Saturday, October 18, 2008

Many years ago I read an article (that I attribute to Davis Phinney, but it may have been Alex Stieda) which included this advice: "Under 65 degrees, cover your knees." There isn't a lot of fat or blood to help ward off the cold and wind, and you really want the knees working smoothly. Over the years, while generally adhering to this maxim, I have modified it to the extent that if the sun is out, go lower, and if there isn't any wind or if only a slight warm wind, go lower. Naturally, we are talking about training rides or social rides, and by "go lower" I mean maybe 5 degrees. That is where we get to 60 degrees. Yesterday was 60 degrees, cloudy (like, absolutely no sun peeking through), and a slight north (ie, chilly) wind. So, the debate began. Finally, I decided against tights because I was doing hill climbing (eight steep climbs in 19 miles) and would eventually warm up, but went with arm warmers. The arm warmers were to keep me from getting chilled during the first fifteen minutes. Everything went as expected and I had a good practice. For the record, the big climb this day (Courtyard if you know Austin) is about a half mile long, has three ramps of about 16% and the last one at 23% (my gps goes from 22% to 24%) and the numbers don't really matter, it is a steep climb. Anyhow, my knees survived. The moral of today: cycling is more enjoyable when you are comfortably and properly dressed. BTW, unless peer pressure is unbearable, I will stay indoors (on my bike) under 40 degrees.


  1. I think 60 degress is pretty warm and would not consider purring on arm or leg warmers in such temperatures. That being said, if it is windy or raining, then 60 degress can get pretty cold and miserable. In most cases though, I don't put on extra clothes until my hands or legs start turning blue. In most cases, you start off cold and then warm up after just a couple minutes, so the extra clothes typically come off after just a few minutes anyway.

  2. Darren, My friend, Byran, has similar disregard for cold. If you have time, check out his blog entries. I couldn't find the one where he rode back from the airport at some late hour, in the freezing rain, and getting his beard iced up, but a lot of his entries due with cold.

  3. 60 is as low as I go - but requires husband (who would never join me, mind you) to push me out the door. I would prefer to not cycle below 70 deg. My leg and arm warmers do a great job, but you can't stop the cold wind in your eyes or nose. Thank goodness the weather here in Austin is temperate.