Now that I’ve finally found a way to institutionalize cycling into my personal routine – through the necessity of commuting to my new job in downtown Washington – I want to institutionalize something else. This “blog” will become a way for me to record and track my cycling experience over time. I’m going to try to remember to jot something down at the end of each commuting week about any cycling I did over the week. I have a general idea of what kinds of things this may include, but to be honest I suppose it could end up being anything.
Not every week is very memorable of course. I anticipate sometimes just writing something very short. But the goal nonetheless will be to write something. With the world being as it currently is, writing about biking is basically the least controversial and frustrating thing I could come up with – even if it ends up going something like “60 miles on the week, decent weather, not much else.”
I’ll start here with the past week, which was something like my fourth or fifth full week of cycling since I started the new job a little over a month ago. I only logged 84 miles out of the potential 105 of commuting, since I had a social event on Friday night. As it turns out, it might (would) have been as fast to bike to said event, between riding the Metro and catching the shuttle home in order to drive my car the rest of the way.
This week was COLD. Thursday was hands down the worst commuting day – both directions, but especially the ride home – that I’ve had since I started. The temperature got down to 18 or 19 with 30mph wind gusts and a sustained wind right to my face for miles. It was downright frigid, and a true test of endurance. It was also a test of my chosen gear, which that night consisted of lobster gloves, a thin compression shirt with built in balaclava, an Infrared vest, and a windbreaker. I tried for the first time wearing merino wool hiking socks under my shoes and covers, which seemed better. The balaclava stayed over my face the entire time and while the getup held tough for the first half of the ride, the sustained wind over the last half started cutting through it. My hands, face, and feet were painfully numb by the time I finally got home. At least I made it.
One thing I learned in the morning, when it was less cold and windy than that night, is that double-layering my gloves is a bad idea. For some reason, my hands got cold faster and took a lot longer to warm up even after I built up some body heat. I think it’s because the extra layer of fabric prevented my body heat from traveling between my fingers. That night, even with the ten degree drop and the wind, the lobster gloves by themselves was a warmer choice.