Tag Archives: commuting by bike

Now that the winter season is in full swing here are several bike events through the balance of January, for your preferred riding pleasure.

Out of the box review: the best cold weather glove to date

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Finding a cold weather glove, it has finally happened. I found the bottom of the Sealskinz Halo glove’s effective temperature range. Before you start to think I went on some wild adventure like the Goonies search for One Eyed Willie, you should know that it has been a pretty mild winter by Minnesota standards around here. Basically, the Halo leaves me looking for more around 15 degrees. Normally, that’s colder than 90% of the riders out there will endure, but like me, there are a few lost souls who ride through it all (or almost through it all). For us, Sealskinz promises to have us covered with the Highland Claw glove. Let’s take a look at what makes it special!

A cold weather glove ‘Out of the Box’

The Highland Claw glove is a “lobster claw” style glove that intends to maximize your body heat by pairing your fingers together. You are left with the pointer and middle finger as well as the ring and pinkie finger paired up like a Vulcan salute. These gloves are fully water/windproof and boast more insulation than the Halo glove. Like always, special care is taken with the packaging to ensure no holes are put in the glove.

Highland Claw

Details of the Highland Claw.

Cold weather glove construction

The gloves have what feels like a durable outer shell and soft synthetic suede thumb. Closure for the glove is handled by a single Velcro strap paired with some elastic in the cuff to keep things snug. The palm is similar to the Halo glove so I expect it to be just as durable and comfortable. Additionally, the glove has a couple cool touches to aid in visibility. Between the fingers, at the knuckle, and on the fingertips, Sealskinz has included reflective material to keep you visable.

highland claw

Palm detail of the Highland Claw

Cold weather glove fit

I received a pair of XL gloves Highland Claw Gloves. They come in sizes ranging from small through double extra-large. While I usually wear the largest glove size from any manufacturer the XL seems to fit really well, which is good news for my large fisted friends. When trying on the glove I found that my fingers easily found their place and came out of the glove easily. Usually, when you add insulation, gloves don’t always want to release your hand well, but it appears Sealskinz has worked some magic to bypass this problem. The Velcro cuff is a nice touch, but probably not needed as the elastic held things in place well.

Highland Claw

The cuff detail on the Highland Claw glove.

Warmth

Right off the bat, these gloves felt warm, noticeably warmer than the Halo glove in fact. This isn’t a dig on the Halo but a testament to the Highland Claw. I’ve worn the gloves as low as -2 with no issue, but haven’t yet gotten the chance to ride with them much below the teens.

Moving forward

It appears the mild winter we all were hoping for here in Minnesota in unlikely. We are expecting highs in the negative range next week, so I will have ample opportunity to see how warm these gloves can be. In reality, if they stay warm through the single digits, that’s more than I can hope for. Riding below zero takes a commitment of mind and gear that I really don’t encourage for most. Also, once you get into the negative temps, there is no amount of gear that does anything but buy you time. The right gloves might give you an hour, but eventually, jack frost wins. Stay tuned to hear how much of a fight these gloves put up in my mid term review.

With summer now a cherished memory, we are counting the months before we can do a re-shoot of this Minnesota photo taken along the Mississippi River Trail.

Bike Pic Nov 16, seven months and counting for this photo re-shoot

With summer now a cherished memory, we are counting the months before we can do a re-shoot of this Minnesota photo taken along the Mississippi River Trail.

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Requested Re-Shoot’ pic of the day!  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

So smooth out your day-to-day ride with Wheelie Wednesday, and:

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic April 2, running errands with junior in tow

Here dad is enjoying riding his bike on a sunny afternoon, running errands, with junior in tow. Consider using your bike in tandem with your car, a bus or train, to run errands, commute to work or on your next vacation.

See more friendly places to ride and explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle tourism media our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As HFB searches and presents more fun cycling related photos, worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted that may help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us post? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 800 pixels wide or larger for us to consider using them. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for at the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of information, now available for mobile devices.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

Make Winter Bike Commuting Fun

by Fred Oswald
Winter commuting offers challenges and rewards to those who use a bicycle for work or to just run errands and here are some suggestions for safe riding.

