Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wotta Week

I have ridden my bicycles, exclusively, for the past week, and it has been fun, but a bit exhausting. Not only have the cold temps (below zero in the morning, not too far above, in the afternoon), but all of the clothes-changing wears me out (mentally, at least).

I mentioned, a while back, that I wear 25 to 27 different items of clothing, to ride in this kind of weather:

1 helmet
1 balaclava
1 bandanna
2 shirts
4 arm warmers
2 glove liners
2 gloves
1 pair of bike shorts
2 leg warmers
4 socks
1 pair of wool pants
2 shoes
2 shoe covers
1 vest
1 jacket
27 items

(Sometimes I wear one set of arm warmers and a fleece jacket, rather than the vest, and that cuts the count to 25.)

I put all of that on, ride to work, then take all of that off and dress for work. At the end of the day, I take off my work clothes, put all of the bike clothes back on, and ride home. Once I am home, I take off all of the bike clothes, shower, then dress in normal clothes until bedtime. I undress one more time, to go to bed.

That's eight different times that I either dress or undress. Every. Damn. Day.

It's a bit complicated, but necessary in order to stay warm. That is probably one major reason why I like to commute on the fixed-gear mountain bike, with studded tires, so much. The bike is as simple as my clothing is complicated.

With no shifters, derailleurs and associated cabling, the fixed-gear bike is pared down to basics (even with the two brakes that I run on mine). I basically just have to put air in the tires every 7 or 8 days, and adjust the occasional bearing every few months.

People ask me why I don't ride the fat bike, instead of the fixie. When there is actual snow on the roads, the fat bike is awesome. But, the combination of warmish roads, during the first snowfall, along with the bitterly cold temperatures, resulted in the roads having quite a bit of ice on them, sometimes under snow, sometimes not.

The wide tires are great on snow, but no better than any other tire on ice. Hence, the studded tires come out. Plus, the fixed-gear drivetrain allows me to slow down, or even stop, without hitting the brakes. This tends to reduce the slips and slides at stop signs.

It looks like I will be commuting a few more days, on this bike. We have a slow warmup coming, but I don't think that the roads will be motorcycle-friendly for a while.



At 5:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to do a project that required me to check on some test animals every day -- strip down, shower, dress in a coverall, go in and check on the animals, strip down again, shower, dress in regular clothes, then go about my day - - then repeat in the evening. I used to say that only prostitutes spent more time getting dressed and undressed at work than I did -- now I'd have to say prostitutes and Jon.

At 5:35 PM , Blogger Jon said...

And David Lee Roth.

At 8:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a better man than I am. I tried riding to get groceries and had to turn back. Then I tried riding to downtown and had to turn back. Then I hopped in the tub for over an hour and gave up. My joints, chest and ankles still hurt from last week.

At 6:33 PM , Blogger Eric Daume said...

Maybe we need bicycling clothing modeled after the Aerostich... one big zipper, BOOM! fully suited up and ready to go.

At 11:24 AM , Anonymous PushingWind said...

Thanks a lot. After reading this article, I have been counting items when I get home during my change back into normal clothes.

I topped out at 15 items during the coldest day last week since my ride is under 5 miles each way here in Littleton.

At 2:26 PM , Blogger Tracy Halasinski said...

I am on the hunt for a good winter bike. Not a fat bike, not a mtn bike, but something that will fit 40 mm tires + fenders. Got any suggestions, oh wise winter commuter?

At 8:11 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Looking for new, or used? The Ocean Air Rambler would be a good choice, if you are looking for a new bike.

At 8:13 PM , Blogger Jon said...

@Eric Daume: I have an Aerostich suit, for motorcyling. It is a great system.

At 9:40 AM , Blogger Tracy Halasinski said...

Used if I can find it. I'd love a Rambler but it's not in the budget.

At 1:06 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Gotcha. I understand that.

My choice for that kind of bike is always either an old-school 80s or 90 rigid mtb, or one of the nicer hybrids, from back then, like a Specialized Crossroads, etc.
This Schwinn, currently on CR, would probably work:

Throw some mustache bars and fenders on it, and you have a pretty good winter commuter.


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