Where we live it gets very cold at night in the winter but the day normally warms up to a balmy 40-50d. Years ago Canadian cyclists from the Ottawa area (real frozen north territory-not to much worse than Michigan I'll bet) used to come down to train for the race season and complain about the cold at night and the morning. They were very surprised. If you can ride midday in the winter no problem but for commuters the early morn and late afternoon can be dilemma.
Below freezing is the problem for feet. The feet are a problem and keeping good circulation is critical as mentioned below. I still have some winter shoes made by Rivat years ago and I must save they beat out shoe covers for warmth, fit, and easy of entry every time. Garne(sic) and some other brands still offer these by special order from your LBS but fitting is a problem. (Find out the return privileges in advance to avoid hard feelings.)
My simple solution for city riding and short commutes is a little primitive. Put on a pair of $20 or so wide platform BMX pedals and use a pair of stiff hiking boots. The lugs in the shoe stick nearly as well as toeclips and you can have good ankling action if the boots are not cut to high. They keeps you nice toasty and roasty. In addition if the snow is terrible you can slosh through it off the bike.
Gilbert "where we had 2 feet of hard snow on our street for 10 days last year" Anderson
In a message dated 10/31/00 3:01:42 PM, email@example.com writes:
<< I put in 400 miles last January in Michigan, plus the daily commute. I find ordinary ski gloves adequate for my hands. I also have a range of Pearl Izumi gloves and mittens. I have a few tricks for my feet. The first step is a set of shoes that are just a bit looser than normal so that not only can you fit an extra layer of socks, but also the circulation is good. It is counterproductive if the additional insulation cuts off circulation. The second step is neoprene booties. Buy these carefully as I have found the heavy Pearl Izumi (Typhoon?) to be too thick and rub the crank arms. They are also very hard to get on and off. I use SPD pedals in the winter but I couldn't imagine heavy booties would work well with toe clips. E-mail me if you want a recommendation. Another step is a Gore-Tex inner sock as sold for hiking. This really prevents wind getting through the shoe. These liners are thin and do not contribute much to making the shoes too tight.
I have never tried the special winter shoes. Anybody like them.
Ann Arbor >>