DAY TWO OF THE GREAT MID-WEST FREEZEOUT

I took one look at the TV weather and said to myself “I’m NOT going out in THAT!”   Call me a sissy, but I decided to waited until 10:00 for my bike ride when it would be a few degrees warmer.  Plus, the wind had reduced somewhat from the overnight windchill of more than 50 -degrees below zero.  I tried to think of a way to describe how cold that is to our friends in Australia who are suffering their own weather extremes.  I came up with this:  In the late part of a 44-degree (C) afternoon, place your bare hand on the black asphalt.  That might be the same sensation as the freezing burn you’d feel while touching the steel frame of your bike at -27 (F).

It’s all good in the biking world.  Polar Vortex, Schmolar Schmortex!  I could not wait to get out there and ride in the coldest air we’ve had in 20 years.  All it took was two pairs of heavy socks, boots, long underwear, snow pants, T-shirt, thermal undershirt, hooded sweatshirt, down jacket, mitten liners, mittens, wool cap, and two hoods.  No problem.

I have a few things to say about the video you’ll see below.  1)  My voice is kind of strange, but not as strange as it might sound on the video.  It was muffled by the down-filled flap over my face.  2)  I had to take my right mitten off to start the video.  My phone can’t be activated by a covered finger.  3)  Frostbite can set in at these temperatures in less than 10 minutes.  4)  Seriously cold fingers can occur in less than the ten seconds it takes to press the “start video” button.  5)  You’ll notice the video ran a little longer than I intended because I had trouble taking off my mitten, pulling over, and turning it off.

I think I made it two miles, but I’m not sure.  I don’t know how my Santa Rosa compatriot does it on those really cold days in which he wears much less clothing than I did today.   A true tough guy I guess.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

12 response to "DAY TWO OF THE GREAT MID-WEST FREEZEOUT"

  1. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: January 30, 2019

    Just been watching a TV news item about this “Polar Vortex” and I said to Sue “I wonder if any intrepid cyclist on Cycle365 will give it a go”. And you did, Greg. Thanks.

    I guess I will have to drive south and cycle through the fires now. Oh. Sorry – I can’t – the roads are closed. Thank goodness.

    • By: gregblood Posted: January 31, 2019

      I’m not intrepid–I just can’t resist any opportunity to brag about how I’ll ride my bike in all kinds of weather extremes.

  2. By: Bill Stone Posted: January 30, 2019

    You are the man! A death-defying ride in life-threatening weather. I hope the Feeshko had a hot cup of coffee and a warm muffin waiting for you.

    PS: The layered outfit you describe is exactly what I don for bicycling when the temp here drops below 50 degrees F. 😉

    • By: gregblood Posted: January 31, 2019

      No, the only thing the Feeshko had for me when I got home was a scolding for not telling her what I was up to. She thought I just went out to shovel the snow drifts off the driveway.

  3. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: January 31, 2019

    Wooaah…I don’t think you’d have be a complete nut to go cycling in that cold, but it would sure help. Maybe I could cycle up Gooseberry Hill in 45 celsius…no way, Jose.

  4. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: January 31, 2019

    Dang! I thought about it, but thats all I did!

  5. By: The Navigator Posted: January 31, 2019

    This would be a great time to start the: “I’ll start the new year’s resolution next Monday” mantra 😉

    You have overlooked one small detail about putting your hand down on black asphalt when it is 45.9C – as it was the other week here. You have to avoid all the bits where the bitumen is actually melting and sitting liquid on the surface. I think any extreme sucks for activity. There are only so many clothes you can put on… and only so many you can take off!

  6. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: January 31, 2019

    Hey…you went right through a stop sign.

    • By: gregblood Posted: January 31, 2019

      Oops! You’re right. I do that all the time, of course, but usually I don’t post incriminating on-line videos of it.

  7. By: Seasidejanet Posted: January 31, 2019

    WoW you win again!!! Not sure what you win but you did it…..the ice looks scary to me. Take care.

  8. By: gregblood Posted: January 31, 2019

    I win! I win! Even if we don’t know what I won, it’s always nice to win SOMETHING.

    Ice, snow, cold–they all present some degree of danger, but I am always careful and always prepared.

  9. By: Suzanne Posted: February 3, 2019

    I got so cold just watching the video, I had to go to bed with a hot water bottle!

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