Monday 24 November 2014

Winter Cycling Noon and Night

Still eager to hit the snow, I planned on two rides in the same day.  One would be a quick ride to the post office in the snow.  The other would be a longer night ride, with a clear sky and icy roads.  I was also eager to try out some new gear.

I Spy With My Giant Eyes
I had purchased Spy Optics Whip MX Goggles.  I was hoping they would fill the need for anti-fogging eye-wear.  I was also hoping for something that would be comfortable, especially over the course of a long ride.

The other piece to keep my face warm is a Seirus Neofleece Combo Scarf.  It works like a face mask that has a nose opening.  There are lots of small openings around the mouth.  It can also be flipped down so it functions like a scarf.
Very thin, very warm.

And of course, when you wear them both you look like a badass ninja.

I am a badass ninja!
The last bit of wear would be my MEC Watchtower Pants.  They're actually the 2013 version I bought on clearance.  It seemed like a great layer to use as an alternative to my usual thermal tights.  I would be wearing them with my Drencher pants to see if I ended up sweating a lot.  For a shirt and jacket I went with a very thin polyester shirt and my red rain coat.  The idea was using less insulating base layers so maybe I could be waterproof on the outside and sweat proof on the inside.

I started my quick noon ride.  The goggles turned out to be just what I was looking for.  They didn't fog up regardless of my activity level and they were very comfortable on my face.  In addition the wide band ends up insulating your ears a bit.  The lenses can also be changed out for new ones that block out various spectrum.  The only big downside is it did not play friendly with my cheap head lamps.  Not a fault of the goggles though; I should be using a bicycle helmet friendly headlamp. 

The mask was very easy to breath through but the material turned out to be very warm.  I ended up pulling it down into a scarf shape a few minutes. after I started riding.  At my halfway point I just removed the mask entirely and pocketed it.  I still believe this mask is going to be a great asset when it gets substantially colder.  Right now it is simply too warm.

My new layering idea didn't quite work.  Even for a short ride I found I was getting entirely too warm.  I think I need a windproof jacket that has a bit of breath-ability.  And perhaps some tights with built in water resistance.

The evening brought lower visibility and colder temperatures.  But I wasn't going to try the same layers.  Instead I'd be wearing a MEC Ardent Jersey with the MEC Watchman pants.  There was no snow so water resistance wasn't necessary.  Because of this I skipped out on the eye-wear portion entirely.

As I headed off to check out the MUP, I noticed that I was at the perfect temperature; not too hot and not too cold.  It looks like the combination was a good one.  The tires themselves did an amazing job of sticking to the ground.  My rear tire slipped at a couple of very icy areas but I was able to keep the bike upright without putting a foot on the ground.

Since it was a bit easier to see tonight, I noticed others taking notice of me.  Pedestrians looked at me like I was simply from another planet.  Cars and trucks made sure to drive slowly and cautiously around me.  Since winter biking is new in town I can forgive them if they thought I was an escaped mental patient.

Through both rides I didn't have a single problem with chain slippage.  I stuck to just spinning at a lower intensity and I think that is what did the trick.  I will talk to my bike mechanic and find out if we can narrow the problem further.  I don't want this bike breaking down on me in the middle of nowhere.

Stay tuned for more winter fun!

1 comment:

  1. I'm giving much consideration to the Robot Ninja face cover thing.