Cold weather cycling

Earlier this year I resolved that, since I have all the cold-weather cycling gear in the world (more or less), I would continue to commute to campus all winter.  I decided arbitrarily that 20° F would be my cutoff — below that I’m driving.  This morning the low was about 21, testing my resolution.  First of all, I don’t have any classes on Tuesdays — I’m teaching an online course, so this frees up some face-to-face time.  Secondly, it’s hard to get out of bed at 5 AM regardless.  So, I slept in until almost 6.  This has some advantages, such as the fact that Robin leaves at about 6, so she’s not hogging the bathroom at the same time as I need to be in it.* So, I was on the road at 7.

This would normally be a problem, as traffic on route W picks up a lot around 7 or so.  However, people have been such assholes lately that I’ve decided to change my route.  Instead of taking W for the full 8 miles or so , I’m taking county road 621.  This makes the round trip about 5 miles longer, but it’s more scenic and has markedly less traffic.

So, I got dressed for riding in the cold.  Here’s what I wore:  Canari thermal fleece tights, biking socks, long-sleeved UnderArmour shirt, long-sleeved poly fleece pullover ($3 at WalMart on clearance), Campmor rain pants (good for stopping the wind), wool socks, bike shoes, Bellwether waterproof booties, Columbia poly fleece vest, Bellwether waterproof fleece balaclava, clear goggles, helmet, Gore jacket (bought on clearance from PricePoint), fluorescent yellow and orange mesh safety vest with reflective tape, thermal glove liners, thermal gloves.  And a partridge in a pear tree.  Yes, I’m a wimp about the cold, but on the other hand, the 19 miles in to campus took me nearly 1.5 hours, which is a long time to be out there.

I had to take off the goggles about halfway into the ride, as they fogged up so badly I couldn’t see.  I’m still looking for a decent pair of riding glasses that will shield my eyes from the wind and cold but not get foggy.

And here I am.  I won’t wear all that gear going home — it’s supposed to get up to about 35 today, and it’s sunny.  A lovely ride, all in all.

* I mean, sure, I understand that you need to go to the bathroom.  Even brush your teeth, maybe use hair stuff or whatever it is goes on in there.  But why can’t she put clothes on somewhere else?  We have other rooms.  Whatever.

3 Responses to “Cold weather cycling”

  1. Erin says:

    sounds like my attire when i go skiing. i’m always burning up when i’m coming down the mountain, but freezing my proverbial butt off on the chair lift. darn that wind!

    good for you sticking to your promise to ride above 20! i’m still trying to convince myself to run this weekend and it’s supposed to be negative windchill…

    hmmm…maybe treadmill is the way to go…

  2. K says:

    Yeah, good going!

    I’ve just converted 21 degrees F… -6C. OK, that’s pretty cold. I don’t think I’ve cycled in anything below 0C this winter (because there hasn’t been much below that, or not by the time I leave in the morning).

    I don’t mind cold, but I didn’t much care for the gale-force winds we’ve been having over the last week. On Wednesday we had mixed snow/hail as well. How does one look forwards while riding into the wind that is flinging icy pellets at your face?

    I’m aware the answer is probably “wear a scarf over your face, and maybe sunglasses”. Bit dark for the sunglasses, though.

  3. Allen says:

    Well, I draw the line at riding in ice pellets. But you can get cycling glasses with clear lenses- I just did.

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