Filed under: Commuting, DRBC, Events, Gear, How To, Lifestyle
I live in Wisconsin. The weather changes. Duh. Nothing new, it’s everyday. We get melting heat in the hundreds with humidity that you can almost swim through. We get rain and storms that cause flooding (that you literally swim through) and we get cold. This year we seem to be getting plenty of that. Subzero temps have been the norm for weeks now. I seem to be one of a small group that has decided to simply deal with it. This group, by the way, is growing. We don extra layers, mittens, facemasks and goggles. The snow for skiing and snowshoeing is really good, the fat tire bike group has over a dozen riders each week, I see fellow bicycle commuters everyday. The city is doing their normal job on the streets and they are passable. I ride daily and haven’t had to deal with ‘too much snow to ride through’ yet. Outdoors in Wisconsin, in Winter, is still good, add a layer.
I was looking through my calendar and realized how much I do outside in the winter. I have been going out more lately as the temps dropped. Every night for almost a week I was getting home around Midnight. That’s not normal, guess there’s just too much fun stuff to do. Rode to PSB on Wednesday for a free pint, strapped the skis to the bike Thursday for ski night at the golf course, great music downtown Friday and Saturday night, Sunday, skied at the golf course early, then rode to a friends for the Superbowl, snowshoed for a couple hours with them before the game.
I find the key to everyday outdoors is stay warm and have some lighting. The skiers use strap on head lights to light the trail at night. Bikes of course have bike lights and reflective stuff. When the moon is out, snowshoeing by moon light is amazing.
The cold is just cold, use what works. The darkness is defeated by simple cheap lighting. Friendship in the cold grows, the experience together is more intense. Enjoying a hot toddy or coffee afterwards just sounds good. Chatting about ‘the crazy headwind’ or how ‘noisy the snow is at this temperature’ becomes normal conversation.
Don’t be afraid of the cold dark Winter, warm it with activity, friendship and fun. Before you know it, we’ll be swimming through the humidity of Summer…
Added a Google calendar so you can add it to your Google calendar list.
I went for a ride today. There was an annual ride happening and I wanted to check it out. I left the house after putting on the appropriate clothing, stopped to put some bills in the mail and then chose my route to the ride. I arrived early enough to roll down to the local bar/restaurant for a bloody mary and get a banana from the gas station. The ride started on time with 9 of us rolling north into a nice north wind with mostly dry pavement under the tires. We arrived at the end of the road and stopped to chat and grab a picture to record the New Years ride. We rolled down hill with a tailwind most of the way back and each rider pealed off and headed for home as we reached their turns. The last 3 of us went down to two as I decided to stop at the home store to get a couple items for home. While I was wandering the isles a couple of friends called and we decided to meet at the Legion for a drink and food. After a couple Guinness, we headed in our home directions. I arrived home before dark with about 30 miles on the saddle.
Sounds like a typical ride, no big deal, do it all the time. Well, yeah. I do. And I enjoy it even though it was 5°F, I was riding my winter beater fixed-gear 26″ studded tire bike. This thing is no speed machine, but it does take the winter abuse pretty well. It’s geared low, but not that low. The routes to the ride were snow covered and of course half into a Midwest winter north wind. I stopped 3 times throughout the day and each time I had ice on my beard that took me a couple minutes to melt off with my hands. I was the last to arrive at the stopping point on the official ride (half mile behind the ‘peloton’). Normally, I would push the group with my summer fixed gear bike (geared high) and charge up hill with all the challenge it is to mash a big gear up hill, but it is cold out. Sanity rules out and slow is better as sweating makes you cold and the ride back would have been hypothermia for me. Sounds bad. It wasn’t. It was fun. Outside, bicycle, friends and a beer or two. Yeah, it was a good day.
Happy New Year fellow cyclists, get out and ride, any time, any weather. Riding is always good.
Join us in bringing in the new year with Matthew and the Onabike crew at their annual 1-1-1 ride. Departs 1:00 p.m. from the visitors center on Main st. in Onalaska. Distance varies depending on the weather and who shows up. Past ride have varied in distance from 6-32 miles. This will be the 17th year for the ride.
So, the first annual December ride up (and down) Bliss Road has happened. I know more people than us do this (at this time of year), we just decided to make it an official DRBC event. Carrie and I arrived at Bluffside at the same time. Had a beverage and about 5:50 decided to start spinning. We arrived at Alpine at 6:10 feeling like it was kind of a short ride. Had another beverage and diner. Her hubby Scott met us there and we chatted for a while. The ride down was fun and a bit chilly, I headed home for a ‘warm up’ (hot apple cider and brandy).
Carrie rode her mountian bike, lotsa low gears, I think she had two lower than she used. I decided to use the Trek aluminum bike I got for commuting, used the lowest gear. The disk brakes were nice for the downhill. I was amazed at how the skinny high pressure slicks could get through the snow (on the side roads I took to and from the bottom of the hill). We had a great ride, at 30 deg, Bliss was wet (not icy) and a little tailwind, in December!
A little gumption, friends and a reward (beer and a burger for me) go a long way. Hope you can join us next time.