After spending a week indoors just staring at the bikes, I couldn’t stand it any longer so decided to get outside for some fresh air. I’m not a skier but have been known to run some miles out in the Michigan winters so I do have some winter athletic gear. This week in Michigan has been especially cold, temps have been hovering between 2*-13* F with some nice winds to bring that down further.
What I was most concerned about during this ride was that wind and my face! I bundled up with a wool shirt, 2 moisture wicking shirts and a Brooks running jacket. Added to that a fleece balaclava, wool hat and some running mittens. My feet were protected by 2 pair of wool socks, a thin pair and fat pair with higher loft. The boots were my basic Blundstone leather,which I have found are not very warm without some heavy socks even at your normal cold temps. I should have probably went with a better boot but these are really comfortable and have good traction. For the bottoms, I wore Under Armour Cold Gear leggings under my Zion pants that I wear for climbing. This seemed to work fine, knees were a bit cold but not terrible.
Rosies park isn’t a mountain bike area, it’s more of an all purpose park with baseball fields, a paved walking/riding path and a BMX skills course. I wanted to test out the clothing I chose before taking out the fat tire onto the real trails. The trails are not near my house so I wanted to make sure I was prepared for the cold during biking activities.
Rosie’s also has an ice rink for hockey, in the summer this is the basketball court. I thought about taking the bike onto the ice, but then I came to my senses. It must have been the cabin fever talking there.
Riding in 14* F weather wasn’t as bad as I thought just not fun by any means as the wind freezes any part of your body that is exposed. My main issue were my eyes, they would dry up(or freeze up) when I was at any speed faster than a run pace. I had sunglasses to protect them but with the balaclava covering my mouth, the heat from my breath would fog up the sunglasses. If I removed it from my mouth, the air was too cold to breath in. The mittens worked OK, I would say much better than gloves in the keeping-my-hands-warm department, but giving up some control on the brakes and shifting.
Being my first time really biking in winter, it’s a lot slower pace than summer riding. The slick surfaces really require you to watch for ice and ride more cautious..duh! You are not able to take turns quickly and don’t expect the bike to maneuver fast. I am not sure if it’s the 27.5 or just winter biking in general. We will see when I get the fat bike out there!