Friday, January 12, 2007

The cold

With it getting cold outside, it can be hard to find the motivation to get on the bike. The first few miles can (and should) be a bit chilly - if they're not, then you're going to get too warm later on.

Yesterday, expecting a really cold ride in and home (it wasn't that bad, not as cold as this morning), I wore some shoe covers. They really did make a big difference in keeping the toes warm.

For those that are interested, I run a low-end Shimano SPD pedal on all of my bikes, and use the cheapest Shimano shoes that I could find at the time (they're close to two years old) with them. SPD shoes are nice because you can walk in them and not look like a penguin (as my other road-riding friends do), or not slip and fall on your keister on smooth surfaces such as tile floors.

With these, I wear lightweight socks in the summer, or a heavier DeFeet Blaze sock (no, not the pink ones, for those of you who clicked on the link!) this time of year. The socks really help, but I have found my toes getting a little frosty the last few days. Hence, the shoe covers.

My wife and my office-mates think I'm nuts for riding this time of year. Evidently, most of Bakersfield agrees. Riding home from work last night (around 6pm), I went past 5 people total: one jogger (who was wearing reflective apparel... A light still would have been good, but thank you for making yourself visible!), three female walkers (nothing reflective, hard to see, not paying attention to anyone else out there - c'mon ladies, get a clue before someone accidentally runs into you!), and one teen-aged dude on a scooter (yellow hooded sweatshirt, looked like he was having a cold and miserable time).

But, that's part of the beauty of being on the bike this time of year - it's a good opportunity to wind down and relax a bit on my commute home. Plus, I'm saving money on gas, helping our air quality, and improving my health / quality of life.

I'm still learning about what works and what doesn't for certain temperatures. (Fortunately, I have not yet had to battle the cold + the rain). To make sure I don't completely freeze, I carry two extra jackets (one is a rain jacket, the other a polypro zip-up jacket) and a pair of arm warmers (haven't needed these yet). At any rate, I guess my point is that if you really want to get out there and exercise, you'll make it a priority and figure out a way.

I hope you'll do so.

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