Today was a much better cycling day than yesterday. I suspect yesterday I may have found a limit to the temperature and windchill that I’m willing to endure. Further testing is required.
This morning I saw two 16-degree commuting cyclists. Full-face Helmet Guy was one of them. I noticed he's adorned ski goggles. If it’s good enough for him it might be good enough for…today I received an e-mail from Smith Optics. I can win some! Providence?
I added another set of bicycle tracks to the snow on my morning commute. That makes two sets of tracks, me today and me yesterday.
Three people at work have noted I’m still riding to work. Two of them encountered me on the road and thought I was pretty tough. “Why yes, yes I am. Thank you.” I’m always sure to thank them for not taking the opportunity to run me over. One of the three admitted that he’d figured I’d for sure give up by now.
A hidden pitfall of cycling to work: the afternoon trips for lunch are more difficult. I had gotten used to walking a few blocks for lunch. When I ride to work when it’s this cold I don’t have an appropriate coat for trips to lunch. It’s easier to get back on the bike and ride far away for lunch than to change into neoprene and walk down the street.
Speaking of what to wear, I cut out of work early to run some errands. First stop, the dentist. Should I wear enough to stay warm on the bike, or enough to be able to sit comfortably through the appointment? I wore less on the bike and it proved the correct decision...until I got back on the bike. My body had adjusted to the indoor temperature in the current clothing. Brrrr…
Then I went to a picture framer.
Then I went to pick up some embroidery work.
A few weeks ago The Owner loaned me his Timbuk2 messenger bag. I immediately loved it! Previously I had been using a backpack. My two favorite things about the new bag: when looking over the shoulder for traffic I don’t have to look around the backpack and the bag doesn’t fall off my shoulder when I’m off the bike. I can’t believe I haven't switched to this already. Messengers know a thing or two about urban cycling, duh. The Owner is a good salesman. I customized and then bought my own from him. Then I took it somewhere else for the embroidery.
With all these stops there were plenty of people to suffer the shock and awe of a person on a bicycle at below freezing temperatures. I admitted to the dental hygienist that I have a strong commitment to using a car as little as possible. I mentioned I’d filled up with gas three times (it might be four) since June. Her response involved the money saved from not buying gas. If minds begin to change about global warming responses will likely tend toward the idea of limiting green-house-gas emissions more often than money or health, or simply how crazy it is that a person rides a bike for utility. I wonder if that day will ever come.
The other most common offering was the suggestion that it’s a bit chilly to be riding a bicycle. The best part about having suffered through yesterday was it allowed me to answer with: “it's less chilly than it was yesterday.”
A light snow began falling toward the end of my errand running. It was a perfect ending to a very good cycling day.
Upon arriving home I changed clothes and headed out on foot for school conferences. I enjoyed an ice cream novelty on my way. It reminded me of the “it’s so cold the Eskimos are sucking on icicles to keep warm” joke. I almost fell three times on uncleared sidewalks. Add this to the reasons I don’t ride on sidewalks.