Author Topic: Winter cycling  (Read 843 times)

in4

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John Saxby

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2023, 04:16:26 am »
Thanks, Ian.  Similar story on this website: https://theurbanactivist.com/idea/why-arctic-conditions-dont-stop-cycling-in-oulu-finland/

I first heard about this city through a post by a fellow in London, Ontario.  Not much winter there -- but he was making the case for better cycling infrastructure in Ottawa.

Winter in Ottawa this year is, er, shy and reticent:  since Christmas Eve we've had 4-5 days of mild mist'n'drizzle, and there is nothing left of our 20 cms of snow from early December.

"Normally", winter cycling here is hazardous: not because of the snow & ice, but because of the lack of cycling infrastructure.  That said, in the past twenty years or so, our default winter mode has become snow-thaw-freeze, so that ice buildup on roads and sidewalks is very marked, and dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. (Motorists' behaviour is part of the problem, as you might imagine: auto-body shops report year-over-year increases of revenue on the order of 25%.)

There was a time when we could expect cold, clear, sunny weather for some part of December, much and January, and into Feb., with daytime highs around -15º C, & nighttime lows to -30 or colder.  No longer -- rarely do we have more than a day or two like that at a stretch.

Ottawa has the rep of being the coldest national capital in the world, jostling with Ulan Bator for that "distinction".  This, despite being at a latitude only slightly north of Marseille.

Stay warm'n'dry  ;)

WorldTourer

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2023, 07:32:34 am »
I have bicycle-commuted in Finland in the winter and indeed it is just as easy and normal as other countries’ media reports. However, its conditions are hard to replicate elsewhere. For one, even various other developed European countries don’t clean bike paths well in winter. But secondly, Finland is a fairly prosperous country and people have money to spend on necessary gear like winter tires. Elsewhere, the class of people who would commute by bike might not necessarily have the funds for such purchases.

UKTony

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2023, 09:10:30 am »
Another grey, wet and windy day here ☹️. So far this winter in this SW corner of the UK we’ve had very few dry days around Zero. Although it’s been quite mild - single figures up to low teens -  it’s also been much wetter than usual. The surrounding fields are sodden and even if you can dodge the showers it only takes one short sharp shower for water to pond and stream down the lanes carrying debris - mud, gravel, leaves, twigs etc - across the roads. Recently on one 10 mile route where it would be unusual to have to ride through one minor flood on the road we encountered 6 “ponds”, fortunately not deep enough to submerge the Rohloff if you’re careful. The excess surface water also further erodes imperfections in the road surface and old repairs pop out creating more hazards for cyclists!

So, at the moment I think I’d happily swap cycling here for the dry, not wet, cold in Finland. And the
country is quite flat isn’t it? 😀

mickeg

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2023, 04:27:36 pm »
I have not been on a bike since Dec 7, or for three and a half weeks.  On that day I did a 21 mile exercise ride, temp was about +5 (C).

Am in Madison Wisconsin, USA, thus a bit north and east of the center of USA.  Has been very warm this winter.  We had a couple inches of snow two days ago, has not melted yet.  The ten day forecast has temps above freezing on eight of ten days.

Plan to use an exercise bike today for an hour, that will have to do for now.

I have studded tires, but I am not going to install them unless they are needed.

WorldTourer

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2023, 08:18:11 am »
fortunately not deep enough to submerge the Rohloff if you’re careful.

I don’t believe that brief submersion is a problem for modern gearboxes. So many of the world’s popular bicycle-travel routes now involve water crossings. When I cycled that day on the Baja Divide that has 18 successive fords, all of my fellow cyclists seemed worried about their bottom brackets but not their Rohloff or Pinion.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2023, 08:21:03 am by WorldTourer »

UKTony

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2023, 09:29:19 am »
fortunately not deep enough to submerge the Rohloff if you’re careful.

