Joy in the New Year!

Greetings fabulous ladies and gentlemen!

Yes, it’s been awhile, but I’ve been busy with school all winter. But to quell any doubts, absolutely YES I have been riding all winter long!!

In fact, getting around downtown and the Portland State University campus is easiest on bicycle, hands down. 

Some Fall and Winter cycling musings for 2015:

1.) That Groupon water bottle holder turned out to be an EPIC FAIL!

Totally uncool– and it was just from regular use, too! In the second photo you can see the screw is completely rusted as well, making the contraption nonadjustable, even though the bicycle has been stored indoors every single night!

In other words, I got what I paid for. The original post has now been edited to reflect my DO NOT BUY recommendation.

Thanks to Downtown Bike Gallery, I went ahead and replaced it with a $14 Bontrager flexible BPA-free polymer. The name brand cost nearly twice as much, but honestly, it’s the difference between $8 and $14, and I wouldn’t have wasted the money on the Groupon one if I’d known to just go for a quality brand the first time. (Seriously, that goes for all bicycle gear– invest in good quality, or be prepared to continually plunk down good money for gear that doesn’t function as well or last as long.)

Some photos:

NO allegiance to UW. It’s just a mug! Promise. Go Ducks

 

2.) Thank you PSU Bike Hub for the complimentary seat cover

I wrote in the Fall about the importance of a seat cover, and this cannot be overstated. A pair of jeans on a wet seat is a recipe for some road rash, a malady to be avoided. PSU Bike Hub helped out, putting these on every bike in the area:

See how I’m bringing such enthusiasm?
Some caveats to the seat cover (not to be ungrateful, just to tell everyone about my errors so you all can avoid repeating): 
  • It’s nylon. Whilst it’s coated nylon, it will be effective only in rain of mist to heavy drizzle levels, and even then, only if it’s not raining for long or you’re not leaving your bike outside too long. Once it gets to actual rain, the nylon soaks through pretty quickly and you’re basically back to Square 1.
    • Use a shower cap for this purpose instead!
  • Make sure it is fitted on the saddle correctly before riding! In the 2 times I did not do this, I tore a hole in the front and then made it bigger.
  • Basically this kind of seat cover is for your comfort, providing a layer of somewhat breathable material between you and a potentially sweaty, chafey leather seat. I’m sure you rather the nylon seat cover absorb moisture than your pants, which can chafe and even rip at the seams when wetness weakens the thread.

 

3.) Find a way to moisturize and stay hydrated

Here’s an example of something that happens every winter that I conveniently forget about every year by Spring (until now, since I’m writing it down): Dry skin. If you ride in cool air, you might be getting windburn or at the very least the combination of wind and cold is wicking the moisture off the top layers of your epidermis. The result? Peeling on hands, lips. and face.

Staying hydrated absolutely helps. That’s the best way to avoid peeling, although sometimes it doesn’t do the job entirely. Moisturizing sunscreen applied 20 minutes before ride is best, along with lip protection (see my recommendation). You can also apply sunscreen on face and hands, wait for it to absorb, then apply a light moisturizer. Be sure to also moisturize overnight, and even keep some face/ hand lotion with you if you’re really motivated (or you are already peeling, as was my case).

 

4.) Feel a little cold before you start a longer and/ or harder route

If you bundle up as though you’re going for a carriage ride in the snow, you are going to sweat like a sausage within 2 minutes and believe me it isn’t fun. It actually gets you further dehydrated too! If you ski, run, hike, etc., then you already know how to start out feeling a little chilly and/ or wear layers that can go on and off easily.

Cold doesn’t mean unprotected, however. You need gloves, sunglasses, and some sort of moisture-wicking underlayers at a minimum. I recommend a scarf and/ or a balaclava (really), too. Not a big fan of the hat during rides, though, unless it’s really cold out or the hat is easily removed, since that sweaty scalp feeling is not my bag and people get dandruff that way.

ASIDE: Despite my face and hand peeling issue, I have not had to deal with dandruff for as long as I can remember… If anyone out there has good tips for avoiding winter dandruff, please share! No fabulous lady cyclist should have to live in fear.

 

5.) Sometimes I even remember to take photos when I see cool stuff while riding

Woah. It’s like mid-morning Portlandia Twilight Zone
OK so it’s a little washed out. I should probably Photoshop this.

 

 

This is to get Jayna (L) and Stacy more involved in the blog. Also a plug for Indie Ella.

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