By Will Chaffey
I recently had the opportunity to take part in a high altitude study of amphibians in the cloud forests near Wayqecha, Peru, on the edge of the Amazon basin. We were concentrating on tiny frogs less than the size of a dime which burrow deep in the moss of the cloud forests. The Andes are a relatively new mountain range, rising within the last 5 million years, and so the creatures on the upper flanks represent an ideal opportunity to study the evolution of new lineages.
It was painstaking work for which keen eyesight and a powerful light were necessary, even during the daytime. I had brought along my Stella which proved invaluable in the field. After a day crawling through the cloud forest looking for tiny frogs, most people would be happy to go home and have a gin and tonic, but not my companions, who are, after all, biologists. We went spotlighting every night after work. If there is one thing biologists love to compare notes on, it’s headlamps. With the powerful beam of the Stella, my companions admitted to a case of lumen envy. We went spotlighting at 10,800 feet and one magical night the Stella illuminated the eye shine of a rare marsupial, the Andean Slender Mouse Opossum. The powerful beam so transfixed the creature that it stayed still long enough for a photograph.
Will Chaffey is the author of “Swimming with Crocodiles” an adventure across the Australian Outback before the existence of the GPS and Stella light.
By Chris McCaslin, Engineering Director, Light & Motion
Most of our products use mirrored reflectors and optical-quality glass, an optical solution which we have found to be the most efficient, and which creates the most beautiful beam patterns. Most portable lighting manufacturers use off-the-shelf molded reflectors made of clear plastics. Termed T.I.R., for Total Internal Reflection, these reflectors focus light by bending it internally. Our experimentation has shown that most of these solutions project light unevenly—leaving unintended bright spots and dark spots, called artifacts, in the beam. These spots can show up in your photography, and can be distracting bouncing down a mountain trail. TIRs have also proven less efficient, absorbing or scattering light that we want to focus on the subject.
Using both advanced optical software and practical experimentation with varying shapes of prototype reflectors, we work to concentrate light where you need it. In some cases we do use TIR reflectors, for instance when a very tight spot beam is required in a very tight space, something that TIR’s excel at. For our Sola and GoBe Search spot beams, we experimented with many reflectors before settling on a design that provided a sufficiently tight spot.
In most products, in-house design of mirrored reflectors creates the brightest possible lights, and allows us to create special features. These include integrated side lights from a single LED, and shaping the beam of each emitter in a single- or multi-LED head for optimal use on a bicycle. You can see this in Taz and Seca, and in our taillights that provide industry-leading visibility from all around your bike. In some cases we use peening to scatter just the right amount of light to soften hard edges in the beam.
And in a few products, we simply get out of the way, putting the LED as front and center as possible, to provide the widest, most even beam pattern possible.
These small differences all work to blend light seamlessly into your environment. Our goal in optics design is for you to forget the light there, and to remember the experience, not your lighting.
As seen on Visual.ly
An infographic comparison of Light & Motion’s Urban 700 vs a competing bike light (Niterider Lumina 700). Test data acquired using the FL-1 Standard protocol set up by NEMA and NIST. Brightness and run time tested with a certified Integrating Sphere to ensure accuracy. Additional beam comparison and full testing data available on product pages via Beam Test & Lumen Test links.
By Melissa Liebling
Each time I visit a new city, I wonder about the local cycling community and commuting opportunities. What types of bike paths are accessible? How easy is it to get around on a bicycle and where can you go? So far, I’ve been impressed with the ability to travel by bicycle through large cities such as Washington D.C., Denver, and Tucson. It’s amazing how easy it is to get around and feel safe doing so! All you need is a great headlight which you can wear on your helmet or mount to your handlebars, and a tail light that watches your back…and your sides! Light & Motion offers so many excellent options to provide you with peace of mind when pedaling the town! Once you have the proper set-up, you can go anywhere and feel confident that you will be able to see what’s ahead and be seen by motorists and other commuters along the way.
With my Stella 500 and Vis 180 Micro, I have no problem commuting through Tucson to work each day and various activities in the evening. Every time I pedal somewhere, I find a reason to smile about it. There is a certain camaraderie that exists among commuters where a friendly hello to one another can make your day. Or passing by a group of children who cheer for you and wave because someday, they would like to ride a bike to school or work. My favorite experience is being stopped by a traffic light and looking around to see 10-15 other commuters. I take pride in pedaling from here to there knowing that I am doing my part to help the environment, staying active, and inspiring others to do the same.
Get out there and breath the fresh air, enjoy your surroundings, and live life in the bike lane!
