Monday, November 19, 2007

Experiments in Winter Biking.

All-weather biking is all about the art of layering. It is amazing what a difference 5-10 degrees make when you are on a bike. Of course, Chicago is not a place where the weather is consistent and you can have 15-20 degree shifts in temperature within one day! This makes it a challenge to be prepared for anything. But it is quite the learning experience for me.

Last week, I rode home in 36 degrees. I decided not to pull out the face mask, (my face was itchy all weekend) although my face didn’t feel COLD on the ride per se. On the upper body I went with my shell which is lined with fleece and my under layer only and was totes warm (translation: sweating). Also busted out the gloves I bought and had to peel them off my damp hands when I got home. Those gloves are really for the extreme temps! Unfortch, the lightweight tights I purchased were not up to the task. I needed another layer for sure. All in all I felt I handled the weather pretty successfully. The wind was intense, but it only really made an impact on my poor legs. And I learned a lesson!

Today was another learning day. I had checked the weather last night and saw that it was supposed to warm up to 55 degrees today. I made the decision not to wear my heavy-duty lined shell and just went with the under layer and mid-weight fleece. I walked outside and was a little chilly so I thought I’d be ok. Also made the fateful decision NOT to wear gloves. Booooo. Very bad choice. Turns out it was only like 44 out there. My hands are totally wrecked. Started out cold, went numb and then were painful and red by the time I got downtown. From now on I will always wear gloves! Better to be sweaty and warm. I had two layers on my legs and they did pretty well and my upper half didn’t feel all that cold, but when I peeled off my shirt I saw my torso was beet red. Doh! I definitely need to invest in some serious moisturizer.

So what am I trying to say with all this. What can you take away from my experiences? I woulds say tis always better to err on the side of too MUCH clothing then the other way around.

6 comments:

Aunt Bernice said...

With motorcycle riding, G and I always wear lots of layers and take them off as needed. We both hate being cold. Every sport has its specialized clothing. We actually have electric vests which plug into the bike.

alexis said...

Always wear gloves. I wear a scarf and wrap it around my head as necessary. So far so good.

Dad said...

Go you winter exercising girl!

stef said...

God, I totally need an electric vest!

Lakeview Coffee Joe said...

As a tailgating veteran, I learned the "wear too much and peel later" lesson early on. Six hours down by the lake/sitting in the shade, means you better be warm first!!

Dad said...

Yes if you get the electric vest you will be encouraged to ride faster in order to turn the generator for powering the vest.