Thursday, October 23, 2008

Frost my kneecaps

This is a frustrating time of year. Today the temperature is supposed to get to the upper 50s, maybe 60. The temperature now is 26. It won't be anywhere near 50 at the time I have to ride. And when I start for home, it will have dropped again.

Cold weather calls for a bike with a built-in heater. I mean a fixed gear. The fixed gear demands energy from the rider going up or down hill. The limited gear keeps you from going too fast through the freezing air. You can't hunch your shoulders miserably and shrink within your clothes, wishing it was over. You have to stay on top of the gear.

Riding in the cold is definitely tougher than riding in the warm. It takes about four times as long to pull on all the layers, compared to shorts and a shirt.

At this point I've taped over the front vents on my helmet and added toe covers to my shoes. For path commutes in the dark, I quit using cleated shoes, too. Even when I ride a longer road commute in the dark I would forgo the cleats because off-bike capability is more important than maximum performance on it. Night speeds are slower. If I hop off the bike for anything, I don't want to worry about clearing my cleats when I get going again.

Fall is a little better than spring, because the road side isn't as likely to be a quagmire of mud. But spring has the longer daylight.

Time to layer up and head out. The ride will definitely be more interesting than the day at work. The next ride at the end of the day will give me something to look forward to.

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