Friday, March 13, 2009

Not quite Spring yet...

Well, I dropped my car off at the shop last night thinking how great it was that I had the bike to get to work and could leave my car to do its thing and not have to wait... and then this morning I checked the weather. I knew it wasn't going to be warm, but I didn't realize that 'possibility of flurries' was on the schedule, either.

I learned a few things from this morning's ride, though, so it wasn't *pointless* discomfort.

First, I am really impressed with the Fieldsheer jacket I got in February. There are little annoyances about it, like the neckline cuts into my throat a bit. (If I don't velcro it then the feeling that my head is slowly being severed goes away.) Another velcro issue is that the velcro strip running the length of the zipper attaches itself to the velcro on the sleeves making getting dressed much like trying to get plastic wrap to unstick from itself. (If you're not moving around or are zipped up it's not a problem.) Even so, I'm very happy with the jacket. It was about 34 F on the ride in at 55-65 mph and my torso was still comfortable. I wasn't *warm* like when it was 50 F out last week, but, with just a tank top on, the quilted liner and jacket kept me from being cold. And that's well worth headless plastic-wrestling.

Second, I have begun work on a scientific formula to determine whether one should travel faster and endure the resulting increase in discomfort caused by increased wind chill or reduce speed/windchill, but need more time to arrive at destination. Contemplating an earlier exit off the highway this morning, I chose to continue at max speed and numbness in order to arrive more quickly in front of my office space heater. The idea of being uncomfortable a minute longer than necessary, whether mildly or seriously uncomfortable, seemed a nugatory consideration. Someone really should commission a study and let me know.

I will also share some other discoveries:
A bike with a windshield is warmer than a bike without,
A car in need of an oil change is warmer than a bike with a windshield.
Drumming frostbitten fingers on your grips to increase circulation hurts.
Chaps increase comfort against wind, etc, except where they don't cover.
Legs serve to funnel cold air directly to said unprotected area.
A bike's engine gives off more heat in warm weather than in cold, thus you will not be able to warm your hands at stop lights in the winter, but you can roast marshmallows in the summer.
And, any awe or mystique parking lot bystanders may have upon seeing you riding your bike is immediately quashed if cold muscles and frozen joints cause you to walk funny after dismounting.

Well, I can only hope that we'll get into the 'low 40's' today for the ride home. Let the lessons continue!


Mr. Motorcycle said...

I have a Field Sheer Denim Riding Jacket. I love and hate the same things as you do. I use a safety pin for the little collar flap when I don't want it closed. This opens the neck line up so it doesn't cut into your throat.

I laugh at your study. It's like the gas mileage dilemma. If I go faster, I'll burn more fuel in a shorter amount of time, but get there faster, so will burn fuel for a shorter amount of time. Which really burns more fuel, fast or slow?

The chaps protecting you from the wind, except where you are covered.... Here where I'm from we have a ride in the fall called the Frost Your Nuts Run. Obviously because of the lack of coverage provided by chaps.

jwesterman said...

lol. Yes! That was exactly it, but without the legumes. I'll have to come up with some female equivalent. :) It never did get out of the 30's that day. Aren't you in PA? I saw 60's in the forecast sometime in the next 7 days for our area. :) woohoo! I hope you get out soon! Thanks for the tip about the jacket, I'll give it a shot.

jwesterman said...

Minnesota, Mr. M! eek, I hope you get to get out soon!