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Bike Winter: Rainy Fall Days & Learning to Layer

November 9, 2011

Photo Credit: Siobhan O'Connor

This will officially be my first Bike Winter.  I’ve decided that I love biking too much to stop for the cold weather. So far I am loving it–despite the chilly non-stop rain.  M.A.R.K from the Chainlink suggested that I keep a diary of what I wear, temps, weather conditions etc.–sounds like an excuse to blog! So here we go:

Nov. 8, 2011

Temp: somewhere in the high 40s- 50s

Conditions:  Crazy rain in the morning, misting in the evening

What I wore:  My Cambridge Raincoat is proving to worth it’s weight in gold.  I finally got around to writing my official review (Will Post Soon, I Promise!!!).  Needless to say, I love the nearly full-body coverage and the reflective features make me feel a little safer on these dark days.  However, although the coat is plenty long enough to keep my knees dry, the bottom won’t stay put.  It flaps up in the wind exposing my knees.  I have made two adjustments so far. I sewed little pouches around some heavy-duty commemorative coins I got in France and safety-pinned them to the bottom hem. It helped, a little, weighing the bottom down so at least the wind wasn’t a problem. However the coins tend to clack against my frame when I’m peddling making a sound akin to that toy with the balls on the ends of plastic arms on a stick kids loved in the 90s.  I may move the coins over another spot on the coat. My second adjustment was to safety-pin the bottom most button which is at the end of a little strap to provide room for knee movement but instead allows a gap between the sides of the coat. I pinned it in place and hopefully that will solve the gap problem. I will let you know tomorrow. I also wore my Kamik rain boots which are tall, dry and comfy.  I wonder if combined with wool, if they will make good snow-boots too?

My other problem is layering.  I keep anticipating really cold weather and dressing too warmly and then end up sweating.  My plan is to follow the adage ” If you aren’t cold at the start of your ride, then you probably have on too many layers.”  I am also going to try wearing a moisture-wicking base layer as suggested by Thundersnow on the Chainlink.

I read the How To guide on the Bike Winter website and am feeling pretty good about most of my gear.  There seems to be stress on the extremities, which I’ve got covered.  I’ve got tall lined snow boots and ski mittens.  I need to go buy some wool though.  My girlfriend and I plan to go thrifting soon and I am siked to find some treasures.

Observations from today’s commute:

I rode through the rain this morning and despite my coat flipping up exposing my knees to the wet, it was blast.  My current commute takes me up a small portion of the North Channel Trail.  It is amazing to be zooming through a forest and over a peaceful creek after only having minutes ago battled traffic on Milwaukee.  I saw a buck in the field along the path, and several does darted across in front of me.  Absolutely incredible!  I have seen deer before but have never been so close in such a tranquil setting.  I am kicking myself for having not taken a picture, if it happens again, I will.

The adventure continues on Day 2, Rumors of Snow or Ug Everything I Own is Cotton

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