Some familiar stuff again:
Real means colder than minus 10 Celsius. I don’t have any limits. -32C has been coldest so far.
Critical points of the body
1. Feet – I have old Lake MX303 (?) winter shoes. They are one size bigger than summer shoes. Should be two. Alone they don’t protect enough at all. Therefore I have Vaude Minsk II overshoes. The new ones are very warm. I have SPD cleats so I have a quite thick insole. One sock. Or one thick and one very thin. If needed I use chemical warmers (small plastic bags containing rust 😉 )
2. Hands – I have thick leather mittens with inner gloves.
3. Head – Helmet cover and one or two windstopper cap. Open face – no burkha! (Or balaclava – they are for the babies)
The rest of the body: always more clothes on than needed. It’s better to sweat than shiver.
Upper body: Extreme cold – two winter jackets on top of each other. Underwear shirt. Two long shirts. Arm warmers. And more if needed.
Lower body: two winter bibs on top of each other. Underwear shorts if needed. Knee warmers if needed.
At the moment I have three thermos bottles. One big 1,5l and two (too) small. I have enough warm drink for about 100km. That’s vital for me. Food freezes therefore I eat normally chocolate or other sweets.
Bad and good winter routes
A good route contains less cycle paths and more roads the bigger the better. They are normally better plowed. 200km long full circle is the best. Sometimes I ride a little bit there and a little bit here. The result is too short ride and at the end of the ride you must find extra round in order to get the whole mileage. I plan to stop at least once. Sometimes I don’t have time to stop second time. Even it’s very cold the clothes get very wet inside out. After the indoor break the clothes freeze to the ”backbone” and that is not nice at all.
Winter cycling is ride or die happening 😉 If you are able to ride you keep yourself warm if not you freeze to death – so simple! There where I sometimes ride 200km trips there are no passing cars or living people. If I fall or otherwise stay there nobody will rescue me. What about lungs. They suffer like rest of the body. When its very cold (-20C and over) its some kind of art to ride fast enough and breathe the same time.
Sometimes people ask when it feels good –never. Winter cycling is pain in the ass. Why I ride – maybe kind of need for vanity and self-importance.