By Melissa Liebling
As dusk rolled over the hills of New Mexico, it was time to mount my bike light and prepare for a long, lonely night on the trail. It was my first solo single speed 24-hour race. I had one Light & Motion Seca 1400 that I borrowed from a friend, and no crew. I knew I could take care of myself, but it would require extra time at my pit. I believe it was only the second or third year for 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest and I was racing for the experience as I knew I wanted to become one of the best solo 24-hour racers around! I decided to use the time it would take to mount my light as a necessary break to rest, stretch, and eat a decent snack before tackling the night. I ran my light on low as the course was not especially technical and the single battery lasted through the entire evening! I was impressed! At dawn, I finally had to rest for a significant amount of time, but I had done enough to secure the win!
I took on 24 Hours of Fury as my second solo 24-hour race and arrived to the event both physically and mentally prepared to put in a much harder effort. This time, I had an amazing crew, miles and miles of training, a nutrition plan, and two Seca 1400s which again I borrowed from a friend. The first 7 laps were smooth and consistent. I set myself up with a lead going into the night and felt very comfortable on the trail. I varied the level of light I used throughout the night, depending on the terrain, and loved having both handlebar and helmet mounted lights! My crew changed my batteries every two laps to ensure that I never ran out of light. It was a much better system with the ability to have two lights and multiple batteries and I knew these were the lights I wanted to race with as my career progressed. As dawn arrived, I put in two hard laps to finish the race with a 1st place female solo single speed title and placed fourth among the men. The result was definitely worth the pain!
I had less than a week to recover before I headed to Culiacan, Mexico for a night 12-hour race. My flight left on Thursday and although I was mentally motivated, I was concerned that I would not have enough energy to race hard for 12 hours in the dark. I was told there were several strong females registered for the race and it would be a tough night!
My crew arrived at 7:30 pm to pick me up and we headed to the venue. Everything was set up and I briefed them on what I would need throughout the night. Communication was difficult because I do not speak Spanish, but I was assured that they were ready to support me. I had plenty of Bonk Breaker Energy Bars on hand and would be running the same two Seca 1400s as the previous weekend. This time, I’d be running them almost the entire race! We decided to change out the batteries every three laps because I would be riding a bit faster and I was able to run the lights on low for almost half of each lap.
It was a Le Mans start so I took off as fast as I could knowing that I wanted to get ahead of the other females right away. There were fireworks and lots of cheering spectators. It was awesome! I was pedaling hard and racing to win! After about 6 laps, I was only ahead by 10 minutes. These girls were tough and continued to chase me the entire race! Finally during lap 9, the sun started to rise. My lights worked great the entire night, but I was thankful for morning. I was tired and pedaling slower, but I dug deep and finished the remaining two laps for the win! There was much celebration when I entered the transition tent for the last time and I was overwhelmed with gratitude and happiness. The race organization, my friends and crew, my competitors, and the spectators were unbelievable! At this point in my career, 12 Horas en La PrimaVera was the toughest race I ever won!
Following these three races and the success I had riding with Light & Motion bike lights, I knew that they were the ones for me! They performed without a hitch and I will need that type of reliability and quality to advance my mountain biking career. In addition to those characteristics, their extensive run time and ability to light up the entire trail and its surroundings are critical when racing through the night. The lights are lightweight and super easy to mount in a hurry. Not only were the Secas ideal, but in my experience, the selection of performance and commuter lights that the company offers is superior to any other products I have used.
Light & Motion’s company ethics and environmental concern provide many reasons for me to represent, support, and promote them. Designed and built in Monterey, California, the dependability of the products cannot be matched. They are built there because they can do it better than anyone offshore and can be proud of what they’ve accomplished. These are the small details that make all the difference! Thank you L & M for getting my endurance racing off to a great start!
Melissa Liebling is passionate about racing in the 24-Hour Solo events – watch for her at the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo this next February! Registration opens on October 15th!
By Cyril Jay-Rayon
As an endurance MTB cyclist and adventure athlete, I know how proper nutrition can help you reach your performance goals. However, if you don’t stay active and on the move, especially during the long winter months, don’t count on any food to keep you healthy and fit. That’s why my secret “superfood” is not a supplement or food at all. It’s commuting to work on my bike. And, here’s why. Commuting to work on your bike is the best way to find time you thought you didn’t have to stay active on a regular basis.
I live in Los Angeles, one of the least bike friendly cities in the US, but I found a good route to ride to work. My car commute is a minimum of 35 minutes to work. When I ride, it’s 1 hour and more reliable so I know exactly how long it will take me to get to and from work. So, for less than 1 hour more of commute, I get 2 hours of exercise per day. An obvious side benefit to all this bike commuting is that the car stays in the driveway saving me on gas, car maintenance, and reduces my carbon footprint.
