Cold Weather Not Biking

I turned on the TV this morning to start a yoga DVD, and an extended Nassau Bahamas commercial was playing – “The Top 10 Reasons to Visit the Bahamas.” White sands, crystal blue waters, people snorkeling, swimming, kayaking in shorts and tank tops and bathing suits – just what I wanted to see on another cold, cold day. Sigh. Growing up in California, I didn’t understand why East Coasters went to Florida every winter, but it didn’t take me long to figure out once I spent a few winters in New York. After 15 years, I still dislike the cold, and seem to be having a harder time dealing with it this year.

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The “polar vortex” temperature swings are probably not helping. Anything below 32*F makes me unhappy, so waking up and seeing 11*F with a “real feel” of -2 makes me want to cry. I’ve opted against biking in this weather, but that hasn’t worked out so well…. I have a bus that runs 3 blocks from my apartment to mere blocks from my office, direct. It should be easy. And yet, it hasn’t been. Biking to work all the time makes me forget how awful public transportation can be. So here I am, cussing at Metro along with everyone else. It’s hard to promote public transportation right now when missing buses, perpetual problems on the Metro lines, and unprotected (and therefore freezing) bus shelters all result in miserable, cold, delayed commutes to or from work.

Knowing that I dislike being cold, biking in the cold, changing clothes once I get to work, and wearing thermal underwear all day, last month I made a pair of “winter biking chaps.” Made from the sleeves of an XXL polar fleece, and some ripstop nylon, trimmed with reflective grosgrain, these chaps are intended to wear just over my thighs while I bike. They help cut the wind a bit, and keep that part of my leg from being too cold. My winter biking jacket covers them more than I expected, so the reflective trim gets buried under red quilted down, and they admittedly look pretty dorky when I’m standing in the elevator of my office building, but it’s a small concession to cycle chic, just to stay warm.

I made them up as I went along, and I didn’t have the buckles and as much webbing as I wish I’d had for the waist and leg straps, so they don’t look great, but that’s okay. Someday, it will be warm enough again to wear them. You know, maybe in the 30s.

If only I could be as jolly as this snowman...

If only I could be as jolly as this snowman…

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