Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for February, 2010

The secret to winter bicycle commuting

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

I have discovered the coveted secret of winter bicycle commuting. I have discovered two pieces of gear, which, used properly, keep me comfortable from about 30 degrees Fahrenheit, all the way down to 0 degrees. I almost didn’t even write about this, considering the uber secret nature of this information. But no one is talking about these incredible pieces of technology, so I have decided to share my discovery with my readers. You won’t find this information anywhere else.

So, what are these two items, which together form the holy grail of comfortable winter bicycle commuting? Brace yourself, and I’ll tell you: a windbreaker and a sweater. Yes, really.

For some time, I experimented with different layering schemes. Eventually I found this windbreaker + sweater combination, but I didn’t realize exactly what I’d stumbled on. I wore this combination for some commutes in the 20s. Then it got colder, in the teens. I thought “surely, I need to add another sweater.” I wore an extra one, and I was too hot. Once temperatures reached down into the single-digits, I again thought I needed two sweaters. Still too hot!

Today, I once again strayed from the formula. It was 30 degrees during my commute this morning, and I thought “surely, if a sweater is enough in single-digit temperatures, it will be too warm now.” I didn’t wear the sweater. As you might have guessed by now … I was cold.

Now that I think things through more carefully, I realize that the same gear could extend to a higher temperature range, as well. Just the jacket, without a sweater, should be good from about 35 to 55. A sweater alone should get me up into the 60s. Above that, there’s no need for either a windbreaker OR a sweater.

Therefore, I conclude that I can go from 0-60 in a sweater and a windbreaker.

A couple of winter photos

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Aside from commuting, I haven’t done much riding in the past couple of weeks. I have been busy, and also a bit lazy. I’m also having some sort of foot issue that’s not keeping me off the bike entirely, but it is definitely making me tread more lightly and avoid longer rides. I’d like to do some hiking, but that’s definitely not an option until my foot gets better.

I did get out for about a 17-mile ride with Dave on Sunday. It was mostly on paved roads, but we hit a bit of gravel as well. There was more snow away from town, more than I expected. The paved roads were clear, but the gravel was snowy and icy, and just beautiful. I rode my new mountain bike, and I have to say, the 29er handles better on the roads than my old 26″ mountain bike. My tires made hilarious noises on the pavement, though, I sounded like a tractor rolling down the road. There was only one noteworthy photo from that ride; here it is.

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And here’s a photo of the bike path from my commute, sometime last week. Here you can see that it snowed, people walked and rode on the snow, and the snow melted and refroze. The rough ice was bumpy, but otherwise no problem, with the studded tires on my commuter.

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Martinsville, Indiana

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Sarah and I really enjoyed our photography trip to Spencer, Indiana, so much so that we are starting a project of photographing various small towns (and possibly larger ones as well). We’ll visit various towns, and photograph them. So far we’ve mostly walked around the square areas in these towns to get a feel for downtown, but in some cases, I hope we’ll branch out beyond that, or maybe stay longer and eat a meal or grab a drink at a local establishment to get a better idea what the places are really like. Keep in mind, though, that the goal of these photo tours is not so much to capture a general overview of what the place is like, but to find out what lurks beneath the surface. In that sense, my photos may or may not be representative of the town as a whole, or even the specific areas we visit.

What shape this project takes remains to be seen, but sometimes having more of a purpose makes photography more interesting. This time, it was a sunny day with deep blue skies, perfect conditions for a polarizer. However, I had left my filter at home. So, I tried to simulate its effects by exposing the shots differently from how I normally do it. I also tried some new post-processing techniques. I think I had some success, and these shots are stylistically rather different from the ones I took in Spencer.

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