Met a small contingent from the club this morning for our ride. No other B riders showed up, so it was me and seven A’s. They pretty much disappeared by about eight miles into the ride, and I was on my own again. No problem — I enjoy riding by myself.
But I did have to attend to some housekeeping. The temperature when I left the house was a cool 45 degrees (7C). I might have overdressed a little, and by now I was feeling overheated. I stopped in a high school parking lot, and traded my full-finger gloves for my fingerless, and stashed my ear warmers in my jacket pocket. I figured I would shed some more layers when I reached my turnaround point, another six or seven miles down the road.
I really enjoy riding in the kind of weather we had today. It was a beautiful fall day, with bright sunshine and temps on the cool side. It reminded me that the cold weather still has yet to reach Central Texas — but it will. January and February often see winter-like temperatures, even if we rarely get snow.
I started thinking about my northern friends, who have been riding in colder weather than this for some time. I’m from the north myself, although when I lived up there, I wasn’t really a cyclist. I wondered if I would have what it takes to face the kind of cold conditions they regularly deal with.
And that got me wondering — just how cold am I willing to go to get in a ride?
For me, it’s about 40 degrees (4C). Mainly, that’s because the biking clothes I own won’t keep me warm at lower temperatures. I think the coldest it ever was when I started a ride was 38, and that warmed into the 40s fairly quickly.
Thirteen years in Austin’s mild (and ridiculously hot in the summer) climate has had its effect on me. I’m not as cold-tolerant as I used to be. But I’m not the biggest wimp on the block. One of my cycling acquaintances, who has years more riding experience than I do, told me he doesn’t ride when the temperature gets below 55. What?
Meanwhile, a couple of the guys came to this morning’s ride dressed in just base layers, a short-sleeved jersey, and arm warmers. It would have to be in the 60s before I dressed like that.
How about you? Have you started riding in really cold morning temperatures already? How cold does it have to be before you decide to stay indoors? Or do you ride all winter long? And if you do — how do you cope?