Why Am I So Slow When It’s Cold?

I rode Nermal to work and back yesterday.  The ride in was pretty good, but on the way home, I was incredibly slow.  I’m guessing I’m slower when it’s cold, but it may be something else.  I guess I’ll find out in the spring.

I’m still on track for my “cheap eats” track for the week, but eating beans is getting old.  🙂

I rode Oria to work today, and don’t have much choice other than to ride home later.

I thought being back on the recumbent would speed me up.  However, I still made poor time.  Part of the issue was backed up traffic, but my average speed was pretty bad before I ran into traffic issues.  Overall it took about two hours for me to get to work today and it was 13 degrees.

For those of you wondering why backed up traffic would affect me, on a bike, well, I ride with traffic.  I don’t ride on the sidewalk and I don’t ride between lanes of cars.  What I do is the legal and safer way to ride.

5 thoughts on “Why Am I So Slow When It’s Cold?”

  1. You are not the only one to note this–I find myself much slower in cold weather. I wonder if it is the combination of a) muscles do not fully warm up to their best power, b) lungs have slight but measurable trouble processing the cold air, c) cold air is denser, thus harder to push through and d) cold-induced inertia. Or some combination of any/all of the above. Or I may be making up something.

    Backed up traffic can be fun. I get to tell folks I’m going as fast as they are, without burning the gas to do so. It’s a great way to justify cycling over driving.

    Sadly, I didn’t get to ride today. I’ve been having more trouble keeping my hands warm this season than any prior season, and riding in 15F was not going to happen.

  2. I really have no idea why we’re slower when it’s cold. I really hope it’s just the cold.

    I consider backed-up traffic to be a break. It’s rather nice. It was a bit too long today, my hands started to get cold.

    I understand about the hands. I’ve set my lower limit at 10F for now. I’m still looking for a better solution. I may have to use chemical warmers next year. Then again, there’s a good possibility that next year won’t dip below 10F. 🙂

  3. Several folks have mentioned the same phenomenon to me over the years, so I don’t think it’s just us. I think it is something about the cold, but I’m not sure what it is. I suspect my answer a) above is the larger factor, but I’m not an exercise physiologist (nor do I portray one on television). I don’t have the education to make a sophisticated guess.

  4. I was just googling this the other day because my average mph falls in the winter too. When its icy I slow down on hills and curves for safety, but I definitely feel weaker too. Almost like I’m ‘altitude training’…

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