Moses supposes his toeses are frozen peas

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim

–Jim Croce

As a bicyclist, I know all about the spit into the wind bit and its corollary: shoot snot rockets to the leeward side of the bike. Given my experience with bikes and my extensive knowledge of all forms of expectorating from them, you would think that I’d also be familiar with common knowledge about bikes.

You would think so. And you would be wrong.

Because, if I were familiar with said common knowledge, then I would have never written that “I’d rather ride in the cold,” because I would know that writing something like that would be a challenge to the gods of cycling weather. And I would know that they would take up that challenge with a vengance and bring about a cold that I haven’t felt since I lived at an altitude of 6,700 feet.

This morning, when I left for work, according to the innernets, it was 12 degrees, with a windchill bringing the temperature down to -1 degree (all temperatures in Farenheit). This means that the wind was approximately 7 mph, if my reading of the NWS wind chill chart is correct. The innernets were reporting a windspeed of 11 mph, which would have brought the temperature down to -4 degrees. Neither number includes my speed, which as I rode into the wind, would increase the wind chill effect on me. On a windy, bitterly cold day such as today, I’d estimate my speed at 12 mph, which brings the wind chill temperature down to -8 to -10 degrees.

Lovely.

When I was on my bike, these calculations were not at the forefront of my mind. My thoughts revolved around questions such as, “Can I walk if I can’t ever feel my toes again?” and “If I wipe my nose, will my glove stick to my moustache?” and “Do I still have toes?” and “Should I ride faster to increase my exertion, raising my body temperature, or will that just make me freeze faster by increasing the wind chill effect?” and “Did I leave my toes in my other shoes?”

I used to ride in these conditions every day without a problem, but there were several differences, including neoprene shoe covers, dual layers of tights, a four-season parka shell, my youth, and the fact that I hadn’t dared taunt the biking gods. What can I say? Mea culpa. Now, can I have my toes back?

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  • Are you insane? That’s all I have to say. Thank God I’m comfortably sedentary.

  • I would only ride a bike in this weather if I were encased in a pleasant heated plastic bubble, like a big gerbil ball.

    How long does it take you to unfreeze (or thaw, as some might say) when you get to work or home?

  • What is it with this weather? All the insanely cold temps without the snow to play in? My kids are not happy, let me tell you.