Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Brisk commute

Friday, November 16th, 2007

I had a great commute today, the first sub-freezing one so far (27 degrees). It was brisk but if anything I was a little overdressed in the torso with a Columbia Titanium shirt (I love these for almost any physical activity), cheap Merino Wool sweater from Target and my Descente Element jacket. My normal full-fingered gloves were great, and I wore my ear-covering headband thing to keep my ears warm. The only part of me that was cold at all were my feet. I am pretty frustrated with the lack of cold-weather cycling shoes available. You can get boots but they’re insanely expensive. I really wish I could find some cycling shoes with little or no venting for use in cold weather and rain.  Pretty soon I expect to commute full-time on my old GT Timberline mountain bike and/or put platform pedals on my road bike for the winter.

It was a beautiful morning and I saw a guy on a recumbent tricycle. I said hello but didn’t strike up a conversation. I presume the guy was on his way to work because he had an Arkel pannier on the back with RCA cables sticking out of it. He also had a faring on the front; I wonder how well it works to block the wind. I’m sort of surprised I haven’t seen this guy before.

The number of cyclists I see continues to dwindle. Even on campus, most people must have taken to walking or riding the bus, because I only saw a couple of other people on bikes. It’s too bad because my ride was fantastic this morning. There’s still plenty of color in some of the trees and I wished I had brought my camera. The light was also a fantastic yellow glow because the sun was still a bit low in the sky. It would’ve made for some fantastic photographs.

5 Responses to “Brisk commute”

  1. Noah Says:

    If it’s not raining, loosen up your shoes really good and layer the socks. Use wicking athletic socks as your base layer on your feet, then wool over it. I have some huge old ratty-looking wool socks that work wonders. Loosening the shoes lets the thicker sock layer fit easier, and if you leave it looser than usual, you get better circulation and more warm blood to your toes.

  2. furiousball Says:

    I was pondering riding to work last night but when my alarm clock protested somehow by not going off, i missed my chance. good on you for continuing

  3. Revrunner Says:

    Northern clipper felt here, too, but not nearly so cold as you described. We were at 41 degrees when I left this morning and probably in the upper 40s or low 50s at noon. The wind chill, though, certainly made a difference, with winds gusting upwards to 30mph.

  4. Doug Says:

    Here’s my footwear solutions and suggestions. I agree with Noah’s advice, but I’d take it one step further. If you don’t want to spring for the expensive winter boots, buy another pair of regular cycling shoes. But get them 1-2 sizes larger then what you normally would wear. Wiggle room for your toes, after your sock layering, is very important. If you can wiggle your toes, then blood can also still circulate. No wiggle room, no circulation. Add shoe covers, and it should work. Here’s what I do. I bought the expensive Lake Winter MTB boots and love them. I also don’t have a car or the related expenses. And winters last a lot longer up here. I bought the Lake boots one size too big. These work for me down to about zero degrees for short rides. Below twenty degrees I will use a chemical hand warmer in my toe box of the boot. These won’t work without some air space (that wiggle room I mentioned). On longer rides below ten degrees and commutes below zero I switch to platform pedals and oversized hiking boots. Again, the boots are two sizes larger then my normal size. Until I started using oversized shoes and boots I couldn’t keep my feet warm below 30 degrees. Now I rarely have cold feet. Hope that helps.

  5. Apertome Says:

    Noah: I’ll have to try loosening my shoes. Good idea.

    Doug: I can’t justify the expense of the Lake boots, but the other ideas are great. Thanks!

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