My lovely friend Maggie biked to Grease Rag last night. It was her FIRST winter ride, and she did great! I asked her to share her experience, because it's one of those things that is intimidating and even a little scary to try your first time, but she conquered it! I think we may have a convert...
I went out at night for my very first winter ride on January 17th.
Actually, I've never ridden between October and May before, really. It was 16 degrees out. I know that because I heard them announce the temperature on NPR about halfway through my 5 mile ride.
It was easier than I thought it would be. Way easier. In fact, the only part of me that was even uncomfortable was my hands. They got way cold. People later told me that my gloves were more spring and fall-oriented. Next time, I'll have a liner glove underneath them. But moving my fingers around -- clenching and unclenching my hands -- that helped a lot.
I didn't want to buy stuff for this before I'd ever tried it before, so I borrowed a bunch of my husband's biking gear. I wore a pair of long underpants - top and bottoms. A pair of biking bibs. A shirt on top of that, and a windbreaker jacket. I wore big thick wool socks and my winter snow boots. I wore cycling gloves. I wore a skull cap and a full balaclava that went over my head and the lower half of my face. I also wore goggles. Frankly, I think the goggles were the clincher. I wouldn't have been half as comfortable without them.
A++, would bike again!
At Grease Rag we have a nightly "go-around" where we share our names and answer a question as a way of connecting with each other through something more than bikes. Sometimes the questions are silly and fun, and sometimes they make me stop and think. Last night, we did one of my favorite go-around questions. "What are you proud of?" (The hardest part is not qualifying your pride with, "It's silly, but..." or, "It's no big deal, but...")
I am proud of this group of people that came together on one of the coldest nights of winter so far to get work done and support each other. My heart swelled as we went around the circle and everyone's pride became my own.
What are you proud of? Don't be shy!
Maggie, you should be proud of your first winter biking experience! Done with style and grace. You are a Winter Warrior.