Feed on

typical cold-weather gear, originally uploaded by Meetzorp.

My cold-weather biking gear has gotten a little more sophisticated since my early days of year-round riding, though it is still quite a hodge-podge of thrifted clothing, cycling-specific clothing, and whatever the heck else I can pile on. At least I no longer wear the goggles or the helmet mirror.

Today, it was, as I mentioned earlier, ridiculously, stupidly, booger-freezingly cold outside and I had stuff I needed to do that necessitated my going out in the elements. I was dressed largely as you see above, with the exception that I was wearing old khaki pants and my brown, insulated workboots instead of the old black, non-insulated boots. Also I was wearing red socks today, because I’m nutty that way.

Beneath those superficial layers, I was wearing my trusty old Sugoi Sub Zero tights (some of the BEST money I ever spent on cold-weather cycling gear), an Ibex long-sleeve base layer top, and a sage-green merino sweater (thrifted). That outer shell jacket is super thin…you wouldn’t think it would do a lick of good, but the thing is, you layer and you’re fine, and you can use the same jacket for a lot of different temperatures. It’s a good wind-blocker. It was, at most, 10F today, and I definitely didn’t feel cold anywhere but my face and fingertips. I was wearing heavier gloves today than I was in that picture and they helped a lot, but honestly, under a certain temperature, I’m never going to be comfortable, I will just be “okay.”

To anybody who is just getting into winter cycling, I have one important word to say to you. “Wool.” Especially wool socks and sweaters. You can often get nice merino for super cheap at thrift shops, and good quality wool is not in the least scratchy unless you are unusually sensitive. Why am I advocating wool? Mainly because it is very absorbent while being a great insulator, so if you break a sweat, you won’t get all clammy and feel chilly and awful. Moreover, wool doesn’t usually get as smelly as synthetics or even cotton. You can go the better part of the week without having to wash your sweater…I know this sounds really gross, but it’s true. It doesn’t get smelly, so it’s actually not gross at all.

Unintentionally, my backpack, jacket, and helmet co-ordinate beautifully. Joel won the backpack in a raffle at a mountain bike race, I won the helmet as a doorprize at an alleykat, and I bought the jacket just before our cross-country trip because Joel told me I looked like a bag-lady in his old Cannondale coat that I had kind of commandeered. He had a fair point…it’s from the early 90s and has seen rough service, plus it’s meant for a man who is a whole foot taller than I am. I definitely looked a bit pathetic in his old coat.

Pretty bad, eh? Plus, I was still recovering from the godawful haircut I gave myself last January. It took me many months to stop looking like the token homely kid in a boy-band.

Leave a Reply