warm.... look like I'll have that now that it's about time to make the journey home! This time with extra neoprene booties over my shoes :)

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  • Joe December 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    dude you looked me today! hard to breath with that over the mouth, fun times :)

    be safe everyone! Tuesday colder. woo

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  • BicycleDave December 7, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    A face mask sounds like a good idea, but I'm still trying to figure out how to wear an Ottoman pastry on my face to keep warm.

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  • eric December 7, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    ski goggles + snowboard helmet
    neck-gaiter pulled up over mouth
    mid-weight smartwool +wool t-shirt + softshell
    rain pants + trousers + long johns + shoecovers
    Leather mildly insulated gloves: marmot work gloves - need something heavier.

    by the time I got to school I was a sweaty mess. On the way home I skipped the wool t-shirt, and could have skipped the rain pants, because I was a sweaty mess by the time I got home.

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  • dutch December 7, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I commuted on my tall bike today, where the winds always seem a little worse.

    It was cold, real cold, but thats what its supposed to be in december.

    I was well prepared though, with nearly free gear/clothing from the bins and freebox's. (mismatched)Leather gloves, spandex under thick pants, thick leather jacket, cotton facesock (covers lower face, nose and ears) and a thick baseball cap. When it gets this cold its really just about making sure everything is covered. Only the inch slit for my eyes was exposed, and even then, not really as I was wearing sunglasses.

    Still cold, but tolerable and the nice brisk air is a treat.

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  • carless in pdx December 7, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Biked a bit out today, my day off, just had to run some errands. Quite pleasant, actually, with the right apparel:

    -longjohns under my pants (just normal jeans)
    -wool socks (cheap columbias)
    -insulating jacket
    -wool beanie
    -motorcycle winter gloves

    -but of course, the most important thing to have: the turtle fur neck gaiter. Don't leave home without it, EVER:


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  • jh December 7, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I fought the cold starting at 5:00 this morning. My $8 wool pants and sweater from Goodwill gave me the upper hand. I won!!!!! Bring the cold!!!!

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  • carless in pdx December 7, 2009 at 6:54 pm
  • Joshua Bryant December 7, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    I braved the cold, and the only thing I remember "feeling" cold (all of me was a little cold) was my left thumb. How'd I do it? Thin wool socks under thicker socks under shoecovers. Thin wool Longjohn bottoms under LG windfront tights. Zipneck wool LS under SS and LS woolistic jerseys under rainjacket. Gore windblocker skullcap. Liner gloves under shell gloves. (coulda used slightly thicker liner gloves and maybe a balaclava.) Worked great! Started out a little cold, but my temperature went up and was cozy at a slower than typical speed for me. 15 mile RT commute.

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  • Carl B. December 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Tomorrow I'll wear something over my ears. Everything else was fine.

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  • John Walker December 7, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Why wouldn't I ride today? Out to Gresham in the headwind and back again. I did attempt to wear a pair of Burley non-permeable rain pants over my Sugoi pants and it seemed ok but the sweat froze in between the layers. That seemed a little silly when I got to work. And I passed MOST of the inbound commuters I see every day anyway. Way to go folks!

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  • Eric in Seattle December 7, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    It was about 28 here in Ballard when I left this morning. mid-high 20s and dry still doesn't feel as cold to me as 40 and raining. I wore jeans, shoe covers, a couple of thin layers layers on top plus a wind shell, hat, (not very thick) gloves and Bar Mitts. I was slightly overdressed.

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  • joel December 7, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    rode in at 7am, back out at 5. ne mlk/killingsworth to downtown, and then all day around town. sw was definitely colder, or at least windier, than southeast. se seemed balmy by comparison. 23 when i left the house, 29 when i got back.

    medium weight cycling socks, midweight hiking socks, sambas. bib shorts, full-length thermal bib tights, long cutoff shorts. heavy wool undershirt, light wool undershirt, tshirt, wool jersey, midweight windproof fleece. lobsterclaw gloves, beanie hat. pretty much fine. earrings got positively frigid at points, though, sticking out beneath the hat! ow. probably put in another thin layer top and bottom tomorrow, cause its due to be slightly colder in the morning, i think.

