Thursday, November 17, 2005

Days Like Today...

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.


Two Wheels at a time said...

nice work on the winter commuting!!

FatChick said...

I like the new messenger bag. I'm very impressed with your willpower. I think you could influence a lot of people (me included). Keep going!

~ Fat Chick

Anonymous said...


Do you ever take your lunch to work with you? I do Slim-Fast for lunch quite often. However, I certainly understand just getting out of the office for a break and/or Slim-Fast just not being enough to satisfy.

There are a lot of people who do a lot dumber things out in the cold than riding cycling - like smoking. I don't get that.

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Here is a prime example of my second comment...

Not only is it cold, this person is an aspiring medical professional. Even more confounding!

Anonymous said...

Could you please define your terms? Starting with:


Friggin cold

mytzpyk said...

I'm still working on the difference between these two.

Friggin Cold, Wednesday morning: 12 degrees, wind WNW 21, windchill (–7)

Not quite Friggin Cold, Thursday morning: 16 degrees, wind SSE 13, windchill 3

Not Friggin Cold, Thursday afternoon: 27 degrees, wind S 13, windchill 15

Chilli – soup that eats like a meal.

Eric A. said...

I saw a neat show about Global Warming on the History Channel last night. Some Climatologists
were claiming that will be a little ICE AGE sometime in the next century or so. Just like what Europe had in approx 1000AD to 1600AD.
So while it does seem cold , it will be much colder in the future.
As for riding in cold temps.
Hunters go on hunts when it's cold.
and people fish to. But like Noel stated. Smoking has to be the dumber thing to do when it's cold.