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Frankly, I give a damn.

November 18, 2010

No broken ribs, please!

I bike, because it’s convenient and fun and helps me burn the guilty calories when I, say, eat half a batch of cookie dough in one sitting.

The trouble is, biking doesn’t seem convenient or fun lately.

For one thing, winter has come to the Front Range. I’m not sure why this makes me want to bike less. I biked all winter in D.C., where traffic is heavier and precipitation more frequent. While Denver temps dip lower than those in our nation’s capital, the drier climate, more prevalent bike lanes, and kinder motorists should be enough to get me out riding.

Actually, I don’t think riding in the cold is actually that uncomfortable.

In fact, apart from the first few minutes of shivering and the perpetual running nose, the cool, fresh air in your lungs is a good deal more enjoyable than the stifling sweatiness of summer riding. I think it’s the preparation that gets to me. The thought of putting on hat, gloves, scarf, helmet, and a thicker pair of socks just to go to the grocery store has left me eating cereal for dinner more than once since the weather turned.

I don’t need a car. I need a personal dressing attendant, like Scarlett O’Hara.

She’d tell me to put my hands in the air, and then slip a thermal underwear shirt over my head. Then, she’d help me into a fleece jacket and zip it for me. Instead of cinching my girdle, she’d cinch the strap on my helmet over my stocking cap. She’d hold my gloves for me while I slid my hands in and then pull my sleeves over the top of them, so they won’t creep up en route, leaving a forearm exposed to the elements.

She’d check to make sure I had both front and back lights in my bag—in case I didn’t make it home before daylight-savings nightfall—and toss in an extra face-warmer before hoisting it over my head and adjust the shoulder strap to the perfect spot where it won’t move , chafe, or choke. Just before I closed the door behind me, she’d apply my SPF 15 chapstick and offer me a pair of sunglasses. Then, she’d unlock my bike and carry it to the curb for me while I waddled down the stairs.

Considering that I am not an antebellum southern belle, perhaps I need to streamline my system for self-winterization.  Any suggestions?


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicole permalink
    November 18, 2010 5:52 pm

    While I don’t have suggestions- I do have the same problems! Lately, I’ve wanted to wear tall boots, cashmere sweaters, cute wool coats…but then I remember that I have a bike ride later and have to wear thick socks (so my boots don’t fit anymore), a breathable shirt, a rain-proof jacket, plus extra tissues in my pocket. I’ve also forgotten my front and back lights twice! I wish we all had a little pack of everything we needed, sitting by the door all ready for us to grab and go get into that fresh, crisp air!

  2. pawl permalink
    November 20, 2010 12:40 am

    As you know, I hate pants. I hate rain pants even more. They’re even more constricting and warmer than regular pants. And they leave a gap a few inches big around my ankle.
    Then I discovered Gaitors. While gaitors are design to protect from foliage and stuff getting in your shoes while hiking, I found these to be quite useful for filling the gap. However, the suiting up process involved putting on rain pants, rolling up legs of rain pants, putting on boots, putting on gaitors, rolling down pants. This doesn’t sound so involved when I type this out, but I realized that the thing that seems so involved is when taking the boots on and off when suiting up and unsuiting.
    Then I found the holy grail. Rain Chaps. I tried fashioning my own pair, but yeah, conceptually they worked. So I went back to the place where I found them and found an even better pair, they were almost $60, but they have been one of my favorite purchases I have ever made.
    They buckle and strap on. And the gaitors go on over the boot. So there is no putting on and taking off and putting on and taking off of the boots just some hooks, buckles & velcro and viola.
    It’s pretty rainy here in pdx already, they’re even talking snow next week (thanks el la niño/a), so I have to coordinate my rain coats. They’re not 100% rain proof, so they get wet after a couple mile ride, and then they take a while to dry unless hung over an air/heating vent. So that’s the tricky part.
    I would suggest getting a system down, so you don’t have to pay much mind to it. So the more efficient the better.
    Also, I have resigned the guilt I get for not biking as much this time of year. This is also generally when I start putting on my winter weight. So I will actually start running more. A half hour in the rain for some reason doesn’t seem as bad as biking in the rain for a half hour. Plus I can just come home, shower and put on nice clean dry clothes.

  3. avaerewyck permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:26 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Nicole! You’re right that the suiting-up process can not only be a pain, it can ruin an outfit. I’d love to hear more from you about cycling in NYC. Maybe you could do a guest post some time!

    Hey Pawl – Rain chaps?! Genius! At the risk of bragging, they might not be worth the investment here in sunny Denver. Nevertheless, I’m going to do a little research to learn more about them. Thanks for the tip!


  1. ‘Tis the season to buy rain chaps. « No Car Go

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