Thursday, January 18, 2007

How I stay warm

It's a question I get quite often in some form or another, from co-workers, friends, and others that I meet. It's usually phrased "I'd bet you freeze to death on that thing!" or "Don't you get cold?"

Truth be known, I usually get quite roasty, because I have a tendency to overdress a little. When it's below freezing, I start with a medium-weight thermal base layer. I prefer the less expensive "Champion" brand, but you might see other brands such as Nike or UnderArmor. These are basically "long john" style thermal undergarments, but made of a softer moisture-wicking material with a tighter weave than the "waffle" style of cheaper thermals.

On top of that, I just wear jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, usually with a loose t-shirt underneath, more for looks than for warmth. I'm a bit on the heavy side, and don't feel like riding the bus with only a skin-tight long-sleeve shirt covering my enlarged torso.

I finish the package with a flannel balaclava (ninja mask!) and thin gloves that might as well be work gloves like the Mechanix brand gloves you see at the hardware store. The ones I have now are 180*S brand and feature a valve that lets me breathe hot air into the back of the hand to warm the fingertips, but before this pair of gloves, I used a pair of ryno work gloves. Both pair have neoprene and nylon backs, terrycloth thumbs (for wiping your brow or your nose) and lightly-padded leather palms.

When the temperature gets closer to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, I usually wear a heavier coat, add ski goggles to keep my eyes from freezing over and wear flannel pants between my base layer and the jeans. So far, the coldest temperature I've ridden in was -1F earlier this week, although we had some temperatures close to that back toward the end of 2006.

As far as this morning's ride in, it was a nice morning, about 30F, I made it to my destination swiftly and I'm still riding the snow bike until the roads clear up a bit. I still have a bit of a head cold, but it will pass. It hasn't gotten bad, it's just lingering a bit. Didn't take any photos this morning, I just wanted to get to the bus and I was on a roll.

1 comment:

TimO said...

Noah - offtopic comment hijack commmences now...

Another site you need to link to - http://bikeliker.com/index.html

You'll like it, guaronteed...

I was in Minnesota Tues night and at 10 PM going to get an adult beverage....0 deg....and going the opposite way was a guy biking, in the suburbs no less.....ahhh the brave souls like you are also pedaling in the St Paul Burbs :)

Good warmth advice BTW. And as you found out it's easy to overdress which is ok until you have to stop and all that sweat chills ya....

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