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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    528

    Newbie lessons learned about biking in the approaching cold weather

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    1. Backpacks are fine until you wear a wonderful puffy insulated jacket and then try to put on and take off a loaded backpack about six times a day.

    THE SOLUTION: Switch to a messenger bag that actually works MUCH better than the backpack ever did since everything sinks like a rock into a large bulge at the bottom of the backpack.

    THE BONUS: The messenger bag is very light and stows neatly on the back rack above the panniers so I'm not lugging it on my back. It holds more than the backpack yet looks less bulky.

    2. For some odd reason I like to listen to a rain shower tape on my Sansa Fuze 8 gig mp3 player. The sound of rain is very realistic and comforting. You can still hear approaching traffic or dogs about to eat the back of your heels and the sound of rain on a sunny day just sounds cool. Well that was all true in the summer when you were sweating off the liquids. However, in the winter, all it makes you do is want to pee and pee very badly and pee very soon.....and pee very frequently....

    THE SOLUTION: Switch your mp3 player to listening to Prairie Home Companion Lake Wobegon podcasts which makes you laugh instead of pee.

    THE BONUS: A bicyclist passing by who is laughing hysterically is more unsettling to car drivers and thus you become very visible and they give you a very wide berthy for fear you are going to do something even more odd.

    3. Bike headlights. You could take out a second mortgage and buy super duper headlights OR

    THE SOLUTION: you could take a chance on an Amazon review and go for two of these. They look like jet engines mounted on thye bike; they mount EXTREMELY easily and are VERY adjustable. Also that have a rather strong blue light that focuses in a nice fat circle so with good positioning of two of them you can be very confident while riding in the suburbs where there is some ambient light. They ARE however not for speed demons but who rides reallllllly fast at night anyway?

    THE BONUS: They draw more comments from people than anything I've put on my bike. I've had the most fascinating conversations with strangers that started with a question about the lights. There is something about conversations at night with strangers about bikes that has a totally different focus and reward than daytime conversations about biking.

    We are currently running at temps in the 50's in Delaware so when it drops lower I'm sure there will be more newbie lessons to be learned about riding in cold weather.
    "The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we might become." Charles Dubois

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    682
    LOL at the peeing comment! Maybe I should try one of those recordings as ambient music in the bathroom while potty training my son.

    I'm a big fan of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me podcasts to keep me going on the treadmill. I think the other gym-goers think I'm nuts when I'm laughing out loud while running.

    Sarah

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Quote Originally Posted by pardes View Post
    We are currently running at temps in the 50's in Delaware so when it drops lower I'm sure there will be more newbie lessons to be learned about riding in cold weather.
    Wool.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    Quote Originally Posted by BleeckerSt_Girl View Post
    Wool.
    and layering. many thin layers is better than a couple of thick ones, but I'm sure you already know that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    528
    Quote Originally Posted by BleeckerSt_Girl View Post
    Wool.
    allergic
    "The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we might become." Charles Dubois

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    528
    [QUOTE=redrhodie;369740]and layering. many thin layers is better than a couple of thick ones, but I'm sure you already know that.[/QUOTE

    Knowing it and knowing how to do it successfully are two different things. Since I can't stand wool in any form, I'm a microfiber person and have bought several very thin windpstopper things, thermal things and a luscious feeling rain-resistant jacket and a vest and ear muffs and windstopper pants for the wretched days.....oh and gloves and a neck gaiter and a beanie.....

    Meanwhile I am in my glory in this wonderful fall temps, blue blue blue skies....and the aroma in the air of winesap apples.
    "The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we might become." Charles Dubois

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    300
    pardes, when I was younger I was allergic to wool. Then I joined the army, in January '79, with basic training in Ft. Dix NJ. I was issued all the scratchy wool winter things- long johns in wool, gloves in wool, socks in wool, scarf in wool. Dress uniform in wool. Bunk blanket in wool.
    I guess my body decided if it was to survive in the field in a bitter NJ winter, it would have to get along with wool. Prior to this, I would break out in hives if wool touched my skin. But I never had a single problem from it all through basic training, and I lived in those wool long johns. Since then, although I don't wear wool, I don't break out from it any more.
    vickie

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    528
    Wow, that wooly story is frightening. I can't imagine how you must have felt to see a mile high pile of wool to wear, be in, and around and you HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO DO IT! eeeeeks.

    Amazing though that your body realigned itself into accepting wool.

