|The coldest air temp I ever rode in was -18 in 2015.|
So, since this weekend marks, probably, the coldest it will get this Winter, I thought I would share the answer I give people for this query. It's a bit more detailed than you might think.
First of all, wind plays a huge factor in this decision. Wind is a killer- for me at least- in terms of really cold riding. It is so hard to keep the wind off you - everywhere off you- when temperatures dip down below zero Fahrenheit. The wind bites at any chink in your armor and I mean you have to be zipped up air tight when it really gets windy and around zero or below.
So, typically severe wind chill is the first 'no-go' scenario for me. I just do not see the need to buy the gear that would allow me to ride in weather like that, because for one- it is very expensive gear. Secondly, I'd rarely need to use it, which brings up point number two: Do I really need to ride when it gets 'stupid-cold'?
See, I have nothing to prove to anyone. This isn't a contest. There is no reward for beating myself up in raging winds and below zero temperatures. I mean- just to get to work? No. No thank you. Others can get out in the bad weather, post to social media and get the 'ooo's' and the 'ahs!' I'm good with being smart about where I push the limits and where I do not. I've been there and I've paid the price. I've been lucky to not have gotten permanent injuries and I am still ticking along just fine over here. No need to do anything stupid.
On the other hand: When it is calm, around zero, and Sunny? There may be no more beautiful time to be out riding in Winter. I've had some really serene, spectacular, and soul-satisfying rides at or just below zero when the conditions are right. I have the clothing and gear for this sort of riding. When it is good like that, then it makes sense to me to ride. But this weekend? Yeah........bad wind chills and well below zero most of the time, so you won't probably be seeing me out there. If the chance presents itself though, and the conditions are right, you might see me out.
But again- I have nothing to prove in this area to anyone. My advice? Be smart. Deep cold is no joke and getting frostbitten or worse is not worth it. Stay safe y'all!