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Archive for the 'Cold' Category

I’m trying not to get too excited …

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

… but, looking at the forecast for the long weekend, I’m positively giddy!

Can you say snow biking?? On real mountain bike trails?? On my new mountain bike?? I sure can! Even if the snow doesn’t materialize, the cooler temperatures will mean the trails will be frozen, rather than these terrible freeze/thaw conditions we’ve been having.

Of course, the forecast could be wrong. But I sure hope not.

Cold one today …

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

This morning, the temperature was around 11 degrees F, but with blustery winds, the windchill ranged from -1 to -9. Despite this, I was *too warm* during my ride to work; I was overdressed.

We got a little bit of snow yesterday, and overnight. It couldn’t have totalled more than 1/2 inch, but the wind blew  it around in unpredictable ways. Still, the roads were mostly clear. The bike path, on the other hand, was covered in snow, and there were already a couple sets of bike tracks by the time I got to it. Fortunately, it was dry, powdery snow, and easy to ride through.

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After work, the temperature had climbed to 20 degrees, with windchills in the single digits. I wanted to ride a couple of extra miles, so I decided to check out the relatively new B-Line trail. This thing is a lot shorter than I thought. I believe that the officially-opened portion is only 0.6 miles from end to end. They are building more, but I was disappointed with how little has been built so far.

Needless to say, I rode the whole thing and took a few photos. There is some interesting community artwork along the trail, and it did look like you could continue on gravel past the end, in both directions. Worth exploring sometime, but not today. Maybe sometime soon I’ll bring better lights, or explore on my lunch break.

It was actually a beautiful evening to be out riding, despite the cold. Clear skies, beautiful sunset, and rather quiet streets. I’ve contemplated doing some more riding tonight, but I am not sure if I will get out again or not.

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Boring ruminations on clothing choices

Some people keep a list of different temperatures, and what clothing worked for them in those conditions. I’ve been able to get away without doing this. I’ve just ridden enough that I can guess pretty well what will work, down to about 15 degrees. Below that, I have less experience so it’s difficult to dress warmly enough, without overdressing.

I was fairly comfortable this morning, but I wore too many layers on my torso. I had a wicking undershirt, button-down shirt, a sweater, a fleece, and my wind shell. If I had left out the sweater, I think it would’ve been perfect.

The only parts that were cold were my feet, and I intentionally opted to ride in my work shoes rather than hiking boots so I wouldn’t have to change. So, I expected my feet to be cold.

I finally bought some ski goggles the other day. I wasn’t expecting to use them so soon, but I was very glad that I had them. I *can* ride without goggles down to about 0 degrees. I know from experience that at that point, my eyelashes start to freeze together when I blink. Since it wasn’t *that* cold, I would’ve been OK without the goggles … but they definitely helped.  These goggles have a yellow tint (no clear goggles were available and these were a good deal); I don’t really care for the tint. While it didn’t  impair my vision much, it made everything look surreal, and not in a particularly pleasant way.

The biggest problem, though, is that I lose my peripheral vision with the goggles on. I really need to get a mirror for my commuting bike.

I wore a pair of nylon athletic pants over my work pants. These did a great job of keeping my legs warm, without overheating.

Yuck.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

My ride home from work was rather … interesting. It was the perfect combination of my least favorite commuting conditions: Completely dark. Temps in the 30s. Pouring down rain. With 20 mph winds.

I’ll take snow over this, any day. There’s just no way to stay warm when you are that wet. And no way to stay dry when it’s pouring that hard. And no way to see, when your glasses are covered in raindrops, and fogging up. Rain drops pelted my face, stinging, until the numbness set in. In hindsight, I should’ve had another layer or two of clothing.

So, it wasn’t exactly a glorious day for commuting. These things happen, but I made it anyway.

Tomorrow looks to be interesting as well, but with snow, rather than rain, and 50 mph winds. Whatever the conditions are where you’re riding … be careful out there!

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