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My hubby and I have a strange problem after cycling in cold weather
My husband and I have a weird problem after riding in colder weather, usually less than 45 F: we get chilled about 30-45 minutes AFTER the ride and stay that way for an hour or so before warming back up. The colder it is when we ride, the longer we'll stay in this chilled state after the ride. This happens even when we change clothes immediately upon returning home or even if getting a warm shower (still get chilled after the shower).

I have heard all sorts of possibilities from dehydration to improper attire. I drink the same or more amount of water since taking up cycling as I used to drink after speed walking, but with the walking I never had the after-chill and the weather would be a lot colder sometimes.

We're new to riding in colder weather. At first, all we would wear were jogging pants and a t-shirt with wind breaker jacket over it, but this year we are going to try poly thermal undershirt/pants underneath our other clothing along with biker's gloves and a head scarf. I don't know if this is the proper approach. There aren't any biker shops close by other than the big, standard department stores, but we'd really like to get the wintertime attire nailed down.

Would appreciate any suggestions.

Josephine (and Ed)
some are more prone to this what I call post-hypothermia , May help if you could wind down when you get home by using a trainer to lay down a couple easy wind down miles before stopping and then follow by stretching a bit. your blood and muscles utilize oxygen different in extreme situations and need to re-acclimate once you stop and are home again, this feeling should subside the more you two ride like that
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Hi Josephine & Ed;

PK has the reason nailed.

When you stop riding, your heart rate drops soon after, thus your body is not getting the blood flow to keep everything warm. Instead of stopping your exertion suddenly, come with something to gradually slow down.
My opinions a little different. Your "engine" keeps running for a while, even after you have finished your ride. Thus keeping you warm for a period of time. As that diminishes you start to feel cold. I would suggest wearing additional layers to stabilize.
Something to add is that if you dress to be warm don't stay inside too long bundled up. Reason is that if you heat up your body while in the inside temperature for a long period of time your body adjust to that and will get cold quicker after you go outside. I know what I am trying to say just don't know the right words for it.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
Just a little update. Today was the first sub 50 F day that I decided to try wearing pant thermals along with the thermal shirt. I did my usual 90 minute routine and slowed down the last couple of miles on the way home. When I got in the house, I initially thought all would be well until about 30 minutes passed, I got cold once again and had to stay under the covers for about 1.5 hours until I warmed back up. I changed out of the wets immediately upon coming inside of course, but that didn't seem to help, nor adding the leg thermals.

There are parts of the back of my legs that still seem cold to the touch along with my upper chest. This is with the thermals on followed by shirt and windbreaker jacket/ pants.

This was a 47 F day. The problem will only get worse if I ride when it's colder. I'm not sure how to proceed except maybe trying thicker cotton sweats over the thermals along with a heavier fleece jacket.

We just get the feeling that one or both of us is going to end up sick one of these days with these chilling episodes. I'd hate to have to go indoors until Spring, but I do have a recumbent indoor stationary bike I suppose I could use (but I hate it). As an alternative, I do have a stepper which would be more likely used if needbe.
Another suggestion I have is maybe taking a shower after the ride. Not sure whether to suggest a warm one or a hot one. Me definitely a colder one but my body reacts differently as everyone is different in theory. You know I am sitting here thinking of possible problems other then health. Wander if humidity, severe temperature change, and dressing with clothing that doesn't allow the body to breathe has effect. Like outside if you have a dryer climate (humidity) as most in the cooler places are and having constrictive clothing on which makes you sweat more. Then going indoors to say a 80 degree Fahrenheit wetter (more moisture in the air) environment would probably leave a chill with ya. Also that happens vice versa like in the summer if you are inside with air conditioning (50 degree F) and go outside on hot day (85 degrees F) some get heat exhaustion. There is something I read about cotton clothing in the winter time not being a good choice somewhere.
Hmm not to mention hydration is very important no matter what the weather is when cycling.
Ok here is a video I found while searching for the right kind of clothing to wear while exercising in cold weather. It is tips on running but same rules apply...
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/TmxREY0anTw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
I googled around a bit and it sounds like this is not uncommon. I don't think it is a matter of improper clothing (as long as you really are dressed warm enough while you're out.) Dehydration is a big factor so make sure that is not happening. But it sounds like this is more of a metabolic issue. It sounds like some people, especially when they are beginning to improve their fitness level, have a hard time regulating body temperature swings during exercise. So the combination of cold conditions, getting your body hot during the exercise, then returning to cool conditions throws the balance out of whack a little. It does not sound like it poses any particular risks as long as it isn't extreme. And it definitely sounds like most people find that it gets better as you improve your overall condition.

I'd say:
- make sure you're keeping your extremities warm during the exercise, but don't overdress to the point that you get super hot, sweaty, etc. Getting overheated will probably cause a bigger crash later.
- do make sure you drink enough, maybe try a sports drink instead of plain water. (Watch out for stuff that's almost as bad as soda, here's a good home made recipie: http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2012/07/salty-lemonade-for-cycling.html)
- experiment with eating a little recovery food after or before
- do a reasonable cool down, don't go from 100% to stopped
- plan for some good cuddle time under the blankets after your ride Smile
- keep exercising

good luck
Been a while, so thought I would update. This year, I've tried several things to ward off the afterchills, but nothing has worked. I tried wearing layered attire, drinking more beforehand, and taking very warm showers, but twice the chills have caused me to catch a cold. I will say that, luckily, zinc based products these days really do work on me and cut colds to 3 days or so, but it's still not a good thing.

I feel my only choice for sub 50 degree F days is going to be to move my stepper indoors and use that instead until the weather gets warmer. I do have an indoor recumbant bicycle, but I absolutely hate using it. If I had the room, I could alternate between it and the stepper, but I don't so it's either one or the other.

Thanks again for the suggestions here. For me, the chills aren't doing me any good and I normally don't catch colds.

I am not a doctor, but being chilled does not cause one to catch a cold. A cold is a virus picked up in the air or from a surface not from being chilled.
(12-08-2012, 02:56 PM)RBurrelli Wrote:  I am not a doctor, but being chilled does not cause one to catch a cold. A cold is a virus picked up in the air or from a surface not from being chilled.

I agree that it doesn't directly, but maybe could promote one indirectly:


Read under "Dormant Infection".

I certainly have had my fair share of colds over the years after being chilled. No direct connection perhaps, but the above seems a pretty good explanation for helping bring out the virus already weakly present.

Anyway, I still don't like the chilled feeling after biking which is why I think I'm going to switch to an indoor stepper until Spring.

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