If you've ever called yourself a cyclist, you have probably dreamt of riding pro. It doesn't matter whether its the WC Downhill, Crankworks, or the Tour (of California, please don't get me started on the French), you've dreamed of it at some point. Most of us are missing something, a high pain threshold, razor sharp nerves and reflexes, or in most cases, time. The rest of us all have real jobs that get in the way of riding. Which is why I like commuting, it fits into the day. Of course there are always excuses, you woke up late (the one I seem to use the most), you have to run errands after work, or occasionally just plain work itself. I have been in at my job everyday for the past two weeks because it has been a little busy. That being said there were several days when I when home long enough to let the dogs out (or in) and had to head back to work. So today was the first day in a couple of weeks when I piloted my bike in to work.
It was nice. It was -30F, but it was still grand. I also realized something though. I was comfortable. I went on a group ride at the beginning of January and it was -40F. I was comfortable then too. I remember when I started riding I used to tell people you could be comfortable down to -20F and after that it was bearable. If I ever said that to you, I have to take it back. I'd almost like it to hit -60F for just a few days so I can see how my current setup works. I considered that perhaps I had just gotten used to the cold, but when I think about what I wear now, and what I wore when I started out, I know it's the gear.
That being said my next several posts may be about my current gear setup. So I'll also preface them with this. I don't race. I haven't run the Iditasport, or the Susitna 100, or any other multi-day outdoor winter race. However, I have logged a lot of miles commuting and a decent amount of miles on trail rides of generally one to three hours in length in some brutal temperatures. So when I start spounting off about gear, please keep that in mind. I am currently wearing ten lights when I ride. Four headlights and six blinkeys/taillights. I don't recommend it for racing, depending on the trail you're riding, it is probably overkill. But I consider it a necessity for commuting. For most other people I recommend at least one tail and head light, but more is always better. I think I may have reached the tipping point though, I can't honestly justify putting any more lights anywhere. But if you are somewhere out there and find a way to rock it, more power to you.