Car Less Ohio

Promoting the bicycling lifestyle in The Buckeye State

Winter Bike Commuting Lesson of the Day

This morning’s forecast called for a high today of 29 degrees, and a low of 5. I decided to ride to work after taking much abuse from fellow commuters for skipping out from riding on Monday. The temp was about 32 degrees when I left home, so the day started out even better than I expected.

Even with very little active precipitation, it was a pretty slushy day, with the weekend snow sitting around on the verge of melting. My feet ended up pretty soaked by the end of my 14-mile ride, but my wool ski socks still kept them relatively warm.

I laid out all of my damp clothes at work, and everything pretty much dried out during the day, except for those socks. I had taken a spare pair of light quarter-length socks to wear around work during the day, but I figured those would not be enough to venture out in for the ride home. So, I pulled on my still-soaked ski socks, put on all the rest of my layers, and headed out. It was about 22 degrees out, so again I thought I was going to be better off than expected.

I would have been better off with the lighter, but drier all-day socks. My feet were chilled within the first mile. When I got home, I could barely walk. They weren’t so much numb from the cold, but in throbbing pain. I remarked, “The good news is that if I can still feel them, I don’t have frostbite.” It turns out, that probably wasn’t the best thing to say to calm my significant other’s concerns about this whole night/winter cycling concept. I spent a few minutes on the couch with my feet wrapped in a blanket, and they are fine.

So, the lesson is: pack a spare pair of warm, dry socks for the ride home.

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