After a decent ride on Saturday to shake down the 29er conversion and another on Sunday to go to Church and run a few pre-Superbowl errands, I resolved last night to ride to work today.
It was a chilly day, with temps in the single digits and a fresh breeze that brought the wind chill to about -10 on the way home this evening. My wife was concerned enough about my well-being that she called and left a message on my phone while I was riding home to ask how I was doing...
It was actually a piece of cake. Proper clothing makes all the difference. From head to toe, here is my ensemble for today's commute:
- Bell helmet
- Grovecraft wool cycling cap (thanks, Holly, it's awesome!).
- Smartwool base layer top
- Mountain Hardware fleece jacket
- Endura wind/rain jacket
- REI house-brand medium weight long johns
- one wool cycling sock (the gentlemen will know what this is for)
- Cargo pants
- Smartwool socks
- Columbia Bugaboo boots
The trick is not staying warm, but keeping all your parts equally warm. It's not good to be too warm on top and have cold feet or some other bad combination. I was plenty warm all over and actually broke into a light sweat on my back by the time I got home.
The bike helps. This bike is really dialed in for this role; it's a single speed aluminum mountain bike with Mavic alloy rims, Nokian studded tires, good lights and full fenders. All I could ask for in an adverse weather bike. I think I might take the rear studded tire off and mount up a Big Apple for a little less rolling resistance, but other than that tweak, this is a winner.
There is a sense of accomplishment in riding in winter - it takes the self-sufficiency feeling of riding a bike one step further. I am going to try and keep it up, which would mean I am starting my commute season a month earlier than last year, but we need to do that before we claim it, so we'll have to wait and see...