Biking in the cold: one woman’s adventures

Those of you who live in places where it actually gets cold, like routinely below freezing, will probably roll your eyes a little at this, but that’s okay:) Because this winter I’ve had the chance to appreciate the fine art of being outside in the below-freezing, and what that all means when you’re on a bike.

 

oaks-bottom(other than the simple fact of more treacherous biking, I mean:)

 

For one — and yes, I know this is super obvious if you stop to think about it, but still — I learned that water bottles do actually freeze. I mean, I’ve had water bottles turn slushy and icy before, even mostly frozen, but this past Friday I had both my water bottles turn to solid ice within the span of 40 minutes spent biking — which was less than half the ride. So, valuable lesson: if you still want to be hydrated when it’s frozen out, put your water against your back or something.

Also, relatedly, fun story. That same bike ride, I was heading to Vancouver, WA to meet a few people for a hike. I had a water bladder (think Camelback) that I intended to use while hiking, which I put in my pannier for the bike ride portion of the morning. Unfortunately, I forgot that that water bladder leaks hardcore when it’s horizontal, so I lost about half the water, about a liter, to the bottom of my pannier.

Normally that would be a humongous bummer because it would drench everything in my bag, but in this case the cold worked in my favor: the water, once out of the bladder, basically froze immediately. Rather than getting everything wet, it just froze into a solid ice cube at the bottom of my bag, and the only casualties were the extra pair of gloves I brought with me, which froze solid into the ice cube and which I had to pry out of the bottom of my pannier.

 

frozen-gloves(brr! Not so helpful as an extra pair of gloves this way;)

 

But enough of that. This weekend, I also learned that bike locks can also freeze. And if they’re locked around your bike when they do so, that makes things a little difficult. I thought it might help to pee on it (warm liquids, right?), which I of course did not do because this was at the farmers market and that would have been indecent; instead, I basically blew hot air into my lock until I could get my key to turn inside it again. Which I’m sure also looked a little indecent (or at least a tad strange), since I was basically french kissing my bike lock until it thawed. I’m not sure if that’s a valuable lesson yet, or if one of y’all wants to give me a better solution;)

Anyway. Good times in Portland, where it’s been much colder than I’m used to. Today, back to the rains, but it’s been a pretty fun stretch of abnormality.

6 Comments:

  1. Apporte des allumettes. (Très petit, prend pas de place.) Si tu fais chauffer la clé avec une allumette, elle rentre dans le cadenas. Ou dans la voiture. Même chose. :-)

    • Heh. When I translated this for James, he said, “wait, you know that nobody carries matches anymore, right?” ;) But I imagine a lighter would do the trick, too;)

      Funny, I could totally whip out one of my backpacking “10 essentials” (fire starting!) to rescue my bike from the clutches of a frozen lock!

  2. Looks like it’s high time to invest in an insulated water bottle!

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