Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Some things . . .

More people are riding now. Weather's been mild. Generally dry. Perhaps someone will discover the overwhelming pleasure or riding and turn to bicycle commuting as an option. I don't know what characteristics led me to choose pedal power over hydrocarbons, so it isn't possible to predict what might motivate someone else. It's a simple matter of enjoy time in the saddle and being willing to deal with some negative stuff.

1, If it rains you get wet.
There is no way to avoid the obvious. Nothing will keep you dry. The best one can hope for is management of the degree of wetness. I sweat whether I am wearing breathable or suffocating rain gear, and nothing is truly breathable enough to counter the kilocalories of heat generated when I ride. Accepting that wet is a part of the moment and dress to minimize as much as possible. I have settled on a rain cape from J & G Cyclewear. The English have used capes for damn close to forever. After a more than a year I am completely satisfied. I know how wet I will get and carry dry clothing and, if the temperature permits, foot gear that can handle being soaked. Lacking rain-handling shoes, a spare pair. How do I carry this and not have the dry stuff get wet? Waterproof panniers from Ortlieb, specifically Back Rollers Plus.

2. If it's cold you get cold.
Again it is a matter of degree. Twenty degrees is as cold in Florida as it is in Ohio. It doesn't last as long, but it happens. The first thing to keep in mind is that being warm during the first mile or so is not good. As wigth rain wear. Heat is generated and if you are over dressed you will sweat and become colder. Layers are the only answer. Learning what works and what does not is a matter of experience. As with rain preparations, carrying alternate and additional clothing is worth considering. Hands are my coldest place, but has been moderated by wearing Smart Wool glove liners. For about $16 and a pair of Harbor Freight XL Stable Gloves my hands were relatively comfortable to the upper 20s.

3. If it's hot you will be hot.
The only secret (if there is one) is water. Hydration is the key. You will still be hot, still sweat, but you won't pass out. I carry three 28 ounce water bottle and on 24 ounce. During the 10 mile ride home I will often finish a 28 ounce bottle. Even during cooler weather I make sure the bottles are filled. Water is the fluid that fuels us.

Nothing monumental here, just reality.


  1. Part of the reason I commute on a folding bike is that it helps me avoid some of the more extreme elements. I ride most of the time, but in the case of heavy rain or extreme heat/cold, I can fold my bike up and catch a ride home w/someone or even take it on the bus.

  2. You can't have too many bicycles and a folding bike might be a good future choice. All the public transportation buses have racks for two bikes and I used to ride buses in-bound to work. The Safari with it's 700c rims/tires and long wheelbase did not fit on older racks.

    Lacking significant hills and being blessed with moderate winter temperatures, full time commuting and a bicycle lifestyle are easy to maintain. The idea of traveling and not having a bicycle certain makes a folding bike more interesting.