“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; … yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”
– Thomas Paine
Mr. Paine was referring to the challenges of revolutionary conflict during the cold months of winter, but I believe his words have some applicability to my cycling situation. For almost every day for the past two months, the high temperature has been below seasonal norms. Today was no different – the forecasted high of 30 degrees is about 15 degrees below normal.
It would have been easy to pack it in, but I believe Paine would have been disappointed in me. So I geared up for the coldest ride of the winter – 26 degrees at the start. I wore my skull cap AND my balaclava. I put on a base layer, mid-level layer, TWO fleece jackets, and a wind breaker. I grabbed two pairs of socks, some plastic wrap, and the shoe covers. I eschewed my full-finger cycling gloves for all-purpose arctic gloves. I knew I was passing into a new realm of cycling when I filled my water bottles with WARM water to delay freezing.
I managed alright everywhere except my feet. I’m going to need to get some more serious insulation for my shoes if I intend to avoid frostbite on these rides. Like everything else in cycling, quality insulated shoe covers don’t come cheaply. Maybe I can find an end-0f-season clearance deal online.
I did see one other cyclist today – my first since January 1st. He was bundled up and puttering along on his hybrid. I have no idea if he was enjoying himself as his entire face was covered with a balaclava. His wave seemed a little jaunty – perhaps he was in good spirits!