Friday, January 29, 2010

Ah, Now That's The Stuff

I have long known that I am a Weather Junkie. One of my good friends and I often half-joke about becoming storm chasers in our retirement. I love wild weather and the times I love it most are when I'm on the bike, whether it be winter or summer.

Yesterday morning's ride in to work was the kind of winter riding I live for. It was fairly cold (-10 C), snowing, very windy (like push you around windy) and the streets had just a little snow and almost no ice on them. I could enjoy the wild weather with very little fear of slipping or sliding. Anyway, here's a video:

Riding in such weather always results in strings of questions from my co-workers. In case any of my readers have similar questions, here they are, with my usual answers:

Q: Are You Insane?

A: No! Well, yes. No. Wait, wait! Stop that! Woof! Grrr! Shut up! SHUT UP! (sorry, not you...)

Q: Don't you get cold?

A: Not at all. When you're working on the bike it is easy to stay warm, in fact a little too easy.

Q: But what about your face in that wind?

A: I wear a balaclava, ski goggles and my helmet. My face, ears and eyes are all toasty warm. I don't even wear the balaclava over my face most days.

Q: What if you slip and fall?

A: Believe it or not, I am way less likely to slip on ice while riding on my studded tires than when I am on foot, or in my car for that matter. On some snow, when I am not sure of my control, I stop riding when cars are anywhere near me.

Q: But what about the cars in general?

A: I have been riding with cars in the street for years. I know how to do it safely.

Q: Yeah, but do they?

A: Part of doing it safely is accounting for the possible actions of unskilled drivers and/or morons. It is something that can be done, winter or summer, and that any cyclist can learn.

Q: well, actually TS: (for testy statement) - There should be a law against riding your bike on the street in winter. It just isn't safe.

A: When did you last ride a bike in the street, let alone in winter? Get back to me when you've ridden to work and back every single day for three (or is it four?) winters without a scratch or even a close call with a car. Until then, I think I'll decide for myself on that safety thing.

Please note that this answer only ever happens after a discussion escalates to the point that I'm really getting ticked off.

Q: Don't you feel like a goof in that stupid outfit?

A: I used to but I just don't seem to care any more. Does that mean I have gained confidence? Or am I just old and ugly and happily married enough to know that how I look doesn't really matter? Is that in itself confidence, or just the words of a man too lazy to bother trying any more? Am I telling myself...

That was starting to turn into a therapy session. More on this in a future post perhaps.

Well, that's it for now I think. As always, thanks for reading.

Wishing you your favourite riding weather, I remain:

Yer Pal,



Steve A said...

It's not how you look when riding, it's how you look when you give Mrs Rantwick that big "I'm Home Honey" smooch.

Tell that TS guy to go drive on a freeway. He can be in Manitoba in no time. A corollary to the smooth pavement chant: "Regular Roads are for Regular People."

jeff said...

I moved from North Dakota to Kansas 22 years ago. If I live long enough I should reach the equator.

Rollz said...

How was your ride home that day. For me at 3pm the wind had turned as was from the west and it kicked my butt.

Anonymous said...

Q: Don't you feel like a goof in that stupid outfit?

Every once in awhile someone "stops to chat" when I get to work. I am just putting my bike in its usual spot when they pop their head in the door. Still sweating from my ride, they begin the conversation without regard to the fact that I may want to change before my work day begins.

Then I had a thought. This is why cyclist wear bike shorts with lots of padding. It's an instant conversation inhibitor.

Stupid winter outfits help apathetic winter drivers take notice.

Great Q and A.

RANTWICK said...

Rollz - The ride home was brutal. I had to wear the full face mask for the first time this year, and I think I could have walked (jogged?) about as fast.

RANTWICK said...

Hey, thanks Anon. That happens to me too all the time.

Big Oak said...

Great video and post. We had heavy snow squalls the last two days with high winds also. I thought about whether you would commute in such conditions as I drove my truck to work and back. That answers my question.

Stay safe!

Apertome said...

Great video! I, too, really enjoy riding in various weather conditions.


Snow is almost always good, cold rain can be a bummer though.

Doohickie said...

Agreement with everyone else.

One comment though: I had NO IDEA studded tires were so noisy!


Doohickie said...

Wow, this is an awesome captcha; it needs its own comment:


RANTWICK said...

Big Oak - Oh yeah, I really enjoy the challenge of riding no matter what. Even the miserable stuff feels good when you're done.

Apertome - Cold rain is way worse than snow and wind, by a long shot, I agree.

Doohickie - The studs actually only make a light crackling noise like rice crispies. The tire tread noise in the video is because I ride with tires at quite low pressure in winter. It helps some in bad snow, and I'm too lazy to change my tire pressure to match conditions day to day.

Long comment replies make my undegena hurt...

GreenComotion said...

Goofy outfits are fun! I love wearing my balaclava when it is freezing-donkey cold!! You go, Rantwick!!

Peace :)

CarFree Stupidity said...

Until yesterday I hadn't had anyone caution me about my consistent cycling this winter. People have asked questions and friends have given me shit... but no one had tried to tell there was a better way to get around in the winter.

That is until my neighbor and I were talking in the morning as I stepped out the door to campus. She said she admired my commitment to reducing my carbon footprint... but that there were a lot of stupid drivers out there and that what I was doing was dangerous.

Of course I just brushed it off, she had also told me she had just been laid-off, so I couldn't help but think that "Well, there is one less motorist I have to worry about."

Adventure Monkey said...

Wow, and I thought I was tough riding in KS in the snow at -3ºF!

RANTWICK said...

Adventure Monkey - Hey, thanks for visiting! -3F is close to -20 C. My personal cold record is somewhere around -23 C, so you're every bit as tough (read: odd) as I am.

RANTWICK said...

Carfree - Yeah, the "stupid drivers" thing is very common... but laid off? That's cold, man.

CarFree Stupidity said...

I know... I'm an asshole.
Not to brag... but I think I have y'all beat. I rode in -8F this winter, which is between -22 and -23 Celsius. And I must say that it really wasn't enjoyable and the reason I went out and bought $60 super insulated gloves.

RANTWICK said...

CFS - You're no a-hole... that ties my personal coldest! I did, however, enjoy that ride too, god help me.

I know there are riders here in Canada in places like Winnipeg and Calgary who would scoff at our tepid "records". Now I find myself wishing for a nice -30 C day just so I can feel like a big man.

Post a Comment