meekamikka asked in SportsCycling · 10 years ago

is it realistic to buy a bicycle in october and expect to use it in the winter months.. in ny?

I want to start riding a bicycle again to get in shape. Im thinking of buying one but I do not know if it is worth it with winter approaching. Anyone ride in the north eastern states ride in the winter?


I do not mind the cold (in fact I love it). Im just thinking about road conditions.

6 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Simple answer: you can ride in winter in NY. If you can X-country ski or skate in winter there is no reason you can't bike.

    But there are several things to keep in mind:

    1) How often you ride will depend on whether you can dress for the conditions and how well the snow is handled on the roads you plan to ride on.

    2) Cycling on snow-cleared roads on a sunny day is fun and relatively easy. Riding on snow more than a few inches deep is more tricky. I found that narrow tires work better than wide tires (they cut through better) so I'd advise a road bike rather than mountain. Studded tires can be a big help on ice. Despite the more slippery conditions, overall you are at less risk of hurting yourself in winter since you are probably wearing more clothing, going slower and more carefully, cars tend to give you more room (presumably they think you are mad and should be avoided), and if you do fall you are more likely to fall onto snow than pavement.

    3) Dressing for winter cycling is very different to summer. Dressing in layers is advised ... and like with X-Country skiing, overheating/sweating is best avoided. You don't need heavy clothing on your body (although a windproof outer layer is mandatory), but hands, feet and face need protection. Plan on face protection, including goggles, at low (sub-zero Fahrenheit) temperatures. See the link for more info, or simply google "winter+cycling".

    4) You should consider whether you want to risk your bike winter cycling. Salt on winter roads is bad for bikes. Paradoxically, better quality bikes stand up to winter better than budget bikes. But whatever you ride you will have buildup of "grunge" (see 3rd image at 2nd link) -- a mix of salt, sand, ice & snow -- that can clog narrow openings and interfere with gear operation. Use lots of oil to help protect from salt, plan on a mid winter overhaul, and to have to replace your chain (at a minimum) and overhaul the bike come Spring. Cheap bikes will literally seize up and die through winter cycling. You can be a fair weather winter cyclist and use a good bike without much risk, but if you plan to commute or ride in other than dry conditions you risk destroying your bike. That's why many winter cyclists ride a dedicated winter bike.

    5) Buying a bike in the fall (or winter) can save a lot of money, so even if you don't ride it much in winter it can be a cost effective time to buy next summer's bike.

    6) One approach to consider: mount your new bike on a wind trainer and ride to get in shape whenever you want indoors and, on nice dry sunny winter days take it out for a real ride.

    As an aside, I commuted and rode for exercise year round for over 12 years in Ottawa (Canada) in temperatures as low as -35F, so I write from some experience.

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  • 10 years ago

    Yea you could do some riding and by having it parked on your living room, it will be easier to jump on it at the first opportunity rather than waiting until spring. Also at this time of the year you could strike a bargain. Never to late to start getting in shape. You could ride a few hundred miles from now to March. If you weight 170 # and ride 1 hour at 16 mph you burn about 700 calories. Just buy the bike go riding and help yourself to a second serving of turkey.

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    You can go ahead and ride as long as the weather is nice and then put the bike on a trainer when it gets real cold. There is a big difference between walking in the cold and riding at 12-15 mph, 32 deg can feel like 20 at 15 mph. I have one bike set up on a trainer just for bad weather. I usually don't like weather below 40 it's no fun. I picked up arm and leg warmers so I'll see how it goes this winter. I use to ride motorcycles in cold weather and that was the coldest I ever been.

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  • 10 years ago


    From a price basis you can probably save a ton by buying it at the end of the cycling year vs the new years cycles at full price! So if you can ride, it is only an added benefit. There is a great period of time between rains and snow, and many days when it is cold but the ground is clear. But, riding whenever there is a chance of ice is soooo very dangerous.


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  • 10 years ago

    I'm sure the roads are not filled with ice & snow all winter. If the streets are cleared off - I ride here in the mid-west. Yes, we get snow & ice here too.

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  • 10 years ago

    I get the lung burn when its cold.

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