Last season, I learned a really valuable lesson about winter riding: If you wear the right clothing, there’s no reason you have to stop just because the temperature drops near freezing. (Although I do stop once the snow starts accumulating on the roads.) The key is having the right layering. On Sunday I was excited to get back out on my bike after a little hiatus and give it a go again.
On Saturday a nor’easter blew in, bringing with it cool temperatures, rain, and lots and lots of wind. We drove through quite a bit of that on our way to and from Lincoln Center to see Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera. (It was fantastic, by the way.) Here’s a fuzzy picture after the end of the show.
I could hear the wind blowing against the house on Sunday morning when I woke up. So I put on a pair of thermal bib tights, an undershirt, arm-warmers, a JDRF jersey, and my thermal waterproof jacket. It sounds bulky, but it really isn’t. I also wore a normal pair of cycling socks and the waterproof cycling boots I got as a give last Christmas. Oh and gloves. I also loaded up with enough food for three hours of riding, my phone, and a bit of cash in case I got peckish or had to bribe someone.
When I walked out of the house, I was a little worried about being overly warm, but as soon as I started riding the wind dispelled that notion. I was actually quite comfortable. And then it started to rain a bit. And then it started to snow. For an hour of my two-hour jaunt I rode into and out of snow flurries, occasionally thinking thoughts like this: “I hope the drivers who see my don’t think ‘There’s a crazy person’ when they see me. Or, if they do, I hope they also recognize that this is the kind of craziness I must embrace in order to be ready for next year.” And then it happened; about an hour-and-a-half into my ride I was waiting at a light to make a left turn onto highway 109 (the most boring road in the Commonwealth) when I saw a car approaching with two bikes atop it. The driver slowed and gave me a big thumbs up as he passed. It kinda made my day.
A few random observations from my ride:
- My full-finger gloves are not waterproof. So my fingers got cold.
- Rainwater ran down my legs into my shoes. Because they’re waterproof, I finished the ride with standing water in my shoes and rubbery feet.
- The chia-based energy gel Victoria sent me was . . . interesting.
- I forgot how firm Clif ShotBloks get when it’s cold.
- I think I have a non-race-day diabetes plan that I can use when I’m riding. My BG barely budged over those two hours.
- The last time I washed my bib tights, the spin cycle didn’t get all of the soapy water out. My knees started foaming a bit in the wet weather.