I don’t believe that brief submersion is a problem for modern gearboxes. So many of the world’s popular bicycle-travel routes now involve water crossings. When I cycled that day on the Baja Divide that has 18 successive fords, all of my fellow cyclists seemed worried about their bottom brackets but not their Rohloff or Pinion.
Thanks. Perhaps I’m being over cautious after having seen AB’s advice on page 6 of his ‘Living with a Rohloff hub’


http://www.sjscycles.com/thornpdf/ThornLivingWithARohloff.pdf


Mine is a 2013 hub but It’s not very clear what he means by ‘early’ and later hubs, hence my caution.

Andre Jute

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2023, 10:51:12 am »
Perhaps I’m being over cautious after having seen AB’s advice on page 6 of his ‘Living with a Rohloff hub’
http://www.sjscycles.com/thornpdf/ThornLivingWithARohloff.pdf

Those with time can also see pp32, 33 and 39. However, Mr Blance doesn't specify a cutoff date for the early watertight(er) seal on these pages either, and the exceptionally valuable Thorn 10-year warranty specifically excludes power-washing and immersion.

My hub was, IIRC, made in 2006, and Andy Blance wrote his remarks in 2018, so it seems fair to conclude that it was on his mind that the changeover was nearer to 2018 than 2006.

That may seem a license to submerge the hub, to some at least.

But I've never submerged my hub even though in the harvest seasons I've sometimes jumped into streams beside narrow lanes at the approach of 12ft-wide harvesters with rows of vicious spikes leading, holding my bike over my head to keep it out of the water. Since I've electrified my daily bike, the necessity has passed as my bike is faster than the clumsy machines.

Whether any cyclist would be able to take the same care on tour in some of the rougher parts of the world is a different matter.

Thanks for the link, Tony; my copy has been lost for a while in hard discs currently rotated out of service, so it is a welcome addition to the reading matter on the iPad on my treadmill while it is too wet and cold to cycle here in Ireland.

mickeg

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2023, 12:13:01 pm »
If you submerge something that is filled with air to a depth of 10 inches (a quarter meter), the water pressure outside of the hollow object that you submerged has a bit over a third of one PSI of greater pressure than the pressure inside the object.  A pinhole sized leak and water will get in even with that little bit of outside pressure, the longer it is submerged, the more water gets in. 

First photo, my heart rate monitor was rated as waterproof, but when I used it in the rain, this is what happened.

Second photo, my Garmin 62S was rated for being submerged for 30 minutes at a depth of one meter.  But, it sat outside on a table during a rainstorm and it took weeks for the interior moisture to leak back out of the casing, it was hard to read through the condensation on the inside of the screen on my two week backpacking trip.  Believe it or not, it still works, but I am more careful with it on rainy days.  This is my second Garmin that got water into it, the first one (an Etrex Legend) stopped working completely after water got in it.

Third photo, my travel watch was rated for waterproofness to 100 meters of water depth, but the place that I had change the batteries apparently screwed up the seal, I wore it on a rainy day while camping and water got in it, the buttons stopped working and it eventually died.

I am not submerging my Rohloff or any of my dynohubs for even a second.  If you want to do so, good luck to you.

JohnR

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2023, 12:50:28 pm »
The past four months have been abnormally wet in southern England. A good quality automatic weather station in my garden has now reached 1070mm for 2023 which is 39% higher than the 30 year average for the nearest location with a long term record https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/maps-and-data/uk-climate-averages/gcnv0r# (and my simple manual rain gauge has recorded even more rain). A very heavy shower is increasing the total as I type this.

Perhaps there's merit in adding some extra oil to a Rohloff hub in the autumn sufficient for some to seep out along the axle and discourage water from flowing in. There's definitely merit in doing an oil change in the spring to get rid of any potentially watery oil. I've been through some unusually big puddles on roads this winter although I don't think any have been more than about 6" deep - I can coast through with my feet lifted off the pedals.

martinf

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2023, 12:58:53 pm »
I am not submerging my Rohloff or any of my dynohubs for even a second.

