Wednesday, January 02, 2008

One of the coldest commutes I've done

I've only been out a handful of times in temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and this was one of those. 6F (-14C) this morning, with about 8 miles per hour headwind creating a -6F (-21C) wind chill. Probably colder than that, since I was riding into the wind.

Here's how I battled the cold this morning. Clothing layers listed in order from closest to skin outward.

Head (just right):

  • Thermax balaclava covering everything but my eyes
  • Knit balaclava covering my forehead and chin (not covering nose or mouth)
  • Uvex Ski goggles
  • Bell helmet

Torso (a little warm):
  • Champion thermal base layer
  • Guinness Hoodie (Yay beer!)
  • Ski coat without the windproof shell
Legs (a little chilly but not bad):
  • Chamois
  • Champion thermal base layer
  • Cargo pants
Hands (just right):
  • Thick ski gloves
Feet (Cold):
  • Wool socks
  • cotton socks
  • loose-fitting athletic shoes
I could have used something thinner than my hoodie, another layer of pants (thin, like flannel or something), and one more layer of socks. Other than that, I was very comfortable. It was easily tolerable, and not far from being a perfect match of clothing for the temperature.

I got very little sleep last night, so I took a batch of French-pressed coffee with me and still had to gulp down a quad-shot mocha with Lorin when I got downtown. The caffeine is almost starting to kick in.

All in all, this was a great way to kick off 2008. How did your attempt at First Tracks 2008 go? Post your story (or a link to your blog post) in the comments. Let's see 'em!

Random Tunage:
Plumb - Damaged (Redemption Extended Remix)
Plumb - Cut (Bronleewe & Bose Radio Edit)

Yes, two Plumb tracks back to back played randomly from a playlist of my recent music purchases (200+ tracks). What a trip she is: Christian music that's a fusion of Alternative Rock and Electronica. Yummy.


BadgerLand said...

The sun was up but things were a bit chilly as I rode into work this morning. The nicest thing I can say is that it was tailwinds the hole way there...not looking forward to the ride home. I'm "use to" the cold but definitely don't enjoy it, I would much rather endure triple digit temps than near freezing temps. Here is the start of another 200 commuting day year! Good luck to all today.

On a side note...ditch the cotton socks Noah and go for two pair of woolies. I still wear my sandals with this setup and it worked fine for me.

Apertome said...

This morning was my coldest commute yet, too. I posted about it here.

Sirrus Rider said...

Cotton is the worst thing you can wear in cold weather. I second the motion for wool socks.. then next best would by polypropylene.

Noah said...

I only have one pair of wool socks currently. The cotton over the wool kept dry, so there wasn't an issue there. More wool stuff is on my wish list, but I haven't had too much need for it until this morning.

Anonymous said...

Coldest for me also, 27 here in DFW, we go> long draws :>),knit sports pants both over jeans,reg tube socks,swede boots,long sleeve shirt,short sleeve (work shirt),sweat shirt,balacava,bell helmet,DID NOT RIDE ! the first day(dang-it)did walk six miles though,

Debbie said...

OK, Noah, had I known it was only going to be about 6 degrees here in KC, I'm not sure that I would have said yes to your survey a few weeks ago. Since I said I was going to ride there was no way to talk myself into backing out. I wore two pair of sock, both cotton and my Puma running shoes. Feet were fine. I wore wicking bike tights, a pair of running pants and wind pants on the bottom. Legs were fine. On top, I wore a long sleeve wicking shirt, a zip up cotton jacket, a windshirt and my light bright yellow Trek jacket. Top was fine. I wore my cheap (7.99 at Target) balacava, bike helmet and clear glasses. Although my cheeks were a little cold, my head was fine (I could pull up the balacava but then my glasses fogged up). Where I ran into trouble were my hands. I wore my thin bike gloves with my regular winter gloves over top. I think that maybe it caused them to be too tight and I didn't get enough circulation. After the first mile, my fingertips were tingling and after the 2.5 mile to work they were in pain. I could barely put on my bike lock once I got to work and had to warm up about fifteen minutes once I got there before I could even think about working zippers! I must get real winter bike gloves! All in all though, I'm glad I rode.

Anonymous said...

Newbie to bike commuting, since June 2007. Coldest ever today. Indianapolis, IN; -2, windchill, -14. Layered well enough to keep torso/legs warm, but fingers/toes got cold quick, even with warmers. Can not seem to find good socks/gloves to keep warm, but I was fine. Co-workers thought I was nuts....

Warren T said...

Yep, once again heard the words "hard core" from my co-workers this morning.

You know, I keep reading that cotton = death, but I rode with two pair of cotton socks (with the plastic grocery bag corners between) and cotton long-john bottoms beneath my nylon workout pants. I was fine.

I did swap out the cotton tee shirt for underarmor to avoid the inevitable sweat caused by the backpack.

staubio said...

I'll second the recommendation for the plastic bag between layers of wool. It works wonders. I stayed comfortable for three hours in 0 degree weather this way several times.

Also, if you are feeling especially ambitious, smear your feet with vasoline.

Jon said...

Here's my account of today's commute. Not my coldest (I've commuted on a few occasions at -20 F, back in the day), but one of the more eventful.

steve said...

I'll third the recommendation for plastic bags - I even saw one guy a couple of weeks ago who had the plastic bags over his shoes held one with (I think) elastic bands, which was an interesting twist.

Vaseline on the face is great for added wind chill protection, too.

I made it in without incident this morning, too. It was warm enough that all I needed was a long sleeve jersey, waterproof jacket, mountain bike shorts, legwarmers, rain pants and wellington boots. At least I was dry when I got home!

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