Friday, November 15, 2013

Sartorial Cycling: Dressing for Transitional Temps

Happy Friday night, Fiets-Friends!

Today, let's talk about layering for riding. On Sunday, I decided to ride Fleur to church, which is about two miles each way from my home. It was in the low-40s when I left, but was supposed to be near 60 for my ride home. HEY, those temps require different outerwear, y'all.

So what to wear to ride?

As always, start with what you want to wear. It's a bicycle ride, not an ice-climbing expedition. {The dog is optional; mine isn't a fan of baskets, for the record.}

Consider that you will be INCREASING wind exposure (by moving through the air, sometimes quickly), while WARMING your core through physical activity. So really, you'll warm yourself up once you're going for a few minutes, but the air will feel colder -- especially on your arms (which aren't moving as much as your legs), hands, and face/ears. 

Personally? I don't mind a brisk breeze on my face, but cold ears give me a wicked headache. 

Early in the blog, I suggested wearing a handkerchief in your forehead to prevent helmet-forehead. For cool, but not yet cold, weather, try binding the bandanna over your ears. It will block the wind but let most of the sound through. 

I also recommend a scarf; err on the warm side (they are easy to loosen or ditch). The other form of cold that gets to me is a cold neck and chest. I like winters so much more since scarves really caught on a few years ago!

Finally, if you have a jacket that is primarily wind-proof, or at least wind-resistant, grab that one. I was far chillier on my "coffeeneuring" ride when it was in the 50s in a wool tee and polyester fleece jacket than in my sleeveless shell, light cardi, and ancient raincoat (this jacket's at least ten years old; serves me well in a number of circumstances).

A lot of smaller layers allow you to tailor your outerwear during the ride and to adjust as necessary for the ride home, when temps have shifted. I ditched everything but the jacket and helmet for my ride home two hours later. 

Finally, a note on hair: with long tresses, I often like a braid or braids, because of the ease, but a low bun also plays nicely with a helmet. It also, if anything, creates a soft "o" or  "s"-type wave instead of crimpy-type "z" waves. I just twist my hair onto itself and secure ends with an elastic or small hair clip.

As the daylight wanes, and the temperatures continue to drop, I will likely be focusing my transport rides on these shorter jaunts within my more immediate neighborhoods. I do plan to continue Sunday church rides into and through the winter as long as the streets are clear.  I look forward to the experience and sharing what I'm learning with you here! I'd also like to lobby for the workday to shorten to from no earlier than an hour after sunrise to no later than an hour before sunset -- just to have a fighting shot at some daylight for part of my commute -- however I'm commuting. 9-3 from November to March, anyone?

Cheers, and happy riding!

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