Wednesday, January 07, 2004
The temperature this morning, as evidenced by my online weather service when I got to the office was 19f, with a wind chill of 11f. Blue, blue skies with a few clouds and a nice little light wind were also on tap. I have yet to be in awe of this type of temperature though, especially when you realize that riding a bike in the cold is no different than doing any of the other outdoor winter activities that millions of people participate in every year, like skiing, skating, sledding, snowshoeing, and more.
The idea is just to be prepared and wear the right gear. I switched to midweight synthetic socks this morning from the light weight cotton I usually wear (both are the long style so I can tuck my pant legs into them). My feet got a slight chill about midway into my ride, but I noticed no negative effects other than that from the cold on my feet. The next step up would be to add on a plastic newspaper baggie, but it would have to get real cold for that. I also switched to my lined windpants from my unlined ones, no coldness in the nether regions to speak of. Finally I brought along an extra longsleeve cotton shirt (a freebie from a nursery I worked at in the fall and winter months one year) just in case for an extra layer, but didn't come close to needing to stop for it.
I did notice my bike seemed to be a little sluggish in the cold, or maybe it was just me. For a second I was also afraid that my gear shift lever had frozen in place, but it turns out to just be a little loose and was moved forward far enough to be in a somewhat locked position. I was faced with riding a fixie to work and back until I figured that out. No biggie cause I wasn't moving too fast today anyhow.
The last aspect of the frozen morning is that when I lowered my balaclava from my face at a stop, the moisture from my exhalations froze up almost instantly, and when I went to pull it back up it wouldn't reach back up to my nose without smoothing out the frozen in place fold creases. Ah, the little details that make it all an experience. Something that can easily be lost from our lives as we replace them with the details of our "Friends" on t.v.