Friday, January 23, 2009

From ice to insects in 9 hours flat

Yesterday morning, I was pleased to ride on mostly dry roads at 28 F. Turning right at a stop sign from a side street onto Payne Street, I needed to swing wide to avoid a thick patch of ice that seemed to come from melted and refrozen snow in an on-street parking space. Other than that, nothing interrupted a pleasant ride to the office.

The temperature rose to 53 F during the sunny day, giving a welcome respite to the many folks here who suffer in cold weather. At 6 PM, unlocking my bicycle outdoors after a stop in St. Matthews, I saw something unexpected: a swarm of insects slightly bigger than gnats flying around a bush. These little critters were getting a jump on spring. With the temperature staying above freezing last night, perhaps they will survive until it drops back into the 20s tonight or tomorrow night. I was startled to leave home yesterday morning in the winter and return home last night in the spring!

We still have nearly 2 months of winter ahead of us, and inevitably many swings of weather. As the cyclists commenting on my preceding post noted, it takes trial and error to find clothing that allows comfortable riding in a given set of weather conditions. Each of us has different, and even changing, needs. My cold-weather commuting works in part because of the relatively short distance and time: 5 miles or under 25 minutes each way. Longer rides can pose greater challenges and dangers if you find yourself under-dressed before arriving. If you choose to try riding in colder weather, try it gradually on days off when you can head home or stop in a warm place if you find yourself getting uncomfortably cold. I see no point in arriving at work with frostbite!

1 comment:

Freedom Bikes said...

Barry,

I saw this on a bicycling forum. Any truth to this?

"A lot of forward thinking bike communities ( L'ville, KY for instance) totally advocate running reds/stops safely and have quantifiable data as to why it is safer to do so. "