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  • Cecil December 7, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I neglected to note that part of my gear for my frigid 200K yesterday was a brand-new set of Helmuffs that I picked up at Bike Craft. They performed admirably (and they matched my new S'Mittens!)

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  • Stripes December 7, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    I would love to see a lot more of this! Perhaps a monthly feature, about Portland bicyclists' streetstyle while riding.

    Seeing pictures of cute, happy Portlanders NOT in spandex, just out and about on their bikes, going about their daily business, is probably the most inspiring way to get more people out on bikes.

    Love it. Hope to see more of it. Seriously!

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  • Cheryl G December 7, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Did the five mile to work North from SE on Williams and home South on Vancouver work commute. I went with tights, socks, leg warmers, Gortex boots, two shirt layers, vest, windproof thigh length jacket, scarf, headband and gloves. Stayed warm except for hands so tomorrow wearing different gloves. I noticed very few bikes on the way home at 6:30pm.

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  • Stig6 December 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    8F after windchill in Gresham. Near zero tomorrow. Frost bite in ~20 mins. Cover that skin.

    I was mostly comfortable this morning into the East wind with the following:

    Mesh long sleeve base layer
    Long sleeve jersey
    Light commuter jacket
    Bib shorts
    Ice bike tights
    Boot socks
    Neoprene shoe covers
    Winter gloves (will add liner tomorrow)

    Remember to stay hydrated and eat a good breakfast before heading out. The cold can really impact your ability to think clearly. Leave a bit earlier and take it easy. Your body can't possibly be as efficient breathing in this frigid air.

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  • Erinne December 7, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    I forgot my scarf and made the mistake of not going back for it. Two pairs of gloves did nothing for my hands on the way in - they were totally numb. It kept me going to think about how good it would feel to stick them under warm water at work. I was really glad to have my leg warmers under my pants, and a helmet with knit cap underneath. I wore 4 layers on top.

    I was still glad to be here in Portland rather than in the Midwest!

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  • Tony H December 7, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Wool! At least on top (3 layers). I wore a basic pair of so-called thermals under my jeans, and my legs were fine. Having my face covered really helped a lot as well. The best warmer: Riding uphill to go to work!

    Be safe, everyone.

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  • DJ Jazzy S December 7, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    I dressed like I was going Skiing, insulated snow pants and all. I also like to wear my bogs boots in the cold (and wet). These have turned out to be an amazing purchase!

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  • Zaphod December 7, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Took the 6 year old to school on the Xtracycle. Rear brake cable was frozen solid so had to gingerly use only the front. Surely some tiny bit of moisture froze inside the housing. Later, I was on a cargo-free ride and took the fixed gear. While there's plenty of love/hate here on bikeportland.org regarding these machines, they are very reliable when the mercury drops. Ratcheting pawls cannot fail and cables don't matter. With bomber tires, I'm dialed.

    Oh, and layers, lots of woolie layers. I overheat 10 minutes into any ride without.

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  • Anonymous December 7, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I rode the WES into work today, and started to ride home. By the time I got to Tigard, I was ready to throw in the towel. But when I got there, the NB WES was having problems and at least 20 minutes late.

    I kept on going, and my poor toes felt like they were ready to snap off when I got indoors.

    I need larger shoes so I can wear more wool socks.

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  • suburban December 7, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Dry pavement, no gravel, and the streets are not puckered like MN or NY. Remember how hot it was this summer? The air got hot from all the sunlight, and meteorological stuff and things, that was some weather.

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  • Lidwien December 7, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Rode in this morning from SW into town, i.e. downhill, wearing multiple layers, beanie under the helmet, scarf, gloves. I was mostly OK but my face was frozen, my eyes were watering, and my fingers were cold. Hadn't felt that feeling since I was a kid in Holland, so it was exhilarating...

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  • matthew December 7, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    been riding regularly with my softshell hoodie ski jacket-it rocks! also using my merino wool turtlenecks for base a layer, lightweight ski gloves, a wool/blend winter cycling cap with earflaps, smartwool longjohns and just dug out the balaclava. i tend to underdress a bit (so i'm not feeling like i'm in a sauna after 10 minutes) but carry extra layers to ad if needed. cold? bring it!

