03 Mar


WSS6: Clothing (The Layers Breakdown!)


on March 3, 2015   comments 0

What to Wear: How! Why!

These are my notes from a presentation about dressing for winter cycling, shared at the 6th Annual Winter Skill Share 6 (2014). You can read a bit more about the Winter Skill Share here, and more about Casey and Christina’s presentation on clothing options here.


Base Layer (the tightest fitting clothes you'll wear - wear your size or a bit smaller if it's still comfortable)

  • • Moisture wicking ("Under Armor" recommended)
  • • NO COTTON UNDIES - trust those who have suffered before you
  • • Consider modifying tights/pants with tight bands by cutting off ankle cuffs if they are too tight & swapping the waistband for a wider band
  • • Extra base layer options and tips:
    • • "Base hoodie": use a thin, snug, hoodie for the extra layer + the comfortable head/neck/ear coverage
    • • Old Cashmere is awesome!

Warmth Layer (clothes that are your size, that fit you, and you wear comfortably)

  • • All about warmth, fluffy, cozy
  • • Wear shirts that are long in the back to cover the gap betwixt pants/shirt
  • • Extra warmth layer options and tips:
    • • Vests: keep the core warm
    • • "Swants": Reusing large/wool sweaters by cutting off the sleeves and wearing them on your legs!

Outer Layer (these clothing items should be larger than what your clothing size is - too tight is un-com-fort-able)

  • • Coat
    • • wind breaking material
    • • long, to cover the thighs - warning: long jackets can get hung up on the seat
  • • Carhart or snow-pants
  • • Extra warmth layer options and tips:
    • • Go for bright colors - be visible!
    • • Skirt to go over thighs and butt - avoid "ice butt"!


Base Layer

  • • Hoodie up! Get started on the brain layer!
  • • Cowls: neck ring that can be pulled over nose/mouth/ears
    • • easy to make
    • • make sure you can breath easily through the fabric
  • • Baklava (SP or hungry, I can't tell): face/head/ears/neck wrap
  • • Thin/synthetic hat layer
  • • Headbands that are also ear covers

Outer Layer

  • • Ski goggles - YES!
    • • To prevent fogging, make sure they "breath", or tilt them off of face a bit with base layer fabric
    • • To prevent fogging, check out "Cat Crap" (a de-fogging substance, not the literal cat crap)
  • • Helmet
    • • presenter/audience seems to prefer helmets with more vents and hat layers, rather than the full covered helmets... because we get hot when we're pedaling!
    • • Warning: some ski/snowboarding helmets are NOT safe for bicycling - they have different impact ratings/designs
  • • Knitted ear covers that attach to the helmet straps - coming soon to a Grease Rag craft night!


Base Layer

  • • Synthetic/wool, thin, moisture-wicking

Warmth Layer

  • • Thicker, warmer, wool
  • • Lots of info from the audience... ask about brands on the FB page or website/blog

Outer Layer

  • • Boots (Recommended, but pricey: "Mucklucks")
  • • Boot covers (go over pedal clips too!)
  • • Think water proof/protection
  • • Platforms (see note below)


Base Layer

  • • Synthetic/wool, thin, GLOVES (so that you can still use your fingers for little things like adjusting your helmet or (un)locking the bike
  • • Wrist warmers: make this will old/holed socks
  • • Tip:  Carry a pack of hand warmers with you in case of emergency (I.C.E.)!

Outer Layer

  • • Mittens!  BIG Mittens! (Patterns are available online)
  • • Handlebar covers!  (Recommended on a set-up: "45 North")

03 Mar


WSS6: Maintenance and Cleaning with Angie


on March 3, 2015   comments 16

Love your bike thoroughly and often this winter.

This is a session re-cap from Grease Rag’s 6th Annual Winter Skill Share (2014). Too see more about this event, or individual sessions, read the 6th Annual Winter Skill Share Re-Cap here.

There were two big take-homes for me in Angie’s presentation: preparing your bike; and maintaining your bike. Angie explained that no matter how careful you are, riders will have to consider the likeliness that salt, wet, and grime from the roads are sticking to your bike’s insides, and outs. Knowing this, riders can prepare their bike with proper lubrication, and maybe even using a “frame saver” (frame saver is a spray that goes INSIDE the frame for protection).


Angie’s basic instruction for daily care is wiping grime from the chain, the frame, and other easily reached areas. Follow this up by re-lubricating the chain and cables (there are different products to consider for all of this - see handout!). If you can, do both of these things every time you ride. For weekly maintenance, try a little extra care to clean the entire bike, wheel rims, nuts/bolts, and moving parts with “Simple Green” or other bike-care cleaning product. Repeat lubrication! At the end of the season, Angie recommends a full bike overhaul. Hint: excellent Grease Rag project!
Read Angie’s notes about maintenance & cleaning.

A question I hadn’t expected to hear, but was glad I did, was about storing your bike inside vs. outside… which is better?
Both!  However, consider the melting/freezing of water on your ride’s cables and moving parts. If your bike is brought inside and ice thaws, causing water to drip into tight spaces, this could re-freeze when you go back outside. This could easily happen

The best tip for bike cleaning that knocked my socks off?
Toilet bowl brush. A quick brush with a long handle and lots of bristles to get between the tight parts. Thanks to the person who shared this!

About Angie: I've been wrenching and teaching in bike shops in Detroit and the Twin Cities since 2009. When my car was stolen the first year I moved to a new city, I began to ride year-round out of necessity. It was a humbling and empowering experience to get through a winter completely relying on myself and my bike. My presentation demonstrates tools and maintenance methods for you to keep your winter commute rolling through the winter.

09 Feb


Day 9 of Loving Winter 2015


on February 9, 2015   comments 1

I #lovemnwinter!  Today, I love tracks in the snow.

An unexpected snowfall. Took the wrong bike to work this morning. The tires are too slick and I’ll have to walk those four miles home.

On the long, slow, walk home, I can see the signs of our day-to-day in this long, cold winter.


Tracks. You’ve been here too! We’re outside, together. But I don’t hear your complaints about cold. You do not hear mine of discomfort.


It feels strange that you have been here, and left. Not knowing that I’d study your tracks so closely.


They tell your story: the rabbit that changed its mind. I didn’t know. Now, snow reveals it so plainly!


Our paths have been crossing all along. Now, a short legacy of time and place and you and me.

I love tracks in the snow!

20 Oct


Blog Meet Up!


on October 20, 2014   comments 0

Calling all old/new bloggers on the greaserag.org site for a meet up!  Let's put our noodles together and encourage one another to contribute or share our skills and ideas!  At this meet up, we will collaborate and coordinate around the blog as well as walk through the blogging tool (as a refresher or a "how to" for newcomers).

We will meet up THIS WEDNESDAY (22nd) at my home (contact hollysantiago@gmail.com for info), at 7PM - bring your laptop if you have one, but just a notepad works too! I will provide some snacks and beverages and you are welcome to bring something to share.
(If you are unable to attend this meeting but want to set up an account to blog, please contact me directly!)

FYI - here are blogging brainstorm topics from our last meeting.... interesting stuff!
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