Now that the weather's cold, my nose gets plugged up after about a mile and inevitably some runs down my throat and I have to pull over and spit. I feel like stopping all the time is probably confusing to the cars behind me and seek a better solution. What's the best (safest?) way to deal with this?
Well, this probably sounds gross and I'm kind of reluctant to say it, but I'm able to blow the snot out of my nose without hitting myself or my bike. I try to only do it when there's no one around, but occasionally that isn't possible. Basically, I turn my head so my nostrils are towards the ground and exhale forcibly through my nose. I'm not sure it will work for everyone--perhaps I have remarkably straight nasal passages?
There's no great way. The main problem is that inhaled cold air causes an automatic reaction in the nasal passages to create more mucous. And to a degree simply having cold air blowing against the face around the sinuses creates the problem. Some people will experience this worse than others.
You can try using some sort of scarf or maybe a surgical mask over your nose to sort of warm the air going in. The problem with this, of course, is that if your nose is running you can't wipe it without removing the scarf/mask.
Or you can use various drugs (OTC decongestants and nasal sprays) to try to control it.
Yeesh! Why stop? Spit down and to the side. Keep going.
Main thing is to avoid spitting on the cyclist(s) behind you.
I really don't know why this is a problem. Common sense usually works well.
2 Common Sense Rules
- Don't spit or blow snot on the folks behind you. (Such as a pace line or other commuters)
- Avoid spitting or blowing snot on public places such as sidewalks or bike paths, etc.
On to peeing, I guess...Out in the country, find a tree and go behind it...in the city, find a bathroom at Starbucks or whatnot..
In cold weather, having a runny nose can make you want to stop and spit, but the runny nose itself is an issue too. If you're like me, having mucus constantly overflowing your nostrils, dripping down your face is extremely uncomfortable. One can stop and blow one's nose and wipe the face every couple minutes to alleviate it, but that's time-consuming and is problematic in traffic and on hills.
A solution I discovered is to use a short folded scarf which wraps around the head, a strip snug against the face that covers from the upper lip to the middle of the nose. This way, even if one's nose gets stuffed up, the nostrils aren't directly exposed to the cold wind, and drips will be absorbed by the scarf for the duration of the ride instead of going down the face. By covering only the nose and not the mouth, you'll be able to spit as needed too.
It's gross, looks odd, and you'll have to wash the scarf each time, but you'll be able to bike without stopping, and without the persistent uncomfortable feeling of running snot on your face. This one technique improved my quality of winter cycling dramatically.
A lot of gloves designed for running or biking have a little bit of fabric on the index and thumb specifically for wiping snot off. You may want to consider using one of these, such as this one.
I guess I'm on my own not wanting to see people, whether pedestrians or cyclists, flobbing out phlegm. Take one of @Idigas' Fisherman's friends and use old school cotton hankies. Even one-handed should be fine in many places (possibly not whilst running a red).
(Also not good is the sound of phlegm snorting.)