Monday, December 28, 2009

Anatomy of a ride, winter styln'

Today on this chilly, breezy yet otherwise quite sunny afternoon with another week before I head back to work, why not go for a ride. I've always said the weather really doesn't hinder a 'real' cyclist. If you have the right clothing and dress the part it's really pretty simple. Let's start from the top. For me this is your standard shorts with a long sleeve base. Easy.

Next we add the important and very necessary thermal bits that make this possible. A long sleeve thermal mock and wind-proof thermal tights go over the base layers.
Follow that up with a outer layer which in my case is a light thermal wind-proof core long sleeve jersey. I can typically wear this piece alone in the 45-55 degree range.
Now we get to the extremities. Fortunately for me, I don't have a bad problem with toes and fingers. Some people like to go with a much thicker sock and/or a specific 'winter' shoe. For me, a lite wool sock will do just fine. The standard shoes followed by a good fitting thermal bootie. I prefer velcro to zippered and reflective comes in handy on rides home from work. That takes care of the feet.

As for the noggin it depends on just how cold it is. If it's above 35 or so I don't worry about my ears and just go with typical cycling cap. Today was about 32 with a stiff wind-chill that was most likely into the mid to lo-20's. In that case I like a fleece hat which is almost too warm but that's not really something to complain about. Add your favorite lid and I always like a pair of clear lens glasses. Keeps the crap out and the cold air off your eyeballs.
Last but not least is the gloves. On the left are the lobster mittens and on the right are a lighter yet effective glove for cold weather rides. The lobsters are good for most winter days. The lighter gloves are good for low-40's and up. My lobsters are well worn, probably need replaced really, so today I wore the light gloves inside the lobsters. Worked perfectly.
Once you get all that on you still need a bike that works for a ride like today. There's still bits of snow/ice/frozen jib here and there on the roads. The weekend had lots of rain and warm weather which re-froze in some areas that don't get much sun this time of year. That being said, I don't like road slicks unless I know I'm not going to find that frozen crap somewhere. Enter the 'cross bike with its 'cross tires. Again, perfect.

There you have it. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Xmas and enjoy the short work week. Now go ride your bike!