Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter cycling

I've finally fulfilled my dream and began cycling to/from work in the wintertime. You've got to do that in order to count as a hard core cyclist. Also, the bicycle is the fastest means of commuting for me. And, in my opinion, the most pleasant one as well. Traveling by bus is ok (or would be, if there was a straight connection), but I hate waiting for buses.

I invested in some winter gear:
- studded tires (Schwalbe Marathon Winter) for my hybrid
- a balaclava (Campagnolo T.G.S)
- winter gloves (Roeckl)
- thermal mid layer underwear (cheap ones).

The tires work great. They roll ok and provide sufficient traction. I realised that I need more traction one morning a couple of weeks ago, when I nearly crashed in an icy curve, at a considerable speed. Also, it's comforting to know that you'll be able to stop, when required, in a reasonably short distance. On the trip from home to work there are some intersections where car drivers usually stop on the bike lane, not before it, before they look if someone's coming.

The balaclava is a must. Last Friday the temperature was about -18 ° C when I cycled home from work, without a problem. The balaclava kept my face, my precious face, all nice and warm. Also, it conceals my identity nicely.

The Roeckl gloves are Windstopper gloves, perhaps suitable for Central European winters, but not really sufficient for temperatures of Finnish winters. However, I love them, because they've got quality imprinted all over them. Well, not literally. Even the packaging is so stylish. There's a long list of all the patented hi-tech techniques used in the manufacture, and even instructions for maintenance in Finnish. For gloves! Can't wait for spring/autumn, these gloves will be in their element then. For now, I got a pair of cheap mittens to wear over the gloves, works great.

As for the thermal underwear, I tend to get cheap ones from sales. I'm not going to get expensive ones for two reasons:
1) the cheap ones work well enough for me (I get hot very easily)
2) the underwear will start to smell very horrible in a very short time anyway.

Unless, the expensive ones don't accumulate smell like the cheap ones? If that were the case, I'd definitely get some expensive ones. Phew. Or, perhaps I should go for woollen ones...

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