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Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Riding Style

Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 7:02 AM

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Winter biking wardrobe has become quite the conundrum for me lately. Admittedly, I punked out on riding on the coldest day of Winter so far. The weather man's forecast of 4 degrees with a negative 12 windchill convinced me that driving to work for just one day was not such a bad idea. But as the cold weather refuses to relent this week, I've been gearing up to get back on the banana seat.

I've been doing pretty well up until now. Last week I biked to work a majority of days, and I'm having some luck defining my own personal winter weather riding style. The norm for me on very cold days is tights under my pants, a shirt, a sweater, a winter coat, double gloves, a scarf, ear muffs and a bandana that I wrap around my nose and mouth. However, I've been having some trouble with the last item in my list.

Dropping temperatures, like we've seen, create serious a cold-burn on my face. In addition my eyes tear up for the first two or three blocks of any given ride. Sometimes I fear the tears might turn to icicles on my frost-bitten cheeks, but so far my tear ducts have forgiven me within a few minutes of each early morning ride.

Regardless, my rosy cheeks are evidence of cold wind whipping past my skin. So I've implemented the bandana tactic in an attempt to combat this freeze. It seems to work for the most part, but I have the misfortune of bad eye-sight, and when I'm breathing heavy under the fabric, the glass I look through can't help but fog up.

As you can imagine, this presents serious visibility issues on rush-hour roads. And as I fight my way through traffic and exhaust fumes, I'm sometimes forced to reveal my masked orifices in order to simply see. Perhaps, this is a sign that I should invest in a proper face mask of sorts, rather than wrapping my face as an Old West bank-robber would.

In all, I'm realizing that winter weather riding isn't as difficult as non-cyclists might think. In reality, the most challenging aspect is not the cold, but finding the perfect balance of bundle and mobility. I'm guessing that by the frozen days of February, I'll have it all figured out--just in time for the bloom of warm weather in March.

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