Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The kind of problems you don't mind having

Spring will eventually get here. The forecast finally calls for warming temperatures. The next storm mentions snow, but only changing to rain. Barring the usual practical jokes from the weather, I predict an increasing probability of bike commuting.

These are the times that try cyclists' wardrobes. Morning lows in the 20s can give way to afternoons in the 60s. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. Even a more modest swing, from just below freezing up to the vicinity of 50 degrees, calls for fewer layers on the way home than on the way in.

There's no clever solution. You can layer lightly in the morning, counting on the afternoon warmth to come through for you as much as you hope. You can protect yourself adequately against the morning chill and do either of two things in the warmer end of the day: carry the wad of shed clothing or wear it all and sweat a lot.

I know a couple of riders who commute with panniers. Rather than try to hone their kit to the essentials, carried with the minimum amount of rack and bag, they go right to large capacity. Forget any illusion of streamlining, of aggressive agility. Relax! Slow down! Live the good life.

They get up earlier than I do, or at least get themselves out of the house more quickly, so they have the time to spend en route. I keep meaning to try that.

Even a lackluster winter brings cold and darkness. I appreciate the purification brought by winter but I really prefer warmth and light. I welcome its return even if I do have to grunt home with extra weight at the end of a long day. There are worse problems to have.


RANTWICK said...

I'm one of your pannier commuter types, but use smallish "front" panniers on the back rack, making me unaggresive quasi-agile. I carry enough stuff (and empty capacity) to strip or layer as needed. It works well.

Steve A said...

As you say, there are worse problems than some seasonal warmth!