Cold Bike Ride Into the Storm

Angry Sky Precedes the Storm.When cold rain stops falling and the sky overhead suddenly turns cold and angry, and wind gusts reach 35 mph, its time for a cold bike ride into the storm. Just a little preparation will enable you to have an entertaining ride that will be a lot more fun than running on the treadmill and doing strength training instead. You’ll benefit from adding more riding days in the winter months when you can withstand the weather – your fitness won’t drop off as much and you’ll keep your exercise routine going.

Getting Ready to Ride

Cold Bike Ride

First, make sure you schedule your ride earlier than normal. If you wait until your usual after-work time, you’ll be facing pickup trucks speeding by in the dark with drivers that cannot see you. The storm will bring clouds dark enough to cut 30 minutes of sunlight from your schedule.

Get your bike ready early – tires pumped, derailleur adjusted. You don’t want to be delayed getting onto the street.
Similarly, start your GPS quickly and put it down outside so you won’t have to wait on satellite tracking to kick in.

Put on lots of layers, more than normal, with soft air-trapping layers beneath slick layers. Some Lubriderm or your favorite skin grease goes on your hands, legs, and face.

After you get your cleats on, toss on an ordinary knit cap. Then, adjust the chin strap on your helmet to allow for the extra space needed for the knit cap. Put your helmet on.

Even though there’s no sun, wear clear goggles to keep the high wind from drying your eyes or blasting your eyes with dust and flying bark chips from the road.

You’re All Set

Now clip your GPS to your bike, close your garage door, and take off into the storm. With the GPS on board, you can justify a shorter ride by glancing at your per-lap time and figuring that you’re keeping up a higher pace and therefore getting the job done faster. You can transfer you laps or route to your laptop later, and use the numbers to plan an extended ride later to “make up” for your short ride in the storm.

When You’re Done Freezing

The gloves only help for a limited period. You won’t be able to sustain a 35-mile ride at 40 degrees or lower ambient temperature with a 20 mph to 35 mph wind because the wind chill is just too great. Your fingers will grow cold first, then your face. Finally, your core temperature will drop to a level that forces you to shiver. That’s when you know it’s time to head home for a hot shower and a bowl of chili.

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