23 January 2013

Biking in the Cold

Sixteen degrees isn't actually all that cold.  People routinely ski in temperatures like that (and colder); Canadians and Siberians have to just live with it.

So biking in temperatures in the teens is really a matter of gearing up -- literally, with the right clothes, and mentally, with the right attitude.

Part of the problem is dressing so that the extremities, and in particular ears, fingers and toes, stay warm, without having the core of the body overheat, because sweating in cold weather is bad, and sweating in work clothes is, well, also a problem.

Today, I wore long underwear, wool pants, and windpants on the bottom, with a silk underlayer, a cotton turtleneck, a wool/cashmere blazer, and a parka on top.  Feet: knee-high boots with wool socks.  Hands: down gloves.  Head: thin hat under my helmet; gore-tex helmet cover outside my helmet; a neck gaiter; and Dermatone over any bits of exposed skin.

Upper body got a little too warm; legs and toes got a little chilly; hands were fine.

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The train pulled out of Penn Station right on time, proceeded a few hundred feet, and then stopped.  Eventually, it pulled back into the station.  No one had any information about how long it might take before the power problem near Secaucus might be resolved, and I gave up, got back on the bike, rode home, and drove to the office instead.

The body was willing, but the tracks froze.

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Yep, down gloves.  I bought them by accident in an end-of-season sale at Campmor a couple of years ago.  I realized they weren't synthetic after I'd paid for them, and decided not to return them, even though they were stuffed with bird bits.  Pretty much the best decision ever.  I also wear leather shoes and boots.  What can I say?  Nobody's perfect.