Until now, I have been an infrequent recreational (summer) cyclist, but this winter I plan to begin commuting to work via bicycle. It is a relatively short distance, (approx. ten minute ride), but the temperature in winter can get as low as -40°C (-40°F), although more-typical lows are between -25 to -30°C (-13 to -22°F), with the ever-present wind making it feel even colder.
It generally stays below freezing most of the winter, so I'm not particularly concerned about wetness or slushy/icy streets; my primary concern is temperature.
My bicycle is a mid-range mountain bike -- not super fancy, but not the uber-cheap Walmart variety, either. (I realize it's not the ideal commuting bike, but it's what I have.) It has rim brakes and trigger shifters for the derailleurs.
At home, my bike will typically be stored in an unheated shed. At work, there is a heated indoor location to store it.
Snow is generally cleared from the streets reasonably quickly, and I have a dedicated bike lane most of the way to work, so I'm not too worried about navigating the streets in the winter.
This is not a duplicate of What are the minimum requirements to commute comfortably through the winter?, since it deals with moderate New York winters, and I'm asking specifically about much colder temperatures.
I want to know:
- Is there any special equipment/care/maintenance I need for my bicycle for it to be able to function appropriately in these temperatures (e.g. special lubricant for the chain, special tires that won't crack in the cold, etc.)? I have little experience with this, so I don't know whether my bicycle will be sufficient as-is or will need special treatment.
- I plan to dress warmly, cover my face, etc., but I'm wondering if there is any special clothing/equipment I need for myself, aside from regular warm winter clothing.
- Is there anything else I need to be aware of when commuting in very cold weather?