Luke, I Am Your Father

Suitable for robbing banks as well as bike riding

The temperature continues to move closer to freezing, which gave me the opportunity to try out my new Gortex face cover.  This was supposed to solve all the problems I had last winter with my balaclava, namely that it was almost impossible to breathe through that garment.  The face cover had little holes near the mouth and an open space at the bottom of the nose.  As I head out on a 39 degree morning for a short test ride, I was hopeful.

The face cover lasted three miles.

Immediately, I knew there would be problems as my breath was funneled up the mask and onto my sunglasses.  This caused a serious condensation problem, which I found to be particularly annoying because I enjoy seeing things when I ride my bike.

I also had the sensation that the cover was slowly falling off my face.  As you can see from the above Darth Vader pose, the garment only attaches at the back of the neck.  There’s nothing holding it snug against the chin.  This can only be remedied by tightening the fit at the back – really tightening.  And when you do that, it makes it difficult to turn your head (yet another thing I find useful when riding my bike is to turn my head on occasion).

I am happy to report that the holes worked exceedingly well.  I just wish everything else also did.  Perhaps when it is bitterly cold those annoyances won’t be as troublesome.  For now, I’ll keep the face cover in my drawer and manage with a cold nose.


13 thoughts on “Luke, I Am Your Father

  1. With this sort of mask it is helpful to…ummm…purse your lips and exhale forcefully through your mouth. This prevents your breath from escaping upwards inside your mask and fogging your glasses. As you suggest, the temperature has to fall to a certain level before it’s worthwhile going to such lengths to stay warm. There are also various products that your rub on your glasses to prevent them from fogging. I haven’t tried them.

  2. Thanks, Steve, for fearlessly going where I haven’t yet. You are road-testing things that I have thought about but haven’t done yet, and about which I had serious questions. This is Public Service Blogging at its best!
    PS Where’d you get your jacket?

    • It’s just a standard sport coat I bought at Khols. Nothing fancy or cycling specific. It breathes pretty well and it’s what I reach for when my cycling vest isn’t enough warmth. I just add layers underneath the jacket as required.

  3. Misting your glasses is a perennial problem in cold weather even without face masks. I have discarded mine and use the ski mask in the present chilly weather but I can still see out of one eye. I like the idea of being able to turn your head. I haven’t tried that for many a year.

    Spectacle demisting stuff does work. A skier of my acquaintance says that dish washing liquid works a treat and is cheaper.

    • I’ve heard the same advice on dishwashing liquid. Perhaps I’ve try that the next time I break out the face cover. Too bad about not being able to turn your neck. I suppose there are worse things to lose function with!

  4. Yeah, it’s tough to find something that works reasonably well for cycling. I find that keeping my nose exposed is generally the best way to keep from fogging my glasses. When it’s really cold, I’ll sometimes forget the glasses altogether or use ski goggles.

  5. Brilliant, though slightly disturbing, photo of you Steve! I am in the market for a full-face balaclava as the weather here in Montreal has now reached the -8c mark (we’re about two to three weeks behind schedule, but it finally got here). I went out yesterday with my face exposed and it was very tough for the first five kms or so. Only after my face had frozen and all sensation gone was I able to enjoy the ride properly! I suppose there is nothing that one can do about the “hapless bank robber” look. It just goes with the territory!

    • You’re setting yourself up for some frostbite if you don’t cover up exposed skin at those temps. It should be that hard to find a balaclava in your city. If not, try to rig something up with a couple tuques!

  6. Hey! I just saw your odometer reading–congratulations! You’ve inspired me to set a goal and see how well I do (next year). Again–congratulations!!


    • Thanks. It wasn’t a great day but I wanted to get the mark with a quality ride, not some 5-miler through the neighborhood one night. I banged out a 37 mile ride, which was about all I was prepared for on this cold and windy day!

  7. First off, kudos on the 3K mark! Of course we are still young enough to want to do better next year… aren’t we??

    Now to your headgear. I’d know you anywhere. In fact, wasn’t that you on the news last night? Maybe?

    For my headgear my eyesight is still good so that I can skip the glasses with the balaclava and thereby avoid the fogging problem. It still has a small condensation problem around the mouth, but the commute is only about 5-6 miles so I can put up with it. Neck turning though is a must.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s