Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Screw Fashion; It's Cold and Dark Outside

It's been a little chilly here in DC this week. What's a bike commuter to do? Dress wisely. I suppose you could look fashionably in the process but who the heck is going to see you?  With this minimal get up, I was completely comfortable with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s.  Here's what I wore.

A Bell helmet for safety.  On top of the helmet is a Light and Motion Stella light. Stella is light weight and her battery lasts long enough that I can set her on full power for my 90-minute round trip.  On the back of the helmet, I have a Planet Bike red blinky light.  It works just fine as long as I keep fresh AA batteries in it.  Under my helmet I wear an oversized skull cap. The cap is made of wicking material so I don't get sweaty. This keeps the air from the helmet vents from freezing my head off and keeps my body heat from going up the chimney.  It also covers most of my ears.  A dial on the back of the helmet snugs things up so my helmet doesn't flop around.

On my upper body I have a green t-shirt made of similar wicking material.  Over that I have a plain cotton short-sleeve t-shirt. The gray jacket is made for hiking.  It's the Precip model by Marmot and it is nearly waterproof.  It has huge zipper vents that allow my body heat to escape.  I also route the cable from the head light under my jacket, through a vent and into a side pocket where it connects with a battery pack.  It has a hood that I use when it gets down in the 20s or when it rains.

Not shown are my massive full-finger gloves. These extend half way up my forearms and cinch tight to the jacket sleeves. They have four fingers instead of five; the ring finger and pinkie share a finger compartment.  Very warm and also water resistant.  To top it off. the gloves have reflective material on them which comes in handy when signalling turns.

My legs are covered with long black tights over briefs. Both are made of wicking material.  Finally my feet are covered in Smartwool socks and my normal biking shoes. Each sock is wrapped with a reflective strap for more visibility.  My toes were a little cold when I got to work so I think I am going to slip a plastic bag (courtesy of the Washington Posts delivery man) over each foot tomorrow.

My bike has an additional head and tail light.  My Orlieb handlebar bag and rear panniers have big reflective white diamond on them. My Zimbale saddle bag has a reflective patch on it as well.  If you can't see me, you are blind.

I have some more stuff that I wear when it gets colder but I am hoping not to use them for a few more weeks. 

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