I've come close, when riding through a puddle that turned out to be much deeper than expected. So I did chain and pedal overhauls when I got home.

At least with a Rohloff there is the option of doing an oil change to flush any water out.

It doesn't seem easy to open up SON, Shimano or SP dynohubs if ever they get wet inside.


mickeg

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2023, 02:16:59 pm »
...
It doesn't seem easy to open up SON, Shimano or SP dynohubs if ever they get wet inside.

More info on SP here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/electronics-lighting-gadgets/1186586-shutter-precision-hub-bearing-replacement.html

Yeah, that would take some work, you need to remove the spokes to separate the two halves of the shell.

A friend of mine was complaining that his SP hub quit working.  I recalled seeing a photo of him and his wife fording a stream with their bikes, I asked if he had his SP on the bike when he forded a stream.  He said - "Yeah, but it is supposed to be waterproof".  I tried to resist laughing when I heard him say that, but was not very successful.


PH

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2023, 04:49:08 pm »
My Rohloffs have been submerged a few times, flood water rather than river crossings, it's part of my normal cycling, I don't see how I could avoid it without compromising the reasons I cycle. If it's been particularly bad, I'll do an early oil change as a precaution.  I've never had anything that looks like water contamination come out of the hub. 
Pre Rohloff days, I did ride a bike with a SON hub into a canal*, a bit concerned I emailed Schmidt, the reply was not to worry as a short submersion was within tolerance! That hub needed a service about twenty years later, but I don't think it's related.

*Not an experience I'd like to repeat, though apparently not as unique as I thought either.   

Andre Jute

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Re: Winter cycling
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2024, 11:53:57 am »
The technical meaning of "waterproof" or "water resistant" without qualification is 3ATM or 100 feet at sea level for 30 minutes. It sounds impressive but it is good only for hand-washing under a slow-running tap and light rain without any wind driving it. A fully open tap with a good head of water in the crawlspace above it -- which is your average bathroom or kitchen washbasin tap -- will defeat it, as will heavy or wind-driven rain.

There's an annual service cycle for this standard and every other ATM rating, and for higher ratings like 20ATM or 670ft an actual pressure test at every annual service.

Comprehension is not furthered by Chinese manufacturers throwing imaginary ATM ratings around like confetti. Since people have discovered which Chinese makers not to believe, the Chinese have started using IP67 and IP68 ratings to confuse the issue, which in their hands are even more worthless. Most worthless of all is a rating the Chinese invented: "5ATM life water resistance" which means less than 3ATM. or "Don't try washing your car while wearing this one!"

A waterproof instrument like a heart monitor or handlebar computer, to have a credible 100ATM rating (long and within living memory a professional diver's rating, today that is 20ATM), should have all controls and ports threaded and screwed down, with O-rings compressed under the head, and all threads and O-rings dipped in Silicone grease annually and at all battery changes.

For 20ATM you need to ask about the precision of the thread cutting and matching as well.

Uprating to 30 ATM or 1000ft in my opinion requires circular half-round recess cutting for O-ring positioning and precision, which is expensive engineering and forbiddingly expensive by the time it reaches a retail sales counter. The point of such a watch or other device isn't to dive to a thousand feet but to have better waterproofing at the limiting depth of lesser watches or diving equipment or the human body.

30ATM is overkill for any conditions a bicycle or bicyclist is likely to meet, but I think a true 20ATM device could be justified on tour because you can swim with it, and you may not want to leave it on the bike; it should, if in good nick, also resist, say, monsoon events long enough to find shelter.

Note that all these ratings presume cold water. Hot water or even a steamy environment will certainly defeat any rating under 10ATM and shorten the rebuild and test interval even on the better ratings.

BTW, don't put an iPhone (or any other phone) in even a sweaty pants pocket, or you might be refused warranty service and have to buy a new one.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2024, 05:08:07 pm by Andre Jute »