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This bike pic Saturday is a peaceful morning for a bike ride and to bundle up junior and get him conditioned for the cooler weather ahead.
So, adjust to the cold and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.
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Now rolling through our 19th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. Photo(s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide to be considered. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.
As we continue encouraging 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 in our 14th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.
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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.
It was impossible to miss the Sealskinz booth at Interbike this year. There in the center of the exhibit was a huge tub of water with a woman standing in the middle wearing nothing on her feet but socks! When I asked if her feet were wet or cold, she responded casually “nope, I’ve been standing here for an hour and my feet are still dry and warm.” I was intrigued, but not convinced, because I couldn’t help but think “how could it be soft and waterproof”? Well, fast forward a few weeks and I am happy to say that Sealskinz recently sent us a care package of products right in time for winter. Take a look for details on the Super Thin Pro Socks.
Sealskinz socks construction
The Sealskinz’ seminal product was a waterproof, insulated sock designed for the rigors of wet English winters. We received SealSkinz’ new Super Thin Pro sock. The great thing about this sock is it retains all the waterproof and insulating properties of their exiting socks with a third less weight and bulk. To achieve a lighter sock, Sealskinz employed a new knit pattern for the outer layer and bamboo fiber for the insulation layer. Because a sock has a huge hole in the top of it to accept your foot, they cant be 100% waterproof. What Sealskinz does to combat water coming in from the top of the sock, is to employ a silicon band along the inner cuff of the sock. It rests against the skin and seals off most of the water that would normally migrate down into your sock.
How they fit
Immediately upon putting them on I could feel the liner embedded in the fabric. Why they feel different is the waterproof membrane gives the socks a structure that is more substantial than your normal socks. The fabric bonded on the inside and outside of membrane is really soft to the touch and comfortable on your skin. I did have a concern that the socks would not be able to stretch and flex enough to conform to my feet, but I was proven wrong, again. nearly immediately. Also, I had concerns about the silicon cuff. On many cycling shorts with “grippers” at the bottom of the leg cuff can be uncomfortable. I am happy to report that I never felt any discomfort with the Sealskinz cuff.
Socks in the real world
Although I haven’t had a ton of time to ride these socks, I did have an exceptional first experience. My commute to work is about 40 minutes through the rolling terrain of the Twin Cities suburbs. The day I received the socks was just under 30 degrees and spitting a rain/snow mix. I left for work wearing my standard cycling shoes and a good quality wool cycling sock. In those conditions, I arrived at the office with numb toes that when thawed, hurt a ton. Fast forward to the end of the day, where conditions were exactly the same as the morning, yeah! (More freezing temps and rain). In the evening, I wore that Super Thin Pro Sock instead of my wool sock. In contrast to my ride in, by the time I got home, my feet were still nice and toasty. To clarify, I rode 40 minutes in rain/snow mix and 30 degrees with my feet warm and cozy.
So the Super Thin Pro Sock has passed all my initial tests. However, I’m not done yet. So over the next few weeks, I will test them again. As Minnesota’s temperatures continue to drop I plan to find the lowest temp these socks will work on my feet. Additionally, I have gloves and booties from Sealskinz that will be subjected to the worst Minnesota has to dish out. Stay tuned for more!
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.
With the proper layers of clothing staying active can be fun
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.
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.
To protect both yourself and the bike from salt splash thrown up from wet roads, get fenders.
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.
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.
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.
If 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
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.
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.
There 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.