Monday, February 1, 2016

January riding: not quite freezing saddles

BikeArlington (the Arlington in Virginia not the one where I live) is running a friendly competition called Freezing Saddles.  The point seems to be about getting out riding when you might think that you shouldn't, or your friends who don't ride in the winter think you shouldn't.  I'm not competing since I'm not part of a team (which seems to be important) and because I don't compete except against myself (and I usually win though I sometimes lose) and because I don't really use Strava, which is how they are keeping track of winning. I have a Strava account for checking out other peoples' routes, which I don't do often enough.  But I am keeping track of my rides on a spreadsheet somewhere.  I hear that you get 10 points for every day that you are ride at least a mile and 1 point for each mile you ride.   So for January I have 303 points.  I just checked this Freezing Saddles leaders list and I'm not leading but I'm pretty happy about how much I have been on my bike in January.

Almost all of my rides have been commutes.  I ride about 14 miles each way and I rode to work 11 times in January.  So far I skipped 3 days of bike commuting (it doesn't add up to your work schedule because of a work trip to the desert - no cycling there).  One was that very cold Tuesday morning (1/5/2016) when the morning temperature was 8 degrees.  I was fighting off a cold and I didn't need the added stress.  I was out riding the evening before when it was 17 degrees and very windy so while I wimped out, I was definitely pushing my definition of "fair" weather cycling from riding on sunny and warm days to the continuum: poor, fair, good, very good, excellent.  I also missed a day when I had to pick up the both boys but had to stay late at work before I picked them up (yes, I can get home from work faster by car than bike since I live just far enough out of town).  And I missed a day last week when I was exhausted after a travel day that ended well past midnight (yes, you can call me a wimp - I won't care).

I also went for one road ride.  It was a late afternoon into evening ride with the temperature ranging from 39 at the start to 34 at the end.  I rode in the dark for a while but it seemed pretty safe to do since there was no ice on the road.

But while it was cold on a few days in January, it was hardly a bitter cold month.  I think the local National Weather Service office called it an above normal January.  And today is February 1st and it was a really warm day (I think the afternoon temperature reached 60 degrees), although the temperature started to fall before I left work and the ride home wasn't all that warm.  So I'm sort of competing in the Freezing Saddle competition but the freezing part hasn't been all that appropriate, yet.  February is usually the coldest month in Boston (last year it was the coldest and snowiest month of the winter) so it could be a long month and my 24 points from today might be a big part of my February total.  We'll see.

From NWS Boston:

And now I need to lube my chain.  Nice winter though it's been, my bike is not quite pristine.