Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A ride in ± 32C

During the last year I have biked in ± 32C. Ever since I started this blog I wanted to write that, and now it's true.

In the summer, we had a few really hot days: +32C. In a country where we consider +25C a heat wave, that was really something exceptional. It was so hot and humid that I was sweating while cycling! The windchill was not enough to keep me cool. It was horrible, I say! :-)

Well, now we're having a cold week. The forecast says the highest temperatures will about -20C and the lowest will be well below -30C. Very good weather for freezing food out in the balcony before putting it in the freezer, or putting the bed clothes out to get some fresh air and kill any bugs in them. Just remember to take them back in a few hours before you want to go to bed.

So today I can make a post about biking in -32C. The weather was not very good for taking breathtaking cycling photos (a metal frame camera is cold on the fingers ), but I did take a few.

Here's a shot from near the front door of a supermarket. The cold weather means people are not spending their time outside unless they need to. So you can see there's only a few cars on the parking lot, a few bikes on the rack and no teenagers loitering about (is that good english?).

But why did I take this picture? Check out what they are selling: ice fishing gear! The lakes and the sea are frozen by now. To get through the half a meter thick ice you need an ice drill. A scoop to clear the hole from slush. Ice fishing rod for the fishing. Ice picks just in case the ice cracks and you fall in to the water. The best ice fishing season is about to begin.

You're looking at my underwear, you pervert!
When I came home I took a picture of what I had worn. Here is two piles of clothing: one for +32C and one for -32C. I'm sure you can guess which is which. Everything I wore is on the piles, except shoes. Shoes were not in the piles because they would have been hard to pile. And it also looks more dramatic this way.

On the -32C pile is:
  • longsleeved underwear
  • longsleeved "middlewear"
  • windproof outerwear. The jacket has a hood.
  • long sleeved leather mittens, with wool mittens inside.
  • a balaclava, a wool hat, a scarf
  • (army boots and socks not shown)
The weak point in my setup is the shoes. The army boots are a little too small to wear thick socks, so I have to do with thin ones. It's my feet that get cold first. With the hood up and the scarf in front of my face, my face is protected from any windchill effects.

My jacket is a new one, and my previous jacket did not have a hood on it. Even though the old jacket was thicker and supposedly warmer, I feel much warmer with the hood up on the new one. There's a lot of heat loss from the neck and head so keeping the head warm helps keeping you warm. I can recommend a jacket with a hood for winter biking. Of course the hood limits the field of vision and could be dangerous if you have cars coming at you from all directions.

I'm fine. It's just that my poor bike freezes... :-(

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