Saturday, January 17, 2009

Frigid Commute

I got up yesterday morning and the frigid temps that had been gripping the rest of the country all week, were now reaching out and touching Southeast VA. It was 17 F and I was seriously considering warming up the truck. Then I remembered a post I read on Commute By Bike highlighting an article in US News and World Report featuring Megan Mason, a bike commuter in Chicago. Megan's commute was summarized as follows:

"On a freezing november morning in Chicago, Megan Mason puts on leggings, several polyester tops and a fleece, a windbreaker, four pairs of gloves, and silk sock liners. She ties a bandana over her head, dons earmuffs, snaps on a helmet, safety-pins a scarf into a cocoon around her head, and gets on her bright green Schwinn for a 6½-mile ride to work."

I figured, if Megan can brave the cold in Chicago, then surely I can in VA. With my new found inspiration I began to dress for success: 2 pair of socks - tights - jeans - t-shirt - button up shirt - long sleeve jersey - wind proof fleece jacket - mittens - balaclava - helmet.

Just before I went out the door, I remembered reading somewhere that vaseline helps to protect the face from the ravaging affects of wind and cold. I searched high and low but couldn't find any in the house. However - I did find a stick of Body Glide, an anti-chafe balm used by athletes. I read on the container that it also "helps protect from drying effects of wind and cold weather". I commenced to smear the balm all over my face. It was at this point that I wondered if my son (an avid runner) had previously used this stick to apply the magical anti-chaffing balm to more strategic locations on his body? There are some questions better left unanswered!!

I rode to work in relative comfort, especially after my appendages froze. Of course upon defrosting, they muttered in protest at their ill treatment. At work, I had to endure my co-workers unsolicited characterization of my state of mind for riding on such a day. The most common ones being - Insane - Crazy - Nuts - Idiot...

Once I got home last evening, with a cold beer in hand, I pondered the days ride with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I learned two valuable things:

1. Don't spread "Body Glide" on my face, unless I was the one who broke the seal.

2. I don't ever want to meet Megan in a dark alley.

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