Winter commute

When I moved up to Portland, the first thing that I did was start riding my bike again. I needed a compulsive activity to distract me from smoking, and also the late summer weather was nice enough to ride in and not want to kill myself, this was a novelty. I moved up here in September, rode for a while, braced myself for a nasty winter (which was, in fact, not that bad) filled with car commutes, and then took it up again in Spring.

That next year, I decided to hell with the car. I’d ride my bike every (work)day of the year. And I did. Lots of miles, 10 miles a day, 5 days a week, from March to November. And then the holidays came, and lo and behold I found myself back in a car for my commute.

Looking at next week (and the next) being oncall weeks for work, I decided I had better get some miles in if I’m going to have my gear sussed out for the real cold. I put on my best guess clothes this morning (42f according to weather report) and rode in.

Best Guess Clothing

  • Thin balaclava
  • Underarmor wicking base layer
  • Poly t-shirt
  • Poly tights
  • “bike shorts” (light linen shorts I use during summer rides)
  • Burley Rock Point jacket
  • Helmet
  • Gore Windstopper gloves

This was FOLLY.
My gloves, helmet, jacket, all worked out fine. The balaclava was a MISTAAKE, I ended up sweaty and feeling like I was struggling for breath. The tights/shorts combo worked out OK, I wouldn’t have wanted more warmth, but I would have wanted the shorts to go down past the knee. I should have just worn the base layer and stuffed the shirt in a bag. If I was going for a longer ride, I should have done the reverse, because that jacket keeps my body heat near my arms pretty well.

Lesson learned, less clothing when it’s 40. I should have known when my head felt toasty warm at the beginning of the ride that I’d regret it.

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