I'm with Clive - riding in the cold is OK, and it gets down to minus ten here, but the rain is generally a drag. Lobster gloves with hot-packs, neoprene over booties, merino wool and fleece and yer set for the cold. I do ride in the rain, but usually only if I get caught out after starting a ride in the dry... Pretty much always have a rain jacket in the old camel back but when it's really coming down it doesn't matter much. Not much fun getting soaked.
Well it wasn't minus 10 this A.M. but it was nippy on my ride to Gawler, had an extra layer on but should have had a Gillet and arm warmers as well as an extra pair of socks. Trouble is when I joined the other riders I was too early and the chill settled in during the 15 min wait, so it it took ages to get warmed up again, though Gomersal did fix that.conversely those that had sufficient layers for the predawn ride were over heating not long after the temp went up just a few degrees.
I love the cold, bring it on!
I ride all year - except when I'm coming down, or recovering from a bout of 'man flu'.
At the FMC bike cage on Thursday there were 3 bikes. 2 of them belonged to Swedes (and I'm not Swedish). What does that say about Australian's and cycling?
My problem is not the cold, it's the smell and eye/lung irritation from all of that wood smoke. My favourite time to ride is at night if it's a city trip, as traffic is somehow more manageable, and that's when my city social events are on. I hate the onset of cooler weather because of wood fires, and wood fires only. I do NOT need to breathe any more pollution than I already breathe during the warmer weather.
This year I was surprised to hear that smoke from wood fires gives off methane (stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) and some carcinogens. Then I read an AC comment that did not comprehend a cyclist's reaction to wood smoke. I do not have an obvious reaction to wood smoke. However I avoid situations where one person only is smoking cigarettes in a room because the next day I feel ill. My neighbours have wood fires and the smell (therefore smoke) at times penetrates into my house with windows closed in winter.
Was curious anyway about wood smoke pollutants, so looked at these web pages, which might interest you Robyn.
Wood smoke can effect negatively people with health conditions (e.g. asthma, respiratory conditions, high blood pressure, vascular conditions, diabetic complications, smokers, frail older people), infants and very young children. Smoke from wood heaters is a major cause of air pollution. During winter wood heaters can produce up to seven times as much particle pollution as cars. Wood smoke is a major component of PM2.5 (particulate) pollution in most Australian capital cities. A range of organic compounds, some of which are toxic or carcinogenic, e.g. nitrogen oxides, benzene, butadiene, formaldehyde and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Thanks Heather - there's lots of info out there, but negligible protection for our lungs as wood fires are very poorly regulated and the authorities rely on voluntary behaviour change. The latter is difficult to achieve as the great majority of wood fire users think they are very good at managing a fire even if they are not.
Robyn, my impression was that even if people manage their wood fires well, there are still pollutants given off. It is easy to dismiss this as "just smoke".
Needs a multi approach:
-- Inform public of the pollutants, in the outside air but also in their homes.
-- Encourage methods to decrease need for heating, e.g. insulation, thick curtains, weather stripping around doors and windows, dressing warmly for winter.
-- Make readily available alternatives, e.g. using fans and vents to push warm air from the roof space into the rooms, solar heating of homes, extracting warmth from underground.
Wood smoke for sloppily run wood stoves is a nightmare - poisonous and annoying. BUT, it is possible to heat with wood and do it cleanly. I heat with wood but have a high efficiency fire-box and tend it carefully to ensure complete combustion. When it's operating no visible smoke comes from the chimney - cleaner air for the neighborhood and maximum heat out of the wood burned for me. There have been some heated fights over this issue here, with some calls for a ban on wood burning. Education is helping though, and more people have upgraded to the better stoves and the problem is diminishing.
As for greenhouse gases - the co2 released from the wood is co2 that is in a decades / centuries cycle - it's "in play" versus fossil fuels whose co2 has been locked up and out of play for millions of years and is being reintroduced to the current atmosphere.
Two wrongs don't make a right, Frank. We breathe car and industrial fumes all year, and in winter the woodsmoke is added to that. All pollutants are unpleasant and unhealthy, regardless of whether their smell reminds some of us of open fire romance or primal bonfire scenes.
In addition, no matter how well a fire is managed, during the period when new wood is establishing itself into efficient burning, lots of smoke odour, particulates and toxic chemicals are released. When there is negligible breeze as is often the case at night, that stuff just hangs in the air for us to breathe. I thought I was getting a chest cold last week after a couple of nights running of breathing smoky air, but it was just the smoke making me congested.
Tell that to people who live in Launceston...the worst air pollution in Australia in winter and almost all of it due to wood smoke! Which is why they have a woodheater buy back scheme.