    Bodies are amazing things. I had a friend at Harvard who worked in a department where animal experimentation was going on. One by one, each of the workers all become deathly allergic to the animals they were working with and all left their jobs and then magically all of them were no longer allergic to the animals.

    Doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure that one out. In that case, their bodies were much MUCH smarter than their brains.

    But as for wool, I'm not in the military (much as I admire those who are) so I don't have to worry abut wool. It can live happily on someone else's body.
    "The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we might become." Charles Dubois

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Pardes, are you really allergic to wool? I only ask this because 90% of people who say they are allergic to wool aren't really allergic, they just find it to be too itchy.
    To those people I say they should try the newer washable style of wool that has become so popular nowadays- very fine fiber merino wool which is extremely soft and comfortable to wear. Some top brands include Smartwool, Ibex, and Icebreaker.
    On the other hand, if you break out in hives and other real allergic reactions, then maybe you are truly allergic to wool- or to something in the wool that gave you hives.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    528
    Within just a few minutes I've scratched my skin raw whenever I tried to wear wool. I have experimented with merino wool and other newer upscale forms of wool, and they are soft but within seconds I can feel the itching begin and then I'm clawing at wherever it touches skin. Not a pretty picture.

    I seem to have very sensitive skin and can't even use commercial brands of lotion or face soaps. Hypo-allergenic baby products all the way.

    There MAY be other forms out there that would work but at 62 I don't want to spend any more time experimenting with wool. I'd rather experiment with new bikes, and cameras, and computers, and puppies, and such.
    "The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we might become." Charles Dubois

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    Knowing it and knowing how to do it successfully are two different things. [/QUOTE]

    You want layering pieces that come off easily, and are not too heavy to carry if you do take them off, and don't add so much bulk you feel like the little brother in "A Christmas Story" who can't put his arms down in his snow suit. I like to wear a bolero as my outer layer when it's cold at the beginning of the ride. If I get too hot, it's easy to remove. It also fits nicely in my empty water bottle cage, so I don't have to stuff it in my jersey pocket.

    A buff is also a good thing. You can wear it many ways, as a balaclava, a hat, a neck warmer. It's very versatile, and balls up to almost nothing when you take it off. You can even wrap it around your wrist to carry it if you take it off.

    Instead of wool, you can wear super light microfiber base layers. I like the ones that have holes for your thumb to fit through, that keep the wind from blowing up your arms. If it gets warm, you can take your thumbs out of the holes and roll up the sleeves. I have some from EMS that I wear often. The fabric seems not of this world. When you wash it, it comes out of the water almost dry. It is a little freaky, but they really are very warm.

    With layering, I have found that less is more. A few thin layers is the most you will ever need. Any more and you will roast.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    1,365
    Quote Originally Posted by BleeckerSt_Girl View Post
    Pardes, are you really allergic to wool? I only ask this because 90% of people who say they are allergic to wool aren't really allergic, they just find it to be too itchy.
    To those people I say they should try the newer washable style of wool that has become so popular nowadays- very fine fiber merino wool which is extremely soft and comfortable to wear. Some top brands include Smartwool, Ibex, and Icebreaker.
    On the other hand, if you break out in hives and other real allergic reactions, then maybe you are truly allergic to wool- or to something in the wool that gave you hives.
    ALPACA wool is hypo-allergenic (no lanolin) and has very few secondary fibers, eliminating the "scratchy" feel.

    It is also lightweight and strong!

    And you can likely get it locally, as there are alpaca farms everywhere. And a lot of them carry US (and sometimes South American) made garments and socks that are warm, insulating, wicking, and soft. My favorite stuff comes from redmaplesportswear.com

    Even though this sounds like a commercial, it isn't... I'm a farmer but I don't represent red maple - I just like their products!!!

    Anj
    I can do five more miles.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    One of the better cycling adages I've heard and generally stick to is "ride the temperature." Meaning, ride no more miles than the temperature that day. So, if it's 33 degrees, ride no more than 33 miles. I assume like most generalizations, it won't for everybody, but I still think it's a good rule of thumb.

    I have some microfiber base layers that I like just as much as their wool counterparts. I get a lot of my winter gear at running, versus cycling shops, because they often have a better selection for women (plus, I run in the winter, too).
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,507
    So if the temps are in the minus range, you should ride backwards!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBelle View Post
    So if the temps are in the minus range, you should ride backwards!
    LOL. That's what it sometimes feels like when I'm on my trainer in the middle of winter!
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

 

 

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