Monday, November 19, 2007

Winter Gear Rundown Part 1: The Legs

Staying warm as a year-round cyclist in Iowa is no picnic... unless your idea of a picnic is when the potato salad freezes solid and has to be pried out of the bowl with a chisel. Since I won't be doing the year-round adventure this year, I figured I'd better document what little I've learned before the lyrics to bad 80s songs overwrite that sector of my mental hard drive.

Note for any easily-offended international readers: "Knickers" is the U.S. usage... a difference I learned by doing a Google search for "knickers" at work. Cheeky Brits!

For the legs, I wrap up like so:

  1. Nylon/cotton knickers: OK for short commutes down to about 40F. I just threw these in for people who think 40F is cold. As my knees get more... erm, ahem... "vintage", they like a bit more coverage when the air gets slightly nippy.
  2. Polarfleece knickers... yes, seriously. These started life as long pants, but I hated them in that configuration. On a whim, I lopped off the bottoms, and now I'm in heaven down to about 25F. I continue to be surprised how little my lower legs care about warmth as long as I cover the knees (see "vintage" above). Extra bonus, this time of year, my pasty white calves are so visible, 3M should patent them as Reflecto-Skin.
  3. Foxwear Powershield tights, regular weight. If it's too cold to ride in these, you probably need an axe to chip your tires off the garage floor. Double bonus, Lou (the guy behind Foxwear) is a pleasure to work with. He'll talk you through all the fabric choices, send out cute little swatches for you to fondle, and even do custom tweaks to his stock products without charging you an arm and a leg for the extra arm or leg. Other than those silly "plugged in by Google" ads over to your right (which have earned me a whopping 12 cents so far, almost enough for that new kidney), I try not to shill on this blog, but doggone it, this is an operation that deserves a plug. Foxwear. Yep, Foxwear. Did I mention Foxwear?
Of course, it was a freakish 60F for my commute home today, so take it all with a grain of frame-eating road salt. Maybe global warming will make this post moot?

No comments: