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Archive for the 'Humidity' Category

It’s HOT; running some errands

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Well, we were pretty lucky last month and it wasn’t too hot. Unfortunately, we’re paying now, as it’s been in the 90s and humid. I think I’m getting acclimated fairly well, really, but I’ve always had a lot more trouble dealing with heat than with cold. I overheat easily, and heat tends to leave me feeling crummy.

However, the riding I’ve been doing helps me deal with heat better. The more I am out in the heat anyway, the better I’m able to handle it. That doesn’t mean I’m comfortable, but it does get a little easier. Still, it is harder to be motivated to ride when it’s hot outside.

I had some fun yesterday running some errands after work for Sarah’s birthday. I had tried to get her a gift the day before, but failed, so I had to do it at the absolute last minute. First, I went to J.L. Waters and got Sarah some trekking poles. I wanted to get her something that’d be useful for our upcoming vacation.

Some guy was checking out my bike when I came out of J.L. Waters. I started getting ready to go, figuring he’d either say something or go away, but he did neither. He just stared at my bike. I think he was intrigued by the Brooks saddle and the rack/pannier setup.

I put the poles in my Banjo Brothers waterproof pannier, with the ends sticking up, and strapped them down the best I could with the built-in strap. This is the first time I’ve had a problem with these panniers — I was unable to pull the strap as tight as I wanted. The buckle came undone if I pulled it too tight. I got it to hold, but I was a little worried about it. Still, a $40 waterproof pannier is bound to have some weakness, and this is one that’ll be easy to deal with if I just get some extra straps for those times when I want to carry more stuff.

After that, I attempted to go to a florist, but found instead a Sprint store. I should have known this, as I’ve actually been to that Sprint store before, but I was hoping they were simply near each other. Apparently, the florist either moved or went out of business a few years ago. Instead, I went to Marsh (a grocery store) and locked my bike there. I took the trekking poles in with me so nobody could steal them, and got some flowers. The florist put a plastic bag over the tops of the flowers so I wouldn’t damage them on my ride home. She was very helpful and accommodating. I had more trouble with the strap on my pannier as I put first the trekking poles, and then the flowers in there and tried to strap them down.

It was a pretty neat feeling riding home with a gift and some flowers for Sarah. I got some smiles as I passed pedestrians who saw the flowers sticking out of my pannier. It felt old-fashioned, in a charming way, to be carrying these things I had chosen home to my honey on my bicycle. I actually thought about carrying the flowers in one hand, and maybe I should have. I would’ve been able to literally smell the flowers on my way home. Still, I grinned proudly that I had these flowers and someone wonderful to whom to give them.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to wrap things, and my pannier became a grab bag when I got home. Sarah was very cool about my lack of preparedness. I think she could see that I really was trying, and I felt bad that I hadn’t been more prepared. Still, I vowed to do better next year.

The whole outing also has me wanting to run more errands on my bicycle!

Keeping Cool

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

When I opened the front door to ride to work this morning, I was greeted with a blast of hot air. I had to remind myself that it feels cooler once I start riding and air is passing over me. During my ride, I was thinking about all the different ways I try to keep cool. Maybe some of these will help someone else. I’d love for people to add to the list, too.

Ways to keep cool:

Don’t wear cotton.
Cotton clothes hold moisture, so when you sweat, they get waterlogged and stick to your skin. It also takes forever to dry. Wear as little cotton as possible, especially shirts. Polyester is good and wicks moisture, pulling it away from your skin so it can evaporate. I’ve found that wearing non-cotton work clothes as well (with no undershirt, as those are cotton) helps me cool down faster.

Take your time.
Don’t ride too fast. You’ll work up more of a sweat. Also, take your time changing your clothes so you can cool down a bit in the process, and if you have more than one place where you can change clothes, choose the coolest place. Don’t schedule any meetings first thing in the morning so you can cool down first.

Clean yourself.
Wash your face, or wipe it with a wet paper towel or a wet wipe after you get to work. It’ll keep you clean and cool. Have an extra stick of deodorant to use once you arrive at work.

Drink something cold.
Even if you aren’t thirsty, bring cold water and drink some during your ride. It’ll help you feel a little cooler. I put my water bottle in the refrigerator in the morning and get it out right before I leave in the evening. In the morning, try drinking your coffee iced instead of hot. I have a mug that fits in my second water bottle cage, and I bring iced coffee to work every morning.

Road bike feeling neglected

Friday, June 1st, 2007

My road bike hasn’t seen many miles recently. I went mountain biking last week, and suddenly my zest for mountain biking was reignited. It’s especially fun since I’m in much better shape than I was when I was doing a lot of mountain biking before. I can make it over a lot of hills and technical obstacles that I couldn’t ride before, and some sections that used to be laborious are now fun, as I can just fly over them.

Of course, there are still things that provide significant challenge, and a few things I can’t do. But the work to fun ratio tips a lot more to the fun side. Generally, I find that in mountain biking, the challenges are harder, but the fun parts are even more fun.

Even commuting has taken a hit, not because of mountain biking, but because it’s been so hot lately. I really hate showing up to work sweaty in the morning, and even though it hasn’t been super hot in the mornings, it’s extremely humid around here — enough to ensure that I’ll work up a sweat, even on my less than 3-mile commute.

None of this is to say that I’ve given up on road biking or commuting. Not at all. I just try to fit in bicycling however I can — mountain biking happens to be the first choice right now. But sometimes road biking is more practical, and it also tends to help fitness more. And, I’ll continue commuting as much as possible.  I just need to get better at keeping cool.

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