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  • matthew December 7, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Stripes #52, ok i have to admit that i do wear lined spandex tights under my 4 plus'and cut-off pants a lot. they have a zipper ankle cuff with reflective trim which i think is helpful this time of year.

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  • 4tes December 7, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    I rode to work this morning with a wool sweater, fleece jacket and a windbreaker. I also used a buff balaclava but regret not wearing my cycling glasses. My eyes were very red and I had slightly blurred vision when coming into work. I was able to use some safety glasses from the machine shop for the ride home. The ride was quite pleasant.

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  • Yinzer Dave December 8, 2009 at 5:32 am

    Erok from Bike Pittsburgh has something to say about your "cold weather" n'at.

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  • Donna December 8, 2009 at 7:31 am

    I rode yesterday to and from downtown, and I'll ride today to and from SE. Tomorrow will be Tri Met, as I will have to go out to Gresham.

    I have a pair of silk long underwear that I deeply appreciate in this kind of weather. Besides the usual, I'm also keeping my face covered both to prevent too much windburn and an asthma attack. The cold air combined with exercise will get me every time.

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  • Cindy December 8, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Watch out for the wind!
    I got blown over on Thursday while riding at a pretty fast clip. The wind sent me into a slippery painted bike-lane line, and I got a concussion and enough shoulder pain to keep me off the bike for a while. I would be missing a chunk of skull if not for my helmet.

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  • Yinzer Dave December 8, 2009 at 8:23 am

    He called you wimps! Defend yourselves!

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  • Spork December 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

    My winter prep includes duct taping all the vents closed on my helmet and I fear no cold.

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  • solid gold December 8, 2009 at 10:01 am

    ZooBomb Sunday night had a windchill temp of 15!! (not including speeds of 40mph) and we all stayed out from 9pm-3am. why? because, that's what we do.

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  • joeb December 8, 2009 at 10:05 am

    lol Yinzer Dave. You win. Pdx weather is very mild compared to your part of the country. I can't defend myself. I just ride and love the clear skies and frozen air. Glad to see a bike-pgh site.

    I had a lot of company in the bike lanes yesterday and today. I wonder how much biking really drops off in the winter. There is still a lot of bike traffic.

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  • El Biciclero December 8, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I guess Erok doesn't understand that for folks who are more used to 35 degree rain, a little snow (which around here usually turns to freezing rain or melts and re-freezes into sharp frozen ice chunks) or temps in the teens are a bit out of the ordinary. I'm sure if the weather here was as boring as other places, where it snows all winter and never gets above freezing, we'd have an easier time of it here in the NW.

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  • Nick V December 8, 2009 at 10:20 am

    This morning I was wishing I could ride my bike as fast as my nose was running if you know what I mean.

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  • carless in pdx December 8, 2009 at 10:27 am

    yinzer: you guys don't have open comments, otherwise we would.

    also, nice bike plow. You east coasters gonna plant your streets with weeds?

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  • Jim F December 8, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Only thing different from normal was a new pair of ski mittens that kept my hands toasty. Tried a wool hat under my helmet today but it was much too warm. Will go back to just the ear warmers tonight. Otherwise, the cold has been no biggie.

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  • Ryan G. December 8, 2009 at 10:50 am

    @ joeb #71: I would be curious to see actual numbers regarding that. On my commute (coming in from near Killingsworth and NE 40th) I have been seeing quite a few less cyclists until I get close in to downtown. Also the indoor and outdoor racks in my building have been nearly empty (compared to summer when sometimes you can't find a place to lock up at all). On the other hand, last night I met a friend for a beer on the east side just off Hawthorne, and from the bridge to about 12th (where I got off Hawthorne) it seemed about normal. I wonder if PBOT is tracking cyclist numbers?

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  • Schrauf December 8, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Good news, most people adapt to cold weather quickly. This is only my second winter in Spokane after moving from Portland, and this morning at two degrees I did not even need a ski mask. Last year I used a ski mask every day the temperature was below ten degrees.

    Just have a plan (bus, walk, etc.) if you get a flat tire. No way in hell I could change a tire in this type of weather, with frozen bare hands and brittle rubber.

