Gone are the carefree rides that required no prep. Now we need to arm ourselves against the weather. It's never enough - and Winter isn't even here yet.
Lately the season in NYC has offered one of two lousy choices: ride in the rain in 40-50˚ weather; or ride under clear skies with temperatures in the 30s (and wind chill in the 20s).
As this is my first season as a cyclist dealing with weather, I’m still putting together a wardrobe. Unprepared, I’m sometimes forced to ride Torquemada, my exercise bike.
The thing is, I’m kind of a hard case when it comes to cold because of a condition called “Frost Nip” which I brought on myself as a kid skiing. It sounds cute, but it’s not. It’s kind of like Frost Bite, without the gangrene – and it hurts like hell.
I’ve already suffered on rides where I was not prepared: the Thanksgiving ride with 5 Borough Bike Club was a great experience but my fingers ached with cold (and my toes weren’t much better). So after that, I go to a site called “The Warming Store,” and order battery-heated gloves and socks. Days go by. Finally they arrive.
Just in time for the weather to change.
Now we have temps in the 50s – I can do those – but with cold water coming down in sheets, it’s a whole other challenge. Zen Bikes suggests http://www.endurasport.com, a site which bike messengers use, for rainy day gear. That’s good to know, because slogging for hours as a pedestrian in drenching rain doing Xmas errands, I realize: the bike messengers are better prepared than I am.
And then I begin to wonder: just how much gear am I going to have to buy (and store) before I’m actually able to ride after the month of October? I already have a collection of bikes: one for excursions, one for errands, (and Janet who still has not sold). They say that owning a boat is like having a hole in the water you throw money into. But as my closet shelves sag with riding gear, I’m beginning to think having a boat might have been a cheaper and easier hobby than this. Think of those cute galley kitchens, and those efficient “heads!” And you park that hobby outside your apartment in a marina somewhere – you don’t have to store it at home.
The worst of it is, I used to love Fall and Winter. I loved that the theatre season was starting up, that the music scene was in full swing (no pun). I loved the change in fashions, the change in foliage. I loved the Christmas season, especially the department store windows. I even loved walking in wintery weather.
Now I’m just in a sulk.
This can’t go on. I’m either going to have to make my peace with Winter and continue to ride through it. Or think about becoming a snow bird of some kind for a few months a year. Florida is out for more reasons than I can count (and the rate of bike fatalities there is the highest in the nation), but maybe somewhere in California – or the Carolinas. Just for a couple of months…
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