This is a part of my new series about biking through a Maine winter. I'll be writing weekly columns about my adventures getting around without a car through the coldest season in the most northeastern state.
Layers, layers, layers.
And more layers.
I took the photo above right before going out for a 15 mile bike ride at night when the temperature was a balmy 7 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind was ripping, driving the perceived temperature down well below zero.
Riding a bike in below zero degree really isn't all that bad if you have the right layers on.
On my upper body I was wearing a thin long sleeved polypro shirt, a nylon Tshirt, wool sweater, a thin wind blocking and heat trapping LL Bean jacket, and a lightweight Patagonia hooded shell with velcro locking cuffs. On my hands I wore my double layer OR gloves, the same ones I wear snowboarding. My head was covered by a thin cycling balaclava from Craft with an LL Bean hat covered with my Giro snowboarding helmet. When the temperature is above 20 or so I wear my regular Girl bike helmet, but I like the added warmth of the snowboarding helmet and googles when it gets really cold.
My legs were kept warm with polypro long underwear, a nice pair of lined black cargo pants, with my old snowboard pants over top. I wore warm socks and my LL Bean waterproof hiking boots.
Dressed properly, I set out into the wind and had a great bike ride. The cold weather helped keep even the drivers at home, so I practically had the streets to myself. The air was sharp and crisp and I was reminded of long walks I'd talk in the woods growing up as a little kid. It gets cold in the White Mountains where I grew up and I spent a lot of time outside. Not having more than three channels on TV helped a lot in that aspect.
I always deepen my appreciation for the comfortable life I was lucky to be born into after spending a good cold ride. I'm nowhere near rich and have to scrimp and save like a lot of people (especially these days), but at the end of my ride I was able to go home to a nice warm apartment and take a hot shower. There are a lot of people in the world who can't say the same.
I'm having a great time on the bike in the cold and am really happy about the decision I made earlier this year to go carless.
Any other winter bikers around? What do you do to get through the cold season? How bad is the weather where you live?