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  • chelsea December 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    I road yesterday and today. The only part that was cold was my face. I guess I need to get a balaclava or rig something up with a scarf. I love cammaraderie at stop lights when it's this cold out. We all know we are a little crazy to be on bikes in this weather, but having fun. And I still mean it when I say I prefer below freezing to over 100.

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  • Kronda December 8, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I'd say I won, by a nose on last night's commute to class. My methods aren't cheap, but have been built up over many winters of commuting.

    Keen winter boots
    Smartwool expedition weight socks
    Foot warmers (and my feet still got a bit chilled!)
    Fleece lined pants (only layer needed, these are new and I love them and squeeze them and call them George).
    Icebreaker tank top base + long sleeve 260 wool base.
    Showers Pass softshell trainer
    Drop-bar style Pogies from Bar Mitts
    OR Research midweight gloves w/ handwarmers
    Smartwool cap + handmade wool winter cap from Little Package (w ear flaps)
    Lightweight sport buff around neck and mouth.
    Ski goggles

    Dang. Takes a village to keep me comfy when it's below freezing I guess. But I must say I was comfortable as opposed to 'near tears' which I have been in previous winters.

    Of course, after all that, I see some guy riding in shorts on my way to class!

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  • Shetha December 8, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I only rode for a few errands, but I seemed to be pretty well equipped, cozy when moving and when not moving. Gotta love the repurposed ski gear :-) Oh and the scarf for the face -- definitely a must! Good to learn what you're made of, I say. Helps keep you from doubting yourself later ;-)

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  • Ryan G. December 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Another thought on this weather: I'll take this over the usual high-thirties-mid-forties rain we usually get this time of year. It's a lot easier to stay warm when you're dry.

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  • Memo December 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I biked on Sunday night and plan on going out tomorrow, love my softshell.

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  • Andrea December 8, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Biked to work and home- I actually love this weather. The roads are clear and dry, the Christmas lights are up- turn up the Brian Setzer! I'll save the complaining for mid-January, when the roads are a mess.

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  • Bike Olympia December 8, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    I rode home from working late Monday night. It was 3am Tuesday and according to the bike computer it was 18 degrees F.

    A cold six miles and I only saw two cars the whole time. I felt like Charlton Heston in "The Omega Man"!

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  • Noah Genda December 9, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Best $60 I ever spent was on the performance triflex tights (on sale now) throw them on over some long johns and I have no complaints, they are windproof, waterproof and warm as can be.

    Then its the old Long john top with a windbreaker over top, hood up (but pulled tight with draw strings) and a bandana over my face, oh and winter gloves. No problems what so ever, 11 mile commute each way everyday. The bus takes forever so no matter how cold it gets I will be out there.

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  • Joe Maddon's Rays December 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I rode in in shorts but warm layers otherwise. Calfs AND thighs were red like a sunburn. I'll stick with pants until next week when it warms up. Still it was fun to say that I did it.

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  • kenny December 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    I need better gloves. Thinking Lobster? Or, some have tried wool filled Farmer's style gloves with success?

    The Pearl Izumi Cyclone gloves are disappointing. The Windcutter Fleece Eddie Bauear gloves covering over the PI's managed in a pinch, but I could still feel some cold on my finger tips.

    This worked well enough:

    Smart Wool Socks
    REI Polartec fleece ear cover/band
    Wooly Gap Hat that pull over ears as well and fit OK under the helmet.
    Long Wool Gap Scarf rapped around my neck and tucked under my front zipper to give added chest protection from the cold, while also wrapped over my lower face just over my nose.
    Doc Gibson shoes
    Long Johns under Wool Pants
    Need a good base, for now just a cotton t with a wool sweater.
    Lined Army Surplus long jacket I managed to get a Novarra yellow rain jacket over the jacket, well mostly because I wanted the reflective properties on my ride home last night at 630pm in those record temps!

    I actually felt a little warm about 15 minutes into my 25 minute commute from 41st and Burnside off the bus to 52nd and Harold.

