Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nippy Nine

9°F this morning. I can't express enough how much I love having a log of winter riding clothes.

Some time ago, it was 8°F and I had my clothing pretty much nailed. I did have a note to myself that my legs got a bit chilly with just long johns and cargo pants. I just added a layer to my legs and otherwise kept the same setup. It was a perfect, relaxing ride this morning. No sweating. No chills. Moderate effort, a reasonable pace, a warm core with a little breathe to the clothing to let just the right amount of cool air in and warm, humid air out.

This is one of those mornings where I can mark a "1 - Perfect" in my clothing log. This is one for the memory banks and should do great for the range of 5-10°F. The coldest I've ever ridden in and been able to say I had the "perfect" setup was at 19°F until this morning. I've got a lot of "2 - Good!" entries for much colder temperatures, but there's always something wrong. Feet too hot, ears too cold, eyelashes frozen together or stuff like that; where things were REALLY close, but could use a bit of improvement.

I always know I've got the perfect setup when I can actually feel a little bit of the biting cold come in -- not in one place, but diffused. If some air gets in through a zipper of a fairly loose jacket but passes through a few thin layers and distributes itself evenly, that's a good thing. All the good wicking wool and technical synthetic layers in the world won't help at all if there's not a little air flow to carry the moisture off. Soaked fabric can cause hypothermia, but I can say that wool shines here, and even soaking wet retains a lot more insulation than other fabrics.

Similarly, you don't want to allow the layers to get too cold. A cold core will start reducing circulation to the limbs. That's when frostbite or worse happens. So it's a fine balancing act, finding your groove in the cold.

At any rate, I hope those of you who are still out there in the are staying safe and comfortable, whether it's riding, skiing, snowboarding or jogging and whether you're getting around for work and errands or just getting some miles in.

Random Tunage:
Mittelstandskinder Ohne Strom - Live Tropical Fish
Chicane - Saltwater


Unknown said...

Any tips on keeping cables from freezing up? My bike has to stay outside at work. I usually start for home only able to shift into 1-2 gears on the rear cassette and whatever gear I left the front crank on.

After 1-2 miles (and a lot of moving the gear handles back and forth) things usually free up. Makes me choose wisely what gear I'm in when I lock up in the morning...

Noah said...

That's an excellent question for answering on BikeCommuters.com - it's a somewhat involved answer, though, that almost deserves a whole post of its own. The short answer is: work some TriFlow into the cable housing and that should help. Chances are, your cables are oxidizing and/or the cable housing is rusting inside. Some good lubrication like TriFlow should do the trick. Also, hit the derailleur pivots with triflow as well.

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