Thursday, March 11, 2010

What to wear...what to wear...

I saw a cyclist earlier this afternoon. He was dressed in a long sleeved t-shirt and long, spandex style shorts. That got me thinking about appropriate cycling clothing.
Typically, we see the cyclist pedalling along the road or pathway wearing things like shorts and t-shirts. After all, whether you ride a bike, a trike, a quadracycle or a unicycle (yes, I've seen a few of them in use), it's pretty hot work. Energy use invariably results in the production of waste heat so it's really important to find ways of adequately dissipating said waste heat. In the case of cyclists, dressing properly for conditions will go a long way towards making any trip enjoyable and, yes, safe. Overheating can be quite dangerous and, for someone like me who has MS, it doesn't always take much heating to turn what should be a fun trip into a not-fun problem.
Yet, this early in the season it generally isn't a problem of overheating that I get concerned about but the opposite...not wearing enough proper cycling clothing.
Sure, the days are getting pleasantly warm. We did a 12 kilometre walk yesterday and actually had to remove our jackets, gloves and tube scarves. At this time of year, it becomes necessary to dress for two seasons. Mornings and evenings are very chilly (there is still some snow on the ground and it is still, technically, winter) but the afternoons are quite warm so the snow won't last much longer.
However, even in the warm afternoons, and even with cycling generating all that heat which our bodies must dissipate, it's still going to be $*#*($%&#$% cold on our faces, hands, arms and legs.
Thus, we may be in shorts and short sleeved t-shirts in a couple of months but, for now, we will still need to wear gloves, jackets, long sweats or cycling pants and a scarf. The relative airflow as we cycle will generate a windchill. Heat is removed from our bodies and we wind up getting quite cold. True, our bodies are still working hard, pumping oxygenated blood to our legs as we pedal our little hearts out, but we cannot generate enough heat to offset the windchill. However, I do not worry too much about such matters; in short order, I'll be having to stop often enough to cool off with the bottle of ice water I bring with me.

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