Winter ride -13a

With the proper layers of clothing staying active can be fun

 

 Layers

The cold weather requires keeping hands, feet and especially ears warm while not overheating elsewhere.  The solution is layers of clothing with ventilating zippers using wool and other synthetic clothes products and stay away from wearing anything cotton which will  trap perspiration and make you cold.

Winter ride -4

Making a stop along the Minneapolis Greenway

For top layers a breathable wind shell over a wicking fabric works well.  Lined nylon running pants with leg zippers can keep legs warm.  Elastic sewn on the right cuff helps keep it away from the chainring.  An ear band or balaclava under the helmet will keep your head warm. 

Below freezing, wear liner gloves and possibly mitts. in really cold weather, keeping feet warm may be difficult.  Neoprene shoe covers will help.  A cheaper alternative may be insulated hiking boots and one of the many varieties of pedals with little pegs for gripping, available at your favorite bike shop.

Fenders

To protect both yourself and the bike from salt splash thrown up from wet roads, get fenders. 

Winter ride -1

Extend your rear fender with a flattened milk jug

If fenders do not extend low enough, add homemade flaps made from a material such as from a plastic milk jug.

 

Handling Black Ice

A special winter hazard is black ice.  My worst fall was in a place where the road looked clear except the blacktop was just a little “too black”. Some cyclists ride with chains or studded tires and now with the availability of fat tire bikes riding on ice have become much more stable – Though others wait for dryer roads for safe riding. 

Winter ride -3

Handling Visibility

Another problem is visibility.  In the early morning or late afternoon you may be invisible to a motorist dazzled by low sun.  Be wary and wear clothing that makes you stand out from your surroundings.

Winter commuting usually means riding in the dark, at least one-way.  Don’t even think of riding at night without a headlight!  Bright clothing and reflectors are not enough.  Some people use a flashing strobe for a headlight.  This is a good supplement to a standard headlight but not enough alone.  Follow the standard “color code”:  white in front, red or orange in back. PennCycle_728x90a

A strobe (flashing light) on the back of the bike will help motorists notice you but is not so good at providing depth information to following drivers.  I supplement the small standard red rear reflector with both a 3″ amber SAE auto reflector that is 8-10 times brighter plus an LED strobe.  If you mount the reflector off to the side it is less likely to get caked with mud thrown up by the wheel.

IWinter bike -8f you are caught in the dark without lights, don’t try to sneak down the sidewalk.  Walk your bike home! Reflectors and reflectorized clothing alone are not enough.  To understand why, read John Schubert’s interesting explanation “Why reflectors sometimes don’t work,” at SheldonBrown.com

 

Bike Maintenance

Finally, the salt and wet grit are tough on bearings, chain and wheel rims (abrasive grit imbeds in the brake pads).  Better bikes have seals to protect wheel bearings (but re-grease in the spring).  You should lube your chain every week or so and learn how to measure the wear (sometimes incorrectly called “chain stretch”).  Once a chain wears so it is about one percent longer (1/8″ on a 1-foot ruler), it will be damaging your cassette cogs.  It should be replaced before then.

Winter ride -5

 

A serious bike commuter will want more than one bike to cover different situations.  You may find it useful to have:  a light road bike for fast riding in good conditions; a sturdy steed that can handle panniers to carry clothes, etc.; and a fat tire bike or a “clunker” with fenders and knobby tires for bad weather and winter.  Having more than one bike saves you from being late for work if you find a flat tire or other mechanical problem in the morning.

Winter ride -7There are many benefits to winter commuting to work or just to run errands.  One of the biggest is maintaining fitness year ’round.  You no longer have to “get in shape” in the spring.  You experience the delight of spinning past frost covered trees on a crisp winter morning.  And it is fun to tell your shivering co-workers and friends how hot you got on that bitter, cold day.

 

Fred Oswald, is a certified “League Cycling Instructor” and a professional engineer in Ohio.