Sunday, February 7, 2010

How to Bike When It's 17 Degrees Outside

My blog description claims to cover cycling, so here goes my first post on the subject.

This morning when I left the house on my bike it was 17 degrees Fahrenheit (-8 Celsius).  I normally do not bike when it gets below freezing, but my love for two-wheeled transport led me to finally find a solution.  It started with wool socks and a sweater in addition to my usual coat, but the real trick was in pulling out some mountaineering gear that I had laying around from a trip up Kilimanjaro.  I put a balaclava on top of my formerly useless $3 hat from Walgreens, making a potent combination, pulled on some wool hiking socks, and put some heavy-duty North Face ski gloves on top of my regular fleece gloves.  With two hats, two pairs of gloves, a fleece scarf and wool socks, I was so toasty that I was sweating despite the chill.  The best part was that the balaclava caught my warm breath on my exhales and trapped it inside, keeping my face warm.  I don't know how well that would have worked if I had been out long enough for the moisture to start freezing, but in 30-minute max runs from point-to-point it was never an issue.  The only downside was that my visibility through the balaclava was not great, and as a result I was constantly trying to shift it around to see better.  I will probably buy a new one soon with a larger eye hole.  I was also told by a few friends that I looked like a terrorist, but that could be either a positive or negative depending on the situation.  I had one run-in with a guy in an SUV who clearly was about to yell at me for almost cutting me off, but you could see him take one look at me with my black ski-mask and black trenchcoat, think better of it, and drive off.  Clearly having people slightly afraid of you on the New York streets is not entirely a bad thing :-)

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