A chilly Sunday morning in Central Texas. My wife and I labored over a jigsaw puzzle we began on Christmas Eve, and had been struggling over ever since. We were still in our robes, cups of coffee at our sides, waiting to get out and ride. But with the temperature at about 40 degrees (4C), we weren’t in a hurry.
Finally, my wife couldn’t take it anymore. “The heck with this — let’s bundle up and ride!” she said.
Forty degrees is my arbitrary low cutoff point for riding. I won’t go if it’s any colder than that. But I have been able to handle 40 in the past without too much trouble, and with little or no wind today, it wouldn’t be bad. I got up from the table and started collecting my biking clothes.
Let’s see — I’d need my nice base layer t-shirt, and my warm long-sleeved jersey. I got into an older pair of biking shorts, but dug my fleecy leg warmers out of the drawer and pulled them on. There are my wool socks, and my headband/ear warmer. I think I’ll find my Headsweats doo-rag too, to protect my noggin from the cold breeze that was bound to pour through the giant vents in my helmet.
Then my wife walked into the bedroom with a full laundry basket. “Let’s fold these and put them away,” she said.
I did a double take. She was the one who wanted to ride, but all the time I had been dressing, she was still working on the jigsaw puzzle.
I grabbed a handful of bike jerseys out of the basket, did a quick fold on each, and stuffed them into the drawer. Then, the tedious of job of sorting out our cycling socks, and fussing over whose pair of arm warmers these are — no, those are yours — they have that little LG logo on the sleeve, remember? Mine are the Pearl Izumi. By this time, I could feel a trickle of sweat roll down the small of my back. My clothes would work well outdoors, but here inside, I was overheating.
Finally done, and I got my cellphone and its baggie, my bike computer and my water bottle, and attached the sleeves to my windbreaker. Then, it was out to the garage, roll the bikes onto the driveway, check the air pressure in the tires of both bikes, and get on my shoes, gloves, and helmet.
As I eased my sunglasses on, a sharp crack! made me jump. One of the temples of my sunglasses had broken in half. Maybe it was the chilly air in the garage, or maybe it was because I wasn’t careful enough slipping them on under the helmet. In any case, as cocooned as I was today, I could still wear the sunglasses and not risk them falling off — the earwarmers would keep them in place.
I straddled my bike in the driveway, and waited for my wife to join me. She went into the garage, retrieved her shoes, gloves, and helmet, and took them back in to the kitchen to put them on in the warmth of the house.
I unstraddled my bike, realizing that my cleat covers were still on. They came off and went into the back pocket of the windbreaker. I got back on the bike again. Time to get into my polypropylene glove liners. They help keep my hands warm under the cold weather golf gloves I use as full-finger gloves when I ride in cold weather. They also add a little padding, because the golf gloves — although they work great on the bike — don’t cushion my hands on the bars as well as gloves designed for the purpose.
Pat was ready now. She hopped on her bike, looked around at the tops of trees starting to sway from a freshening breeze, and exclaimed, “Oooh! It’s colder than I thought it would be!”
But ever the trooper, she clicked into her pedals and set out onto the street. I followed right behind — chilly from the breeze that hit the sheen of perspiration on my face, and that rivulet of moisture still trickling down my back.
Time from her decision to ride to actually turning the pedals: about 30 minutes.