Saturday, February 05, 2005

Stripping at the Bus Stop & Warm-Weather Riding

One of the worst things about the cold is the bundling up. The hassle of the layering, strapping, tying, adjusting along with the restricted, heavy bundled feeling wears me down. So this warm spell makes me shed layers. This morning I threw on boots, tights, skirt, tanktop, long sleeve shirt, windbreaker and mittens for the ride. A few blocks from my house I realized that I would be way too warm. I thought about just tying my jacket around my waist, but this wasn't a satisfactory thought. So at the first red-light opportunity I raced to strip down to my tanktop.

Helmet--off and hung on handlebars w/ mittens inside.
SUV next to me beeping--"Fuck You Asshole!"
Shirt, jacket--stuffed in panier.
Good-natured comment from group waiting for bus, "anything else you're going to take off?"
--"I'd like to take off my tights, but the light is changing"
Clips chin straps shut.
Green light.
(Mittens put on while riding)

I love feeling the air on my skin and my hair across my back. Temps in the high 30s are perfect for the tanktop/mitten combo so long as I can ride as fast as I want.

"You're making the rest of us look bad" said another rider alongside me a few blocks later. He was bundled up and even had a scarf around his neck. I didn't know him, but we chatted pleasantly until our paths diverged. I love this bike-commuter highway and the friendliness between bikers.

What I didn't love today was seeing three riders wearing headphones. I completely depend on my hearing to inform me about traffic behind me. It doesn't help that each of these riders didn't seem competent to ride in traffic from my observations. This combination can get them killed. My commute is along a very busy street: Cabs, buses, several highway on/off ramps/complicated intersections--it is not a route to not pay attention. I hope they don't get into accidents, but wearing headphones on this street is just not smart.

I cut out of work just after 5:00--it was still light outside! How absolutely wonderful. I met Todd on the corner by his work to pick up a computer disc and chat about the restaurant. He thought my biking outfit was great and said he even saw a few pair of bare legs riding--delightful. An old man--60ish--walked by and said "you rock girl." Hilarious. Riding to WP a pedestrian cheered "you get 'em, honey" as I beat a bus across the intersection. Apparently exposed skin in winter draws attention. I hope some of these pedestrians consider taking their bikes out this weekend--I know I will.


At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for your recent comments on my site (Oil is for sissies). You are more than welcome to use the grass van pic you found there. I appreciated your recollections of the partial history of that van. Funny stuff, when I picture it in my head.

I had to laugh about the other cyclist you saw who was all bundled up in the scarf, etc. We've had 50 degrees for the past 3 or 4 days here and most of the other riders I see are still clinging to the notion that winter biking means heavy polyester/nylon/down winter coats and face masks. I prefer to consult a thermometer rather than the calendar when planning my daily wardrobe (not that much planning really goes into it of course).


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