The 10 Sartorial Steps to Winter Biking
There are 10 sartorial steps in the transition from summer biking to winter biking. Each one is necessary but a drag.
You start out, free and easy, some time in August, in shorts and a short-sleeved biking shirt. Wheee! To be honest, there aren't many Seattle days, or nights anyway, that allow just that. But let's start out that way--the way you start out with only underwear on the dress-up refrigerator magnet. Then, bit by bit, week by week, you add, with approximate temperatures in parentheses, the following:
- Long-sleeved biking shirt (60s)
- Biking jacket (high 50s)
- Slicks or long biking pants (50)
- Zip-up, woolish jersey for underneath jacket (high 40s)
- Long gloves to replace the fingerless kind (45)
- Cap for underneath helmet (low 40s)
- Long-johns beneath slicks (35)
- Thicker gloves (30)
- Fleece vest (25)
- Scarf (15)
I've never done the scarf in Seattle, only in Minneapolis. Last week I added the long-johns, Monday the thicker gloves. Each layer is a drag, a kind of mummification. The worst for me is the beneath-helmet cap. I hate that.
So in real terms and in biking-clothes terms I've about reached my winter solstice, which is itself a kind of relief, a Lennonesque rejoinder to the McCartneyesque optimism of “Gettin' Better”: Can't get much worse. I now look forward to the true joy of shedding each layer as the light returns and the weather warms.