Week 1 – Day 1 – January 4, 2016

Weather: -12 (with wind chill -25°C), sunny and no precipitation. Bike lanes were well cleared and trail connections were icy but not a problem for the soft 4″ tires.

Consistent Attire: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) rain resistant, breathable mid-length jacket, motorcycle cold weather leather gloves with high gauntlets, MEC thermal barrier tights and winter boots. I typically buy my cycling gear one size too large to allow for me to wear a variety of different layers underneath.

Here is my incredible MEC jacket!  It is fully waterproof, fits over a cycling helmet and is equipped with many reflective strips for night riding.

IMG_20160105_085602

Variable Attire based on the temperature: Thermal sweat wicking long sleeve top and leggings, ultra-light down coat, Bula microfleece balaclava, ski googles, scarf and cycling helmet.

Work Attire: I typically pack the dress and cosmetics I planned to wear at work in my pannier.

The morning ride was very sunny. My glasses and goggles fogged up completely and I had to stop to take them off within 10 minutes of cycling.  My bike seat was 1.5 inches too low so I also stopped at a local car repair location to borrow an Allen wrench to raise the seat.  Thank you to the good folks at Benders Motors in Waterloo for helping me out.  Temperature wise, I was about right.  I worked up a sweat, but not so much that I felt uncomfortable at work.  I did not feel like I needed a shower which is my goal because there is no ladies shower at my workplace.

The bike handled very well on the sections of the trails that had ice and snow and once the seat was raised I could use the full extension of my leg which made a huge difference to my peddling effort.

I store the bike inside at work, so before bringing it inside I flushed the de-railers and chain with fresh (a little bit soapy) warm water to remove the salt from the ride and hopefully reduce rusting.  I used an insulated coffee thermos to transport the water and cleaned the bike on the lawn area outside of my office.

The evening ride was uneventful and I think it was a bit warmer.  It was dark so I used a flashing red light on the back of my bike as well as on the back of my helmet.  My MEC jacket has a reflective strip that I can cross over my body from shoulder to waist.  My MEC thermal tights also have reflective strips on them.  I make sure that none of these reflective surfaces are blocked.  I work under the assumption of see and be seen so I wear reflective arm bands too.

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4 comments

  1. Chris Klein · January 5, 2016

    How far are you cycling? The fat tire bike looks like an appealing winter option, but I’m thinking my 9km commute becomes pretty extra long on a bike like that.

    • dianelfreeman · January 5, 2016

      3.3 km each way, but on Thursday I have a meeting in Guelph and might carpool with my husband then ride from my meeting to his office about 8.3 km.

      Honestly if I was in better “cycling” shape the ride would be much easier. and of course tail winds always help. 🙂

  2. Sylvia · January 7, 2016

    I have the same kind of jacket you have (the MEC mid-length one), and it’s awesome! I find it’s a little heavy for summer use sometimes, but for fall/winter/spring it’s great! 🙂

    • dianelfreeman · January 7, 2016

      I took it to Normandy France in August and what a blessing it was! Like the coast of England, Normandy receives fairly consistent rain. Even in heavy downpours I was 100% dry and comfortable because it is ‘breathable’.

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