Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm like an onion.

Cause I'm stinky?

No, because I have layers.

Wait, have I posted this very thing before? I can't remember. Oh well.

So, at the 30° and below mark you have to start doing layers. Especially when it's windy and snowy. 22° with 20-ish mph winds is not fun. And with layering, it's tough to strike the balance between warmth, wind block, and breathability with clothing.

Here's what I found worked but left me a little warm by the end of the ride:
Head - Trek winter cycling cap (now made by Bontrager) under the helmet
Torso - Long sleeve Wool baselayer, cycling vest for wind stopping, and a 100% cotton long sleeve button down shirt. Cotton is bad for base layer, but decent for outer layering since it can block wind. I probably should've nixed the cycling vest, but wanted the extra warmth after last night's under-dressed, way too cold ride home.
Legs - cycling shorts and full leg warmers all under some cotton/rayon pants. If I had had some tighter fitting non-cotton sweat pants, I could've used those, but i already have the bike stuff, might as well use it.
Feet - wool socks under my favorite "shoes." It's interesting cause I think if I had worn cycling shoes to clip in, my feet would've gotten cold. But somehow, using flat pedals and comfy shoes keeps my tootsies warm. It could be that 20 minutes of riding isn't long enough for my feet to get cold no matter what, but I'll have to try the clipped in thing one day to test it out.

I was sweaty by the time I got to my building. But there's one caveat - after struggling into the wind to get to Leavenworth, I had a tailwind the rest of the way heading East. So windchill was no longer a factor with 2/3rds of my ride left. In fact I was traveling at almost the same speed as the wind by then end. My breath, which I could see of course, would lift up in front of me and I'd follow it.

I'm not looking forward to the ride home though. According to the Nation Weather Service, the wind is supposed to die down after 5pm. I won't be heading home till 8pm, so hopefully it'll be easier going by then.

This single speed is kinda getting to me. I may have to add some gears to make the hills more bearable. I know I could just replace the rear cog with a higher tooth count one, but then the downhills would be way more boring than they are right now. Maybe if I found a 3 speed rear hub. Hmmmmmm.....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shabbos +1

Noon (leave at noon - I'll be there by 11:40 or so for coffee)
Trek Store 72nd/Jones
3 hours or so of steady base miles

That is all. Questions? Objections?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Short commute cold weather clothing.

The temps are dropping. People who bike are all discussing what they should wear and at what temps. As Mod so eloquently put it, "Dressing for the cold is like the black arts." I have a case in point for this very suggestion.

But first, a disclaimer. My discussion is for my own ride type and acclimation. Anyone who knows Bryan knows that he can ride in bike shorts and a jersey only down to 40 degrees or something ridiculous like that. Well, that's an exaggeration, but still, cold doesn't bother him much. I also know some aren't bothered by cold if their hands and toes are properly warmed. Others have to wear Goretex everything from head to foot in 50 degrees. It's all about acclimation.

The other caveat I have in my discussion is that I'm riding my bike a whopping 3 miles to work in plain-ish looking clothes. I have a couple hills and I ride a single speed. So if the ride you're thinking of dressing for is drastically different than this, my input will not be helpful. I made the mistake last year of suggesting that a low pressure slick road tire is all you need for bad weather riding and good buddy Mr. Steel Cut tried my tactic on a crazy gravel road ride. At least I think that's where he got the idea to run a road tire on a gravel ride. I'm truly sorry, Brady, if my random tidbits of "knowledge" came across as gospel. I may act like I know a lot, but I'm still learning every day. Since we're talking, by the way, (we are talking right?) I wanted to thank you for your tidbit of knowledge about using a blinky light mounted on your fork shining on your front wheel's spokes. This simple setup is highly visible from all all 180° in front of you. Ever since using that and my dynamo hub powered front light on steady, I've had cars wait a block or so for me to pass before they turn in my path. In other words, they really see me coming.

