Monday, December 03, 2007


While digging through my assorted boxes of still-packed stuff from the last apartment, I finally found my Ski goggles. Oddly, they weren't packed with all of my cold-weather stuff like the gloves, sweats, insulated base layer and all that. No, they were packed with the Christmas stuff. Don't ask. I have no clue why, either.

Last year, I reserved the ski goggles for use in temperatures below 15 degrees or so, except when there was precipitation that would get in my eyes. This morning, the temperature was about 23 degrees and oh-so-calm. Just beautiful.

(edit: I just looked, and that was the downtown temperature. Actual temperature in my neck of the woods was 17 degrees)

I really wanted to see how the ski goggles do with my new helmet, mirror, and balaclava. My last balaclava was pretty torn up after just a few weeks, and it was thicker, made of some kind of flannel or something. As such, it let a lot of fog into my goggles. My new balaclava is made of DuPont Thermax, which is a proprietary wicking polyester, maybe a blend. It's much thinner, stays dryer, is easier to breathe through and seems to stay warmer. Enough of that, though, I wanted to see if it would fog up my goggles.

I have been wearing clear safety glasses in the morning to keep the biting wind out of my eyes, but they seem to fog up no matter what I do. The balaclava, either the knit one, the flannel one or this new one, it doesn't matter. They fog up. Needless to say, my expectations for my ski goggles aren't too high. Much to my surprise, though, this new balaclava is thin enough to allow the ski goggles to seal, and the moisture from my breath stays outside.

I might change my ways. I know ski goggles are a little extreme, but riding a bike below freezing is also a little extreme to most motorists around here. The tint on my goggles isn't very dark. It's kind of a pale olive tint that does make darker objects seem a little darker, and makes lighter object very contrasty. I'd prefer totally clear lenses for the morning, but I'll take what I can get. They're wide enough to not limit too much of my peripheral vision, and I can still see through my helmet-mounted mirror. 23 degrees might be a little too warm to consider wearing them, but I'll probably wear them when it drops below 20. That seems to be when my eyes get easily irritated.

It was a pleasantly warm and comfy ride in today despite the temperature. My clothing choice was supurb. Nothing special on the feet (socks and tennis shoes), thermal base layer top and bottom, cargo pants and my work shirt (long-sleeve rugby shirt) with a windbreaker, ski gloves, Thermax(tm) balaclava and the goggles. I left on time and didn't really push it. It felt very much like I was riding on a nice, 70 degree morning.

Random Tunage:
Alanis Morisette - Head over feet
Nine Inch Nails - Dead Souls


Anonymous said...

38 degrees here in TX, monday morning,i have been wearing clear safety glasses myself on morning commutes,but if we "EVER" see 20 or so degrees temps,i was kicking around some other type of eye shielding,ski goggles are a thought for sure,i'am hoping the sleet & snow holds off, until next week,by then i'll have the new 08" mountain bike to rip to work on!

Apertome said...

Thanks for the tips. I posted a full response in my blog but basically I was trying to do the B-screw thing you mentioned. But I think I was adjusting the L and H screws instead. It was hard to tell what I was doing with rain pouring down on me.

I sure wished I had some goggles (the nerd in me just absent-mindedly typed "googles") yesterday. I'll have to look into getting something like that.

Yokota Fritz said...

Well, ditch the 'clava if fogging is a problem, though it sounds like your ski goggles are working out well.

Alternate solution: Seirus has a balaclava with holes in front of the mouth so that exhaust goes out and away, instead of up into your glasses. I used it for winter cycling in Colorado and it worked very well for me. The neoprene face mask kept my face nice and warm, too.

Yokota Fritz said...

P.S. I own ski goggles for skiing, but I've never used them for cycling.

Noah said...

I own all kind of non-cycling stuff. Actually, I own one chamois and the baggy mountain bike shorts that came with them, I own one pair of MTB clipless shoes, and one helmet as my only pieces of actual cycling-specific apparel. Everything else is improvised, which is likely why people seem to mistake me for a bum on occasion.

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