biking and subzero temperatures

After my vacation last week I thought the time was right to show dear Lizzie more love. It finally stays bright until after 6pm, and the forecast predicted a dry but very cold start into the week. I thought, what the heck, let’s try how it 6 degrees below Zero feel on a bike. Not as cold as you might think, actually. The only things that always get icy are my fingers, no matter what sort of gloves I try.

I was wearing wooly tights, my trusty bike pants, a vest, a cotton longsleeve, a cashmere pullover (christmas present from my mom), my soft shell jacket and my Golden Gate Bridge coloured windbreaker. Oh, and legwarmers, but those more for fashion reasons, because Doc Martens and skinny legwear look rather silly without some inbetween element. The trick is to prevent overheating from stuffy clothing. You get incredibly warm on a bike really fast. The first few meters albeit are more like this: “Ooooooh my lord, what was I thiiiiiinkiiiing? I’m freeeeeeezing!”
Thin, breathable layers are the Number One trick when it comes to staying warm on a bike. Second trick is a jacket that is 100% windproof. Cold is not so much an enemy than wind is. I finally invested in one of those cotton tubes from Buff to keep my head warm under the helmet, and this is sooo much nicer that having icicle ears.

I don’t mind having an icecold chin, but always rub some cream on my cheeks and lips to prevent cold damage to my skin. You might want to get one of those special scarves that carve over your nose or a balaclava if you are more sensible to cold. Regular scarves work too, but can give you the feeling of wearing a neck brace.

But even if I’m not cold, I’m looking foward to temperatures on the other side of the Zero.

back to biking

The bus service went from tolerably well to downright crap since they adjusted the timetables back in December. Or maybe it’s just the combination of my imagination and really bad weather. But I have the feeling that I’m standing around at bus stops for ages until one shows up.

I’m missing my bike sorely. To my delight the weather forecast for next week shows temperatures in the double digits on the plus side – hooray! And it’s not getting dark so soon anymore, so riding my bike to work might be very very possible. No more standing around freezing, no more having to listen to that chick that is on the phone every blasted morning, speaking to her (I think) boyfriend about the most mundane things ever. Like for example that she cooked chicken the night before and now her coat smells like chicken. No more having to leave the office two minutes too early because the bus leaves earlier.

So unlike last year when I had to talk myself into actually taking the bike, now it’s more like iwanttotakethebikegoawayyoustupidwinteromgbbq!!! On Thursday I was so fed up with the bus being late 1 that I decided to walk the remaining 2 km home. I probably wasn’t faster, but warmer. And I got to walk part of my commute, which was nice.

Sorry for the rambling post, I actually planned to write about different types of valves, but didn’t get around to take the pictures. Buh. Bad blogger. ;-)

GZ6H3Y8YR66C (This is a Technoratic claim token… because claiming blogs is a serious thing)

sursee update

I had high plans of writing an elaborate gift guide today, for the bike commuter in your life. I even made a little list in one of the many many moments the groupware at work was coming to a grinding halt, but… right now I just want to curl up into fetal position and whisper the meanest swearwords to my intestines. The monthly joy of being a woman…

On a happier note, the Electra saddle came and looks great. The new chain also made its way into my home, but not onto the bike yet. Don’t want to fiddle with little nooks today.

See you tomorrow, and then hopefully with a nice gift guide.

i’m victim of evil mind switchers!

As I said more than once, I hated biking passionately. So the fact that I’m actually thinking about keeping up the bike commute as long as possible surprised me a lot. I’m by no means an all weather cyclist, I’m still afraid of cars, and biking in the darkness gives you a lot more stuff to be afraid of. So why should I want to ride in the dark, cold and not to mention wet, winter?

1) I love my bike. Riding on that thing is just pure fun.
2) Biking keeps you warm, while standing around bus stops is already pretty cold.
3) Nature. I ride through a tiny strip of very wet meadows/ swamp and meet all sorts of interesting creatures. Herons, storks, woodpeckers and dew drop studded spiderwebs (which are no creatures, but amazing). Don’t get me started on the mist… sooooo pretty.
4) The smell. Wet earth, freshly mowed grass, rotting leaves…
5) Wearing high heeled shoes is much more comfortable on a bike, than having to walk to and from bus stops.
6) It makes me happy. No matter how bad the mood before, after a bike ride I’m always smiling. Sorcery!
7) No annoying passengers behind you, with voices to cut steel with.Although the amount of annoying people in the buses around here is really really small. Even the oh so cool teenagers are well behaved.
8. I can come and go as I like. No pesky schedule!

So yeah, I actually might invest into rain gear and keep the bike commute going until it’s no fun anymore.

I always kick myself for a) not bringing the big camera with me and b) not having time to take awesome dew drop pictures.