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?
Are you on Twitter? Follow me (@sheagunther) there, I give good tweets.
And if you really like my writing, you can join my Facebook page.