Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas card riding!

Sometimes I think I'm riding through the scenery on a Christmas card!

We woke up to below-zero temperatures this morning. First time since '98 that it's dropped below zero in Boise. (Which leads me to believe the climate is indeed changing; when I was a kid, my recollection is that almost every year it got into the negative temperatures for at least a few days.)

The "bike garage" was pretty bare this morning.

When it gets so cold, it can actually get dangerous if you're not properly equipped. My gloves are marginal... my fingers got pretty numb, and my "pinkies" complained bitterly as they warmed back up again after the morning commute. (I've got some newer gloves that I haven't used yet; maybe it's time.)

Since the snow hadn't melted from yesterday (and subsequently refrozen) the riding wasn't too bad.

My correspondents have put on their studded snow tires; I'm anxious to get some riding reports. (Frankly, I'm always much more concerned about somebody in a motor vehicle sliding out-of-control into me, than I am about slipping and falling.)

We need to be aware of the additional hazards, and do our best to mitigate them.

I do more Greenbelt riding in the winter. Not only does it allow me to get away from motor traffic... typically there are also very few pedestrians and cyclists. Makes for some lovely solitude.

I snapped some photos yesterday, on a little loop I did. These were all taken within 15 minutes of downtown. (The geese were snapped on the homebound commute, late yesterday afternoon.)






bob t said...

I've had studded tires on for almost three weeks (got spooked by an earlier weather forecast). So far they have kept me from slipping, although I still ride more carefully than normal.

A few years ago my wife made me a pair of pogies, and they have worked well in keeping my hands warm. They are not as large as the ones shown in the link, but still deflect most of the wind.

Bikeboy said...

My gosh, Bob T... YOU are da man! A true fount of information, and an awesome resource. THANKS, and keep it up!

I did a search for "handlebar mitts," and they're all over the place! (Most designed for handlebars attached to motorized machines... but what the hey?!) If you lean "redneck," you can even get some "camo" models! hahaha

(We are blessed here in the Boise area. While we OCCASIONALLY deal with both snow/ice and cold over the course of a winter, more often we have very mild weather. Certainly not an excuse to abandon the bicycle for 5 or 6 months, at least.)

bob t said...

Glad to help, Bikeboy.

Even at this morning's temperatures (which are the coldest that I've ever experienced) I found that no special clothing was necessary. Just more layers of what I already have.

I have found good clothing advice for winter cycling here. Looking over this web site I would say that we are quite fortunate, weather-wise, compared to some other places.

db said...

Yep, we are fortunate. My brother lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and also is a bike commuter. Their average January temperature this year was MINUS 2.

This was a record low temp. for me this morning, and everything held for me except my toes. Gotta figure out how to protect them more effectively.

Love the pogies, too. Might have to get some, as my current system is not 100 percent effective, and shifting is difficult.

Bikeboy said...

A couple observations from this morning (the temp was +1, instead of -1):

I wore a different, newer, heavier set of gloves. My fingers didn't start to tingle for an extra 5 minutes or so, over yesterday. (Those Pogies look awesome! BUT - they'd be problematic on "drop" bars, unless you made some custom ones. And if we routinely had single-digit temps, I'd be more actively in search of a solution.)

Today I wore some "athletic" type shoes with manmade (nylon fabric?) uppers. Yesterday I had on all-leather shoes. My feet stayed meaningfully warmer with the leather shoes (yesterday); probably due to less airflow. I will remember that for future reference.

db said...

Anyone have other tips for keeping toes warm?

I have not hit a combination that will leave me with feeling in my feet after 45 min. of travel. I came close with a ski sock-trail shoe-overboot combination, but I still was not comfortable for the last 10 min. or so.

I'd like to hear what others are doing in our single-digit temperatures. Thanks!

bob t said...

DB, my commute is only about 15 minutes so I've been fine with one pair of wool socks and athletic shoes. I would probably need more for a longer distance.

I've heard that two thin pairs of socks are better than one thick pair so you may want to try that, if possible.

Clancy said...

DB- You could try some Sorrel's :) The best would be to try the winter section at Bikeforums. Those guys from Cannukastan(Canada) are crazy about riding in below zero temps.

Bikeboy said...

I used to have some neoprene full-coverage shoe covers, with zippers up the back. They were amazingly warm... almost uncomfortable on all but below-freezing days.

I had the leather shoes on again today; they are definitely warmer than the textile shoes.

Clancy said...