Thursday, January 15, 2009

Minus 15? Yes, I Did!

Why not cycle to work when it's this cold?

Here is a list of things that helped cinch my decision to bike to work for my five mile commute:

  • Son's car is behind my truck in the driveway. Have you ever tried to rouse a sleeping teenager and ask him to do something that doesn't directly benefit him?
  • I'd have to wait for truck to warm up
  • I park about a half-mile from work, walk to office would have been bitterly cold in dress pants and shoes
  • If I rode the bus, I'd have to walk to stop
  • If I rode the bus, I'd have to wait for bus
Instead, I layered up and started riding, generating quite a bit of my own heat. The end of my nose, the only part of my body exposed to the air, was cold until I started huffing. My fingers were cold at first, but after the first hill climb, the pumping blood warmed them up a bit. My toes were very cold and didn't warm up until I got to work. I may need to do something different on the feet for sub-zero temps.

I deliberately chose a route that would give me some visibility if I were to pass out or fall and hit my head. It wouldn't take long for an unconscious person to freeze to death in this kind of weather along a seldom used trail like the Field Club Trail.

My balaclava was encrusted with ice when I parked my bike at the front door of my office. I should have snapped a photo, but I just wanted to get inside at the time.

This cold weather riding is fun, but I'll be glad when Spring comes and I don't need to bring an extra empty pannier with me just to carry my extra gear to my desk.


munsoned said...

Nice one, Scott. I'm on a crazy 11am to 8pm shift this month, so I was lucky enough to ride to work in -10 degree temps. I have one of those balaclavas with a mesh mouth opening(that I cut out for easier breathing) and I had to keep fumbling to move the nose piece to the perfect spot to cover my nose, but not create fog on my glasses. I was mostly successful, but still a little frustrated when I couldn't see out of my left lens.

40's next week are very welcome!!!

Biker Bob said...

Well done.

FYI... you've been spotlighted by BikeOmaha

Scott Redd said...

I don't think there's much difference between -10 and -15 in the way that it feels, Munson.

I wrote that the only skin exposed was the tip of my nose. My goggles rested on top of my nose, and my balaclava came up to my nostrils.

Earlier this morning after I got settled into my office, I noticed my nose in the bathroom mirror. The very tip of it is red, and just a tiny bit tender. I'm thinking I got the tiniest bit of frost bite on the only patch of bare skin exposed to the air.

I guess I need to make sure the balaclava covers the nose next time. I wear glasses, too, but they fog underneath my goggles. I am not sure if the goggles themselves will fog if I change the airflow by pulling up the balaclava.

Luckily I can see well enough to ride without my glasses, but it's possible I could miss picking out the cleanest line on gravel, cracked pavement, potholes, etc.

The 40s will be awesome. I'll look at the long range forecasts and see if the studs can come off again.

Scott Redd said...

Thanks, Bob. That's really cool. However, I just regurgitate what other people say. Then I try silly things and write about it. :)

Biker Bob said...

No worries. As EB would say, people want "Real" not "Corporate". Your real, and you write will too. It's all good.

Anonymous said...

I broke down and bought the Lake Winter Cycling shoes (more like boots). I've ridden up to 10 miles in 10-20 degrees and they were great. This week I rode in zero and sub zero but only 1-2 miles. I don't know how the longer rides at zero will be but I think they'll be great. So far I'd recommend but they are HORRIBLY EXPENSIVE. I felt guilty about buying them until this extreme cold, now I'm glad to have them.

Scott Redd said...

I've heard of Lake Boots, but never saw a price attached. I might have to look into that.

I have platform pedals now, and I imagine there must be some brand of hiking boot that would be warmer than my sneakers, at a fraction of the cost of cycling specific boots.

Biker Bob said...

Yup, and it if you buy them at the end of the winter season, you'll probably get a much better deal.

Check out REI.

EB said...

Hey BOB, If you have something to say about me say it directly to my face! Don't hide remarks behind Bike Omaha comments sections! Be a freaking man and say things directed at me, to me!

Biker Bob said...

Yikes! Not sure what your talking about. I'll drop you an email. I don't have any bones to pick with ya EB

erik said...

way to keep it going, -15 is cold!

fwiw, lake boots are fantastic. i wear them with smartwool mountaineering socks for several hours at a time--no problem, even below zero.