Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tomorrow, I wear gloves

Brendan put on a great Eel and there was much bike diversity and trail diversity.  Only at an Eel will there be a Huffy and a Peter Mooney with pretty much everything in between.  I was nervous for Dario's skinny tires, but I think he only weighs 100 lbs - and they were sew ups.  We rode train tracks, rooty single track, sheer rock ridge, flood plain powder silt, sand pits, river bluffs, mud truck stomping ground, banked quad tracks, and even some paved roads.  The length of the ride was perfect.  Tired, but not bonked.

This is a time of change.  Change of season.  Change of outlook.  Changing out my summer clothes for the bin of wool socks and layers.  Putting on gloves in the morning and considering when it will be time to christen my new winter shoes.  Cold weather is a welcome change to me.   It gives me an excuse to pull out the feather comforter and double up my socks.  Things summer just won't support.  Tomorrow morning will be in the 30's and I'll get out the light gloves.

The Eel busted my saddle rail, but Terry said they would warranty.  Excellent.
As a bicycle commuter, I've found that hands are my first priority.  Holding onto the handlebar and actuating the brakes are activities requiring at least some functionality in my fingers.  Appropriate gloves are key to keeping my hands in a condition that isn't just comfortable, but useful.  Skiing mittens are capable down to about 5F, and they seem to work with both bar-cons and brifters.  Below that, I've heard that folks use silly looking Pogies to keep the wind off their mitts.  At that point, I typically just take a walk and put my hands in my pockets.

Feet are second, and become more important if the ride gets to be more than a half hour.  During the winter in Connecticut the roads are often clear and I'll go out for multi-hour rides with the temperature in the teens or 20's.  I'm seriously addicted to clipless pedals, which are evil when it comes to heat conduction away from your feet.  This summer (looking for sales) I upgraded to Lake MXZ303 boots.  They look much hardier than any other winter cycling shoe I've ridden, and I bought up a couple sizes for extra wool sock layers.  I have a suspicion that this year will be nearly into the comfort zone for my feet, whereas last year there was some near frostbite.  I'm getting ahead of myself.  It's not that cold out yet, and if you're bagging you bicycle commute right now you are an intolerable wimp.

In honor of the change of season I'll be making the work-a-day-commute a little less lonely with the first IceBike to Work of the season.  Thursday, October 31st, we will be informally meeting for breakfast at Maddie's in East Hartford.  Maddie's is on Main Street, right across the street from Pratt & Whitney.  Anyone passing by on bicycle, walking, or just curious about non-car transportation modes can stop by between 7AM-8AM and they will find some folks to chat with.  It seems the folks in Canada really take their winter bicycle commuting seriously.  They have an international conference or some such in February - International Cycling Congress.  Registration for the conference is north of $300 - that is f'ing serious.

Reminders for some upcoming bicycle goodness:

Everybody loves riding the train tracks into Middletown.


Brendan said...

I wore gloves and may have caught a cold.

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