Monday, December 06, 2010

(It feels like) winter is on!

I think this morning was the first ride of the season where the temperature was in the teens. Most of you know how I handle the cold-weather season by now. I know what works, clothing-wise because I've kept track of it since my first winter. I'm seeing the usual cadre of local cold-weather bike commuters as they ramp up for the chilly season, but I'm also seeing a bunch of my other cycling friends take a stab at it this winter. That's cool, literally!

As usual, I'm interested in all the different ways my fellow cyclists solve their problems. It sounds like some of them are opting to give pogies (or bar mitts) a try. I don't think they'd work well for me, since I have to leave my bike out in the cold.

Since this is my first winter at the new job, people are already in full-on quiz mode. The truth is that I might revert to the car a few times this coming winter. At my last job, I had the option to take any of four different bus routes when the going got tough. These buses would drop me off anywhere from 300 yards to 3 miles from my place. Now, there's no way to get home by bus, and the roads I have to take to get to and from work are likely going to be treacherous at least a few times over the winter. I'm definitely not shooting for the "more hardcore than you" badge.  I'll leave that to folks like Doug, who was and continues to be an inspiration for my winter cycling habits.

Of course, I plan on riding when ever possible. I'll probably be picking up The Mesa next week, and I'll start outfitting it for winter commuting.  I'll need a few things to round it out (see the Wish List, which contains other stuff I've been saving up for, too) but as far as I'm concerned, winter is on! Who's with me?


Apertome said...

Hell yeah, it's on! We got several inches of snow over the weekend, and this morning the windchill here was -3F. I love winter though.

I agree, Doug's winter riding is amazing and inspiring.

Look forward to you getting the new-to-you bike set up. You should do more daily commute posts, once conditions get more interesting (if they aren't already).

Noah said...

Thanks. Unfortunately except for some really light rain at near-but-not-below-freezing temperatures, there hasn't been a single day with any kind of remarkable weather since September 10, when we got 2.6" of rain. Everything else has been a tenth of an inch here, a few hundredths there. Really, yesterday's 14ºF temperature was the most exciting weather I've seen in months.

amidnightrider said...

We have been doing this together for a long time haven't we? I commute twice daily to the same general area that is five miles from my home.

Like you, I have the clothing thing all worked out and don't have any problems with the cold. Crossing the river is the challenge. The wind can often track stand me if I stop pedaling. It's all good though.

Happy winter #6 for us, I think.

Jason said...

Have you heard how people like the bar mitts? I been looking for something and just today thought about cutting up a juice bottle and making something. But after reading about these bar mitts, I might have to try them!

Noah said...

People seem to like them a lot, but I've seen the 2L bottle trick, too, where you cut one up and notch it up the side to snap over your handlebar.

I'd imagine bar mitts would only work well if you can keep your bike indoors at work. Otherwise, you'd go out there and it's be like slipping your warm hands into a pair of mittens you left in the freezer overnight.

Unknown said...

Noah, Trying to get myself geared up for Monday morning. Depending on which KC meterologist you listen to, it will be between 0° and 20° in the morning. I've been traveling and also have to carpool a group of kids to school a couple of days a week, so I haven't been able to do the gradual cool down this fall. Monday will be a big change from my last ride somewhere above the freezing point.

I typically wear ski gloves and a yellow / reflective overcoat that I got from an offshore facility in Scotland. Blocks the wind and water great - and acts like a big sail as far as wind resistance.

I need to keep telling myself I'm going to do this. My previous cold record is 13° (without windchill), so this will be an "opportunity". Worst problem is that my bike has to stay outside at work and everything is frozen up for the ride home.

Shawn (saw you during bike week)

Unknown said...

I was in China last month, and many people have bar mitts on their scooters and motorcycles that they have to ride year round. A lot look very heavy duty. Obviously it's a lot colder when you are just sitting and not pedaling.

I wanted to look for a pair, but didn't have any extra time. The hello kitty ones looked especially appealing...

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