Sunday, January 31, 2010

1/31 Colder Than Freezing

Bob had to bail because he wasn't feeling good. So I had no choice but to brave the freezing headwinds myself, without the benefit of my favorite riding aid: Locomotive Bob. I waited until after 1:30 to leave, just to get the benefit of that additional half degree of rise in temperature. I can't say I could tell the difference. I believe it was about 27° when I started (it takes my computer a while to adjust between the temperature inside my garage to that outside). It "peaked" at 30° about halfway through the ride.

I didn't want to spend that much time on the LIE, so I turned onto Wheatley, did my usual run through Locust Valley, Horseshoe Road, Oyster Bay, onto Moores Hill Road. At Beefalo I took a shortcut straight back to Syosset's 7-11 for my usual break treat. At that point I'd done 31 miles. After my fingers were fully recovered I finished the usual way via white church (no campus), to Wheatley and back home before sun down. Total distance: 47 miles. Average: a poky 16.3 mph.

It was tough heading out. Had to stop once to let my fingers thaw, just 10 miles in, when it got to be too painful to bear. After the 7-11 break, for some reason, I didn't experience the frozen fingers issue any more, even though the temperature was holding steady at 29°, perhaps thanks to the ultra-caffeinated hot chocolate. My toes were frozen for most of the ride, but it was bearable.

With age, apparently, comes decreased blood circulation in my extremities. Gotta get better gloves and socks.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

1/17 Warmer Than Freezing

Another excellent, not freezing day in January. Morning temps were about 34F. They rose to about 39F by the time we got home.

This morning Ori, BobL, and Isaac dressed warmly.  We started at 8am but we came to an early stop to watch Ori expertly change a punctured rear tire.

Yes Barry, you could have met us. Even if you woke up late. You know there is always Wheatley. At least you benefited from extra beauty sleep. You will have to send us a picture.

There were other riders out today. I do not recall ever seeing so many riders riding the wrong way on the service road. I do not know what that was all about.
The route.
Sunnyside extension, Stillwell, 7/11, hot chocolate, the Bumpy, Campus and home.
Isaac was a Renegade for most of the ride.

We did not find any hail storms after the campus loop.  I should know better than to get weather reports from female runners that just happen to be running by. I think she was blond.

Total miles about 45.  It just started to rain when I got back to North Woodmere.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Riding: Why The Heck Not?

I've been wondering why most people, riders and non-riders alike, seem so shocked to learn that some of us still ride through the winter months. Questions like "isn't it too cold?" or "do you first warm up?" usually come up. Apparently, the main (or only) factor that keeps most riders off the roads or trails during the winter months is the outdoor temperature. But, when you stop to think about it, it's really not that big a deal.

I'll admit, riding in the cold is not as pleasant as in the warm weather, and you have to dress just right or risk being too cold and hating it, or too warm and hating it, perhaps a little less. And if you're so terrified of feeling cold that you end up dressing way too warm and find yourself sweating profusely, you better not stop for too long because as soon as you pick up some speed all that moisture, with the cold air blowing through it, will feel really cold real quick.

But think about that very popular winter activity: skiing. Alpine skiing, as opposed to the less popular cross-country skiing, if you want to get technical. Snow boarding, thanks to the X-gen crowd, is quickly reaching the same level of popularity as classic Alpine. As far as I can tell, without actually studying any statistics, skiing is hugely popular, even here in the US. Much more so than cycling. Just look at the ski lift lines at any ski park or resort.

My main point here is that skiing/snowboarding typically take place in cold temperatures, with the ground covered in snow and ice. Many people will even go out and hit the slopes while the snow is still falling. After all, if you're on vacation at some ski resort, you've plunked a lot of cash just to be there for a weekend or longer. Perhaps you've rented equipment for your stay. A little nip in the air is not going to keep you tucked indoors.

So what do you do? You dress appropriately and you get out there (duh). And have fun. Cold weather be damned!

Guess what: there are excellent winter riding clothes and accessories made specifically for cycling as well. Sure, you'll be carrying a little more weight (ask Barry, he knows exactly how much more weight), and your freedom of movement won't be quite as extensive as when you're only wearing a single layer of lightweight lycra. But isn't being out there doing what you love so much better than the alternative?

And you don't have to pay a dime for a lift pass, either.

So, what's your excuse?