walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Warming Trend!

Today the high was around 36 F (a balmy 2.7 C!). In many years, this might have counted as a down-right chilly day to most Louisvillians — but instead, thanks to the cold snap of the past couple of weeks, I saw more bikes out today than I've seen in ages.

Though I grew up in the northeast, where winters tend to be rather colder than they are here, and where we define 'spring' as (more or less) 'whenever the temperature climbs above freezing consistently' and 'summer' as 'any time that it's over 60 F at least most of the time), I nonetheless never fail to be surprised at how well the human body adapts to the cold.

Not that long ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of wearing my 'cycling' gloves (the ones that say 'Craftsman' on them) without something underneath — stretchy knit gloves, silk liners, whatever — if the high was 2.7 C. Today I wore them happily all day, and wound up having to take off the hoodie that I was wearing as a mid-layer (I promptly left it at the shop). As I took off my shoes I briefly wondered whether and when I'd stepped in a puddle, then realized that my shoes themselves weren't damp -- just my socks. So was my helmet liner (I gave serious thought to removing it, but never quite remembered to do so). In fact, I spent the whole day sweating up a storm.

I absolutely love this weather, once I'm used to it. It's cool and comfortable and one can ride for hours and hours without risk of heat exhaustion (or, at least, one has the option of removing a layer before that risk sets in). The road bike seems to enjoy it as well, though I suppose it could just be all the extra baths and tuning and lubricant and fussing and attention. I think my road bike is actually a bit of a princess ;)

I'm afraid that by admitting to the world how comfortable it is to ride in these conditions once you're used to them, I'm going to screw up that hard-man mystique that those of us who ride in winder acquire. Fortunately, I have very little influence in the world at large, so we're probably safe for now.

I don't really have anything else useful to say.

Oh, yeah: here's my long-awaited product review.

Finish Line Bike Wash:

Buy it. It works. You can cut it with water and use one bottle for like a hundred years. It's like Fantastik for your bike, and really, really comes in handy in the winter. It is officially Quicksilver approved.

You can probably achieve the same results with something whipped up at home, but I haven't had quite as much time for internet research as usual of late :) If anyone wants to send me their personal home-brewed bike cleaner recipe, I will whip some up, test it, and write a product review of that.

Also, it's hot pink, so the bottle will go with your ironic hot pink shoe covers.

Speaking of irony, I just realized it's kind of ironic that when I named my road bike Quicksilver I was quite adamant that it had NOTHING to do with the famous bike-courier movie, and here I am using that particular bike for courier-ing.

Go figure.


  1. I agree, riding in cool/cold temps can be wonderful!

    I'm amazed, frankly, that you're still riding a road bike with standard road tires. I've been running studded tires for weeks now and I need them, at some point, pretty much every ride. Or at least, I'm glad to have them. I love snow, but I am missing the fast road bike big-time!

    I'll have to check out the Finish Line bike wash. A lot of people seem to love Simple Green, but I haven't had great results with it. My usual bike cleaner is regular Dawn dish soap. Mix with warm-to-hot water, and wash. Works great! If you did your own test/review, that'd be awesome.

  2. Temperatures in the mid-20s to mid-30s is quite comfortable once you adjust. Teens are possible. Single-digits are just plain mean!

    Bike wash? I'll wash my LHT in the spring. I clean and lube the chain at least once a week though.

  3. I ran out of bike wash but had this huge jug of car wash detergent, which seems to also get the job done. I mix it with hot water and it get squeaky clean. On the rare occasions when I actually wash a bike, compared to just wiping it down, which I do much more often.

  4. Apertome suggested trying Dawn with warm water -- I'll give that a whirl! It sounds like a good option; inexpensive and not too tough on the finish.

    I am indeed still running my standard road tires -- they're doing all right, so far. I am rather more careful on the ice than I might otherwise be, though.

    David wrote:
    "Bike wash? I'll wash my LHT in the spring. I clean and lube the chain at least once a week though."

    LOL, sadly, I've become that obsessive roadie guy who spends all his free time out in the garage with a toothbrush (extra-soft) and his beloved bicycle :D I'm absolutely terrified that the salt from the road is going to eat my baby.

    LHTs are awesome bikes, BTW! Also, I like your temperature scale.

    I will try JRA's car wash stuff suggestion as well -- we mix the bike wash stuff with water at the shop, and it seems to work best that way, so it makes sense that car wash detergent would work that way, too. I think we even have some in the garage.

    This gives me a project -- a semi-scientific comparison between Finish Line Super Bike Wash (+ warm water), Dawn + warm water, and car wash stuff + warm water.

    Since I clean my bike ridiculously often (and I need to buy some dish soap anyway), it shouldn't take me terribly long to complete.