• Patrick Gabrion

Layering is a pain!

I know I've probably moaned about this before, but we're approaching the time of year when the clothing list required to go for a ride is pretty darn long. You all know I love to spin my wheels, no matter the temperature, but the pre- and post-pedal requirements are a big pain in the keister. It just takes too long to put — and then take off — all that stuff.


The other day I went out on my Trek Domane road bike. The sun was shining, but it was a little chilly at 28 degrees, with a "feels like" reading of 17 and the wind at 15 miles per hour. When it gets that cold, my cycling computer doesn't even want to work.


All this just to go for a bike ride.

Anyway, here's what I layered upon my body so I could go for a 22-mile cruise, starting at my head and proceeding downward:


— Helmet

— Skullcap

— Balaclava

— Neck gaiter

— Mesh sleeveless base layer

— Short-sleeve jersey

— Long-sleeve thermal jersey

— Light-weight wind vest

— Softshell cycling jacket

— Winter gloves

— Bib cycling shorts

— Light-weight long underwear

— Softshell bib tights

— Heavy-weight socks

— Shoes

— Full-coverage booties


A total of 16 different items just so I could ride my bicycle for an hour and a half. Truth be told, I was actually sweating during most of the ride, which is usually the case.


Just for the heck of it, when I arrived back home I went on my computer and on the Google website typed "How cold is too cold to ride a bike?" While there were plenty of suggestions — hundreds, actually — here's the one that caught my eye: "For some cyclists, riding a bike in any temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit is really cold." So where do I fit in under such an equation? Some would probably put me in the crazy category, and that's OK with me.


The way I view it, is that it's only going to get colder, so I'm better off getting acclimated to the "really cold" conditions. Because I'm not going to stop going for a ride. Just imagine how "balmy" it's going to feel next March!


Can you see me?


Also, this late in the biking season, motorists really aren't expecting to see cyclists on the road. So — you probably guessed it — just like using proper clothing, I'm really into using lights. And with it nearing the holidays, the more the merrier. One on the front of the bike and two flashing-red ones on the back.


I know I keep harping about bike lights, but they make a difference and they save lives. Be safe!

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