BIKING in the COLD.

30 12 2014

My name is Melinda and I am the office manager here at the River House Outdoor Program.  Today I woke up to find the temperature outside to be 23 degrees.  It didn’t dawn on me to even get into my car to commute to work.  In fact, today and everyday it brings me happiness knowing that there is such an ease and delight to get onto my bike and pedal to work.  I enjoy all the curves, hills, straight roads, the familiar faces, the smiles I try to put on people’s faces, and being able to use all five of my senses to jump start my day.  In Eugene you should always prepared to get wet.  But today, I was prepared to be cold.  I bike to work 80% of the year (4 out of 5 days) and very seldom have I had any challenges dealing with the weather. At the River House most of us are bike commuters.  So, I asked each one of the staff that biked to work today on how they prepared for today’s morning ride.  And here is what they had to say…

Zane, Melinda and Roger

Roger:

This morning I was psyched that is was clear cold (24 degrees) and sunny.

I tucked my rain pants in my bike bag because well you know Oregon=winter=rain.

My ride is 25 minutes now and my hands often get cold so I layered a pair of goretex mittens over my gloves – toasty hands and no problem with the controls. I also wore my favorite hat that covers my ears and a lovingly made wool sweater under my bike jacket. I was plenty warm, too warm in fact by the time I got to work and stripped down to short sleeves until I cooled off. I thought about wearing sunglasses, have you ever had cold eyeballs, and wish I had but spaced them out at the last minute as I assembled my lunch.

And since I’ve been commuting in the rain a lot lately my chain is in need of a serious cleaning and lube-weekend project.

Hey – don’t forget your bike lights. Even though we are gaining a few minutes of daylight each day it’s plenty dark out there and drivers are still in the holiday mode and not exactly paying attention to cyclists.

Zane:

Number 1 tip for cold weather riding.  Start off a little cold.  If you start hot, you will only get hotter.  Sweat builds up and you feel gross for the rest of the day.  Start cold and become comfortable after the first 5 minutes and stay comfortable.

On really cold days, glasses help keep your eyes from watering and a scarf is an easy piece to shed if you get too hot.  Just don’t let your scarf get caught in the spokes!

Melinda:

Morning Sunrise

Since I have such a cold downhill ride, I like to keep the part above my shoulders warm.  The wind can be brutal on my ears and eyes. I wear a balaclava under my helmet that covers everything but my eyes. I also wear a fleece neck gaiter over for that for added warmth.  I use the four layer (silk tank, sweater, primaloft vest, and rain jacket) approach when it comes to my torso area.  And for my legs I wear tights and a fleece skirt (http://fleeceskirts.com/).  The fleece skirts are custom made here in Eugene and are super comfy. And I recommend them not for just biking in but for skiing, reading by the fire or taking your dogs for an evening walk. My hands stay warm in my fleece lined mittens. Today’s early morning ride was exceptionally bright.  And I was happy to ride into the sunrise with my sunglasses.  Since there is the challenge of different light conditions during this time of year, I like to have interchangeable lenses that change with what time of day I arrive and leave to work.  Lately, my lighter-colored lenses have remained on my sunglasses; they help to enhance contrast when it is cloudy and on my dusk bike ride home.

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