Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter Cycling

We've had an amazingly mild autumn, ignoring that little snowstorm that brought down limbs from every tree in Lexington before Halloween. 

The problem with a mild autumn is that winter still comes, and when it arrives suddenly, rather than gradually, my body just can't adjust, and suddenly I don't have the right clothes, or lights or studded tires! It was just Monday that I was out with riders in shorts and short sleeves as the temperatures reached into 60's Fahrenheit. Then last night the temperature dropped below freezing and today despite ample sunshine, less than 40 of those little Fahrenheits came out to play at the best part of the day. And those that did got blown around by a stiff icy breeze. 

So after months of riding supplementing with just arm and knee or leg warmers and a wind vest, I had to dig into the cold-weather gear and pull out the winter boots , heavy tights, jacket, warm mittens and yes, even the Windstopper skull cap. It wasn't that cold, it was just that much colder than it had been. In February, we will consider today's temperatures balmy. But today it felt horribly cold. So it seems appropriate to take the time to review the winter tips article and update it as necessary. 

The readers digest version:
  • Don't overdress
  • Layer, layer, layer
  • Wool is a great base layer
  • Lake Cycling Winter Boots can't be beat
  • You really can never have too many pairs of gloves
  • Fixed Gears are great for those who suffer from cold hands, since you don't need to worry with gloves jamming brifters
  • A good hat will help with cold hands and feet
  • Bib tights are great for keeping the back warm, but no good for gals trying a quick pee stop
  • Don't forget the rain jacket
  • Keep your bike in good working order, so you aren't doing roadside repairs with numb fingers
  • Studded tires beat a broken collarbone
  • Don't get caught in the early sunset without lights
  • Better looking at it, than for it (i.e. carry extra clothes for the inevitable)
  • Stop and drink the coffee
  • And enjoy the low light
Read the full article...

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