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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Chilly Cycling Review

I’ve gone on a few chilly bike rides and I’m starting to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for me. I’m still deciding if Winter Biking is going to be something I manage.

What works

1. Company. It’s a lot easier to ignore the wind and the chill if I’m talking to someone.

2. Nike soccer socks. I went to Chicago Soccer last week and bought three pairs of knee-high soccer socks and the Nike pair rocks hard-core. When I got home from Sunday’s marathon ride, the warmest part of my body were my legs from knee to ankle. The socks stayed up and kept me warm. I tried the Adidas pair yesterday and they didn’t stay up all day.

3. Layering. This isn’t news to anyone, but some long johns under a shirt with a zip up Champion jacket over it and a fleece vest over that has been the best combo yet. Then I just wore a pashmina as a scarf. I also wore yoga pants under my jeans and that helped keep me warm.

What sorta works

1. Gloves. I have some cheapo gloves I bought at CVS the day I brought my bike home. I knew I’d need something on my hands and those were my only option. Gloves definitely work, but I need better gloves.

2. Hat under helmet. I’ve been wearing a soccer beanie under my helmet, but it isn’t doing quite enough for my ears, so I’ll need to step it up to an insulated cycling cap made to fit under a helmet.

3. Gaiter. I got a neck gaiter and tried it out last night (under a pashmina) and it helped, but if I wasn’t careful with my breathing my glasses fogged up.

4. Bi-modal transportation. Yesterday I biked from home to Addison, then took the train in. After work I rode from the west loop to Streeterville for a presentation, then biked up the path to Addison and got on the train. I have to look at bi-modal as a good thing and not feel like a failure because I couldn’t go 9 miles into the wind.

What isn’t working

1. Chuck Taylors. Hello cold toes, so unhappy to meet you. Notice I said that my legs were warm from my ankle to knees, but not my toes. Gotta step it up in the winter shoe department.

2. Overcoat. I decided to try riding in my overcoat, because I read blogs about cycle chic and how you can ride in anything. Can I ride in my overcoat? Yes. Does it become a giant sail for me to battle against a headwind? Yes. Time for a more specialize hip-length coat.

3. Arthritis. People…. I’m 33 and I have the beginnings of arthritis. I can’t even tell you how much this sucks, but I’ve seen the x-rays. While it wasn’t caused my crash, it certainly exacerbated the situation.

4. Staying hydrated. I need to be drinking A LOT more water to stay hydrated during the winter as well as during the summer.

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