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  • Jim December 9, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    I just got some lobster gloves and they're a lot warmer than any of the five-finger gloves I've got. I'd been pretty much set on a really good pair of mittens and if it gets any colder I'll wish I'd got those instead. Otherwise I had enough layers on to have to unzip some after a while. My feet get kind of cold - even with wool socks and insulated boots - before I get to the end of my ride, but the trouble with the extremities I think is maybe a leftover from my ice-fishing days back east. Riding into the east wind is wearing me out though.

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  • John Lascurettes December 9, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Ride home this evening was much better (despite being colder) without a strong ENE or E wind in my face.

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  • kenny December 10, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Some changes from a couple days back.

    Last night I used a better base layer. I remembered buying a Columbia one at the outlet and it made some difference.

    I think a Balaclava would be much better than my long scarf pulled over my cheeks, but it was adequate. Thinking of Smart Wool.

    My toes were a little cold. Would neoprene booties help?

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  • kenny December 10, 2009 at 9:38 am

    oh...and a gentleman on the bus recommended motor cycle gloves. Seems like a good option.

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  • kenny December 10, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I wonder if something like that would work in these colder than normal temps?

    Seems like bike gloves are pricey for what they offer.

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  • Martin NL December 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    ski goggles! combined with ski gloves, fleece beanie , wool scarf (to cover mouth) and a shot of 12y/o single malt...

    Ride on.

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  • Andrea December 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    After four days, it really does get easier. Today was the first day I stayed warm. Reading what others did really helped. Most useful tip: Wearing rain pants. Really traps the heat.

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  • kiwimunki December 11, 2009 at 7:36 am

    It's -40F where I work right now, and I'm outside most of the day. The best tip I've picked up for dealing with the cold temps is to try to generate some of your own heat before you head out - a minute of push ups or hold a yoga plank position. It gives you the will to walk out the door, gets circulation into your fingers and toes, and it can help you identify unnecessary clothing that might make you get sweaty after you've been riding awhile.

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  • Yinzer Dave December 11, 2009 at 7:43 am

    -40F? Where are you, Yellowknife?

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  • kiwimunki December 11, 2009 at 8:06 am

    :) Pretty close to it, #96. Back on Monday and looking for a few masochist wingnuts who want to go cold-weather riding and try out all these BikePortlanders' good advice. Who's tough enough?

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  • kenny December 11, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Just an FYI: The Mid Weight Paradox Base layers are at Costco again. $19 pants, $19 shirt.

    I have heard decent things about them except the fit is normally large...but for the price...getting 1 siz too small would do.

    Maybe try them on in the bath room before leaving to make sure you have the right size?

    Anyone think these would work in the 17-30 degree temps we have been having?

    Frustrated with my bike gloves from Pear Izumi and liners not doing the trick...I saw some Head ski gloves for only $14 yesterday.

    They are very comfy and I figured being that they are for skiing, 20 degrees should be no big deal. Spending $70 on Lobster Gloves that are good just for biking, that was hard for me to grasp.

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  • Ed December 11, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I rode to work this week and last week and my goodness... its cold! freezing! I don't think any of the bike gloves really works in this cold weather. I would just go and buy a really thick knited gloves, perhaps those with the fingerless and a mitten cap over it. The Nau rain jackets are great even though they are thin. It keeps the air consistently warm inside your body. I just wear a t shirt with a sweater or hoodie and then my nau jacket over it. perfect when I get into the max without a sweat. Though I've been wearing icebreaker leggings under my jeans, and that still didn't keep my legs freezing up.

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  • andrew December 19, 2009 at 2:03 am

    I rode...for the last time, until?

    I hit a patch of black ice on a leanin' turn just blocks from my house. I was able to hobble / slide home in the freeze to spend days on crutches. I'm still walking with a cane and will be for the forseeable future as I tore ligaments in a couple places, moved the knee cap out of alignment and gave myself some bursitis. All in less than half a second.

    But I can't wait to get back on my bike. Not riding is already bothering me.

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  • cheap dj gear April 14, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    I agree with the conversations regarding the cold winter touch experiences.The outermost layer should be at least some tight-knit fabric which will stop the wind. Wear mittens (if you can) as opposed to gloves. Wear a hat. If you're going to be outside in the wind for an extended period of time, cover your face with a scarf you can breathe through.

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