Wednesday, December 12

Forty Degree Spread

Big Temperature Swings Mean You Lug More Around - No, I Didn't Take Off the Cotton Socks!
Absent things like lightning, "postal mix," and other precipitation events, the toughest weather facing a bicycle commuter is, IMO, really large temperature spreads. A thirty degree spread usually means a big rise through the day. We had two days this week with bigger temperature swings than that. Thirty degree swings often occur in North Texas. 49 in the morning and 80 on the way home.

Still more challenging are those unusual days with a forty degree spread. These bigger swings are less common, but occasionally occur in the winter when a warm front sweeps through shortly after dawn. We're talking 30 degrees on the way to work and 70 on the way home. Those days that are 70 on the way in and 110 on the way home are not so bad - dress lightly both ways, but the gloves and boots that work at 30 are extra luggage at 70.

I find "cold to not cold" to be a bit of a challenge. Perhaps it is mostly because I simply don't want to lug around an extra set of - EVERYTHING.

These Boots Work Great at 30 But are TOO MUCH Above 60


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Yes 30 is quite a swing. Cold snap has been in place over Ohio so only about 10 degrees difference and it's usually dipping back down by the time I head out. Been 20's and 30's so same gear heading home as going in. My commute is a joke at only 1.75 miles one way so barely enough time to get warmed up but the ride still beats scraping ice off the car windows by a long shot.

How far is your commute Steve?

Steve A said...

The current commute is 7miles each way, which is a nice distance. My previous one was 20 which is a long haul to make every day. The biggest problem doing it was the sheer amount of saddle time.

John Romeo Alpha said...

The swings are challenging. The cold/wet front heading in will give me (you too?) a chance to try out the gear for the cold AND wet. Finally!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

7 miles is perfect. That would be about a 30 minute ride for me. Some days I'll zig-zag my way across town to add a little milage if I'm feeling like it. In the heat of summer the shorter commute is nice. If I really go easy I can make it without overheating.

Wow! A 20 miler each day X2 must have kept you in great shape.

Trevor Woodford said...

I could do with a bit of 'cold to not cold' at the moment....getting a bit fed up with having to dress like an eskimo all the time...


Steve A said...

Recumbent - actually, over the long run, that 20 mile commute didn't roll up nearly as many extra miles over the 7 mile one as you'd expect. The irreconcilable time conflicts were frequent compared to very rare.

Trevor - I suspect we are both suffering from "the grass is greener..." syndrome. If I have to dress like an eskimo on the way to work, I've got the stuff and it doesn't seem so bad if I wear it as if I have to take it off and lug it home while having to wear lighter stuff for the ride home - which I lugged in on the cold stretch.

JRA - Cold AND wet!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

That's why layers work so well. For the evening ride, at least one layer is usually carried home in my pannier.

I do however, consistently carry at least four pairs of gloves with me most of the time, and occasionally five. Overkill, I know, but my hands are the part of my body that are most sensitive to temperature changes and if I can keep them happy, I'm happy!

RANTWICK said...

@springfieldcyclist - +1 on the gloves thing. I find that I can do a great deal for my comfort by having the correct (or no) gloves on.

As for you, Steve, I'm with you on the wide spread in temp... not quite as dramatic here, but close recently. No snow. None. Great White North my A**.

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