|Partly Sunny: 29° F,
wind 0°@ 0 mph, visibility 9 mi,
|This morning’s weather|
My virtual odometer rolled past 3,500 this morning on what was a post card view of Seattle: clear as a bell, Olympic mountains dusted with snow, pink sunrise reflecting off their peaks. So cold, but oh so pretty!
Too much information follows.
Extending my cycling into colder weather has produced a couple of interesting physiological experiences. First, I have to bundle up/layer on more to stay warm. My perspiration doesn’t evaporate as readily, and my clothes are soaked by the time I get to the ofice. And there are more of them. Ventilation in my office is already bad, but when I tried using a fan to air the clothes out, I merely propagated the, uh, manly scent. (Did I mention I sit across the hall from the Director of HR?)
I’ve asked about using some vacant cubes as an area to air stuff out as the other two cyclists have the same issues, but I’m trying to be delicate about broaching this issue because I could likely be dissuaded bike commuting. As much as I’d like to wear the same, dry clothes for the ride back, my options seem to be limited to:
- Invest heavily in a miracle fabric like Merino wool
- Hermetically seal the wet clothes in a plastic bag that I cycle out once a week
- Do the same, only bring it home every day.
- Not ride
Second, as soon as I hit the outdoor air, my nose starts filling with goo. I have the one finger, one nostril, one blow, one wipe motion down pat, but I had to do it six times this morning. It’ snot as bad on the way home, though. I suspect most cold-weather exercisers have to deal with this, but I’m still self-conscious about expunging in front of people, even though it’s necessary that I breathe.
Random, tangentially related aside: Far northwest of Houston is the annual Texas Renaissance Festival. During the time I lived there, the TRF grew from a homey seasonal diversion (the late 70s) to a full-bore seasonal mega-industry (early 90s), adding a concrete parking, corporate mastheads and double-digit pricing. In the late 80s there were a couple of performers with the stage names Snot and Puke whose muddy schtick would denouement with consumption of said viscous dirt. It was interesting to watch them work the crowds because they’d set the challenge level to $20, and count out loud as people donated, but did it fast enough that most people couldn’t count it out. They were visibly upset when someone whipped out a $20.
One of the bike folks at the downtown REI store introduced us to Ibex jerseys this summer: “Wicks great, doesn’t stink.” The jerseys are fine merino, don’t itch, and (she was right) absolutely don’t have the typical bike jersey stench. Best way to get one at significant discount: http://www.sierratradingpost.com/, and look for ibex under cycling jerseys. I hear smart wool also is non-stinky and not itchy.
I don’t know if you wear a jacket (like a windbreaker), but I’ve found it useful to ditch the jacket. Even when I’m out before sunrise these days I rarely opt for the jacket because I often end up too wet.
Instead I put on a long sleeve base layer, and two short sleeve jerseys, plus arm and leg warmers. It is a bit chilly at first, but once I warm up I find I’m just fine and things aren’t too damp by the time I get to the office. Layering on the summer jerseys also means you don’t need to invest too much in specialized winter clothing.
Wool’s cheap — most of my cycling sweaters come from various thrift shops. I recommend a long-sleeve, wicking base layer, and then a top layer of an old wool sweater. If you’re still chilly, add a vest or a fleece layer on top.
The tidy way to deal with mucus production is to wear a bandana around your neck, and use it as a hankie. (My husband tucks his bandana in his waistband, but he also loses his as a result more often than I.) Of course they are disgusting by the end of the day, but just toss them into the wash.
I believe that I am able to stave off winter colds by all the nose-blowing associated with cycle-commuting. Germs lodge in your nose all the time. By having a twice-a-day period in which you completely and thoroughly blow out all your snot, you are ridding your body of these germs. Other, lesser mortals who drive or take the bus retain the germs, and are more likely to get sick.
I’m convinced everyone up north is crazy. I spent last weekend up in your neck of the woods… and … froze … my … buttocks … off. Brrrrrrrr. I think the truth is, I have become a fair weather northern californian.
Speaking of staying warm, Swobo (swobo dot com) has opened up shop again. They make really nice wool cycling clothing. I’ve cherised and babied my Swobo wool jerseys. I highly recommend them.
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