So, on to the clothing discussion. I mentioned that I dress in plainish looking clothes. I do this since I want to encourage anyone and everyone to hop on a bike to get where they want to go. To the rest of the non-biking world, dressing up like superman really is not appealing. But if they see someone day in, day out riding in a button down shirt and shorts or pants, maybe they could dust off their bike and give it a go. I can dream, can't I?

So for 60°+ I wear short sleeve button down shirt, made of a polyester/cotton blend since cotton doesn't breath at all once soaked in sweat. For shorts, I wear, um, shorts also made of a polyester/cotton blend. I used to always wear bike shorts under them, but what's the point for 3 miles? Less wear and tear on the expensive bike stuff is a good thing. Now I just wear some boxer briefs

For 50-60° I may add a cycling cap under the helmet or a long sleeve button down, but it generally has to be a North wind and cloudy.

Now in the 40s is when you start adding layers. Upper 40s means a short sleeve base layer under a long sleeve button down shirt. For the legs, I'll generally wear some knickers that cover the knees until it gets down to the 30s - then I go with some light cotton pants that look kinda like tan scrubs. Lower 40s and below is what I consider cold requires the black arts that Mark had mentioned. It mostly comes down to your core at this point so what you wear between your knees and your neck is vital.

My example of the black arts is as follows: yesterday when I rode into work at 10:30am it was 38° with a 5-10 mph North wind and lots of clouds/no sun. I left my cycling cap off and I wore a lighter weight short sleeve base layer under my long sleeve button down since hey, it was near 40°. I was FROZEN by the time I got to work. My wool glove covered hands could barely move since my core was desperately hoarding heat. After that experience, I over compensated this morning. It was 34° so I dressed much warmer with a long sleeve wool base layer under my long sleeve button down and a cycling cap to keep my head toasty. I was purdy schweaty when I pulled up to my building since the sun was out and there was a light South wind. So even though I could see my breath this morning at 34° unlike yesterday's 38°, it was much colder yesterday. Again, it's all in the black arts. I probably would have been perfect both days had I just swapped layering setups.

I haven't gotten to the low 30s and into the 20s, but it's coming. Plus this post is already stretching it, even from Munson rambling perspective.

In other news - Things I'm going to miss that I'm really not happy about - this evening's 6:30pm neighborhood association meeting discussing the lane diet on Leavenworth. I work till 8pm, but would love to support the lane diet all up and down Leavenworth. Also, this weekend is the Lincoln cyclocross races. I'm going to miss the shenanigans on Hooligan hill. If you can make it, racing or just watching, I'd highly recommend it. I'm also going to miss the Ladies' and Gentlemens' ride on Sunday. It ends right by my house. But I'll be with my family having lunch with my piano teacher who's in her mid 90's.

Friday, November 05, 2010

I'm now saving $600 a year.

Well, scratch that, $480 a year.

I just cut out my cable. I had the basic channels 1-68, but at $50 a month for about 25 watchable channels(for me anyway), that's pretty pricey. I still have internet and I added Netflix, which is where that extra $120 will go, but still $480 is a good chunk o' change. It's a weird coincidence because I cancel cable one day, then this article comes out the next. It basically asks if the decline in cable subscriptions is an economy thing or technological shift thing. I'm guessing it'll play out as both. Our generation and a few before it just assumed cable was standard. Well, now that the younger generations have nearly no experience with land lines, which also used to be standard, I'm guessing they'll view Netflix and online sites as standard boob tube time. That way they can watch Hulu, flip over to a new tab on their browser, and update their twitter page and/or facebook page as one of the single commercials play. And for us older folks, does it really make sense to pay $130 for a gabillion channels of which you only really watch half? That's nearing a car payment. Or after a year, a new bike.

I don't really have any where else to trim the budget, aside from changing our eating habits. I know it would be wise and probably healthier, but the wife and I both like to eat, so that would be a last resort type thing.

On the bike front, I'm still riding the single speed to/from work. I have a couple hills that kinda get to me, but it's working fine otherwise. Not looking forward to the time change. I think I need to move to Belize. Tropical weather year round sounds nice.