Saturday, February 12, 2011

Made my day: overcoming modal bias

On the way to work this week, there was a car tailing me for a couple blocks. It was still a little icy out, so I was asserting myself into the lane—where it was dry and rideable—and announcing my intentions so there'd be no misunderstandings = so there'd be no accidents.

I stopped for a light, signaled two left-hand turns, and then when we were at a spot that allowed it safely, I slowed and pulled over into the slush so the car could pass.

The driver rolled down his window and shouted at me, Thanks! before continuing on his way. I don't know why, but it really felt as though he wasn't just thanking me for getting out of his way, but for being so careful and communicative.

I wish I had you're welcomed him, or responded at all really, but it surprised me because motorists are so often just annoyed to be behind cyclists. His response really made my day.

I like to imagine that we were each, to the other, surprisingly good representatives of our modes of transportation.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What I Wore

Yesterday morning it was zero degrees outside when I left for work.

Here's what I wore to stay warm.

From the bottom up!


  • Wool socks from Costco. It feels like every third or fifth trip to Costco, I grab a pack of wool socks. You just can't have too many!
  • These knitted blue socks that my partner's grandmother made me a long time ago. They add a layer of insulation but mostly I wear them because my boots are way too big and I need some extra padding when I wear them.
  • My boots. I've had these things since I was a young teenager. My dad brought them home from work one day because one of his coworker's husband died and so now she had all these big shoes, and what was she going do with them! And my dad was like, hey, my kid has big feet. I'll take 'em and give 'em to him. And he did. But these things are enormous even on my size 13s. But they're the best thing I've ever experienced as far as good winter/snow boots go.


  • Tights
  • Jeans

Torso and arms!

  • Two long sleeved cotton t-shirts
  • Cycling jacket. You probably can't see it in the picture, but this jacket is littered with holes and tears. I've worn it daily, year-round, for over three years. It has survived one significant crash and a dozen minor spills. I'm rough on my gear. (Gear ~ body.)


This is my problem area.
  • Smart Wool glove liners
  • These other gloves
I have yet to find a way to keep my hands warm. I have four or five different pairs of gloves—wool and leather, lined and unlined—that I use in different combinations, all to no avail.

What that means is that I can postpone Hand Freeze by riding with one hand behind my back (and no longer exposed to the wind), but that's not always an option because when it's icy and nasty out, I'm keeping both hands on the bars.

After that, I simply have to stop, get off, and warm my hands in my pits/pants. (Your arm pits and your crotch are two of the warmest parts of your body.)

What I have learned recently, though, is that I can keep my hands approximately 90% warmer by pulling my fingers in and wearing them as mittens. It's so much warmer! And it makes me think that I need to seriously consider some good, actual mittens. Or maybe some of those lobster gloves.


  • Two Buffs: one "Original" and one wool.
My Buff, as I've said before, is my all-time, all-purpose favorite cycling accessory. I wear it in warm and cold weather, and don't leave the house without it.

I got a wool one this Christmas, and I really like it. I was surprised by how much longer it is! It hasn't replaced the old one, but I like to keep it on hand. When it's really cold, I usually wear the red one on top of my head, and wear the wool one as a scarf around my neck that I can pull up over my face if I need it.

On one even colder ride last week, I wore a smart wool balaclava under the two buffs, and was plenty warm.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Halest

50 Across: Most robust

The answer to the above crossword clue is HALEST. I had never encountered this word prior to this past Tuesday's New York Times crossword.

A crossword clue database lists other clues for this word: Most fit, In the best shape, Most vigorous, Most strapping, Most hearty, Most sound.

Being a fairly competitive fella, I like this word.

The Rules of the Velominati

I recently stumbled across the Velominati, which is a racing oriented site and home of The Rules. I disagree with and willingly break many of these rules.

Some of them are great though. Consider Rule #9.
If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

I have had plenty of opportunities this week to have my behavior defined by Rule #9 and by that crossword puzzle.

Yeah, it's below zero and I'm biking to work: I'm a halesome badass.