OK, I have to admit that my current commute is unique and enjoyable because part of it is on a bike path along the beach. Yeah, I know. It’s pretty sweet. But, the rest is through busy city streets. And, before this commute, I lived in Seattle where I commuted in the rain and freezing cold in the winter. And, before that, it was even tougher as I lived in Quebec where riding involved snow tires in winter but still doable and exciting. With the right gear, you can commute almost anywhere.
If bike commuting at night is a concern, take a look at the incredible recent improvements in bike light technologies. I feel safer riding on city streets at night because I’m simply more visible with my Light & Motion lights. At night I like to be well lit so I go all in! I don’t cut corners when it comes to being seen. Besides, the cost of the light system is quickly paid for by not paying for gasoline and it’s a good investment in safety.
On my helmet I use the VIS 360+. It has a very bright rear red light (where the battery resides) with side yellow lights plus a powerful front light (250 lumens and runs for 3 hours on high) also with side yellow lights. With a light system on my helmet, I can easily shine my light in car cockpits at intersections to make sure the drivers make eye contact with me (something I can’t do during the day). The bright rear and side lights high up on the helmet help drivers see you, not only from the rear, but also from the side which is very important at night since many bike riders get hit from the side. An advantage of the VIS 360+ or the Vis 360 is that you don’t have to take it off your helmet to charge the battery if you don’t want to. Just put it on your desk at work and charge it with a micro USB cable.
Although the VIS 360+ is all you’ll need, if you have additional funds, you should consider investing in a light system for the bike itself. That’s what I do with a VIS 180 rear light that easily attaches to my seat post (has rear and side lighting like the VIS 360 family) and an Urban front light (200, 400, 550, 700 lumens lights to choose from) that is incredibly easy to mount on your handlebar or stem. The Urban family of lights also features side yellow lights. Both the VIS 180 and Urban lights are also recharged using a micro USB cable (provided). I use Light & Motion lights because, when it comes to my safety, I want to use the best lights on the market. They are powerful, reliable, well designed, and aesthetically pleasing. With this double light set-up, you will be the most visible thing on the road.
Since I’ve decided to commute to work on my bike, I’m fitter, healthier, and simply happier. If more of us opt for a bike or a pair of shoes to commute to work, we’ll reduce traffic, improve the health of our communities, and create a real superfood for our society.
Cyril Jay Rayon, is an Adventure Race athlete with Dart-Nuun-Sport Multi and owner of the “Feed the Machine” Nutritional Supplement Store.
Ta-dah! The Light & Motion 5-person coed team captured the win today at the 24hours in the Sage!
The team fell behind in the race early losing almost an hour to equipment failure and spills – see the battle wounds – ouch!! The team rallied and laid down some heroic laps during the night (aided by the New Seca 2000!) and early morning to gain the lead and land the win!
Congrats to Evelyn Dong, Will McDonald, Nate Miller, Zeke Hersh, Nate Bird, and Dax Massey a.k.a. “Thrasher” who ran support for the team! Thanks to KOA Dave and all the volunteers for putting on the 24 Hours in the Sage known among the locals as one of the best parties at a bike race! See you there next year!
Photographs by Devon Balet who was at Sage on assignment for Light & Motion.
America’s premier female endurance mountain biker is launching Rebecca’s Private Idaho, an event of her own invention to take place over Labor Day Weekend on September 1st, 2013 in her hometown of Ketchum-Sun Valley, Idaho. Rusch will play host to a lucky 400-500 riders on a fully-supported long (95 miles) or short (50 miles) gravel road ride into the beautiful Pioneer Mountains and Copper Basin. Rusch hopes to benefit three key cycling organizations with this ride: World Bicycle Relief, PeopleForBikes.org, and Idaho’s own Wood River Bicycle Coalition while also showcasing the Western hospitality and beautiful scenery of her hometown of Ketchum-Sun Valley, Idaho. Two routes will be offered, The Big Potato (95 miles) and The Small Fry (50 miles), and the ride format will borrow from the now-popular European gran fondo tradition. Rebecca’s Private Idaho will be unique however, taking riders on local dirt roads representative of the region, rather than the pavement many other events favor.
“Cycling is proving, time and again, to be a viable tool in driving the local economy, personal health, and social change,” says Rusch. “I’ve wanted to host a ride that not only does these things, but does them in my own backyard. There’s so much I want the world to know about the hometown that I love; putting on a bike ride is the best way to get that word out. Plus I think it’ll just be an awful lot of fun.”
To date, former pro road cyclist Levi Leipheimer, former US National Road Champion (and current Team TIBCO captain) Meredith Miller, current World Road Champion Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, and two-time Olympic cycling gold medalist Kristin Armstrong are confirmed attendees, with more cycling luminaries expected to come as the event nears. Riders have registered from more than 20 US states and Canada so far, most of them from the Rocky Mountain region.
Rebecca’s Private Idaho will also host a post-ride street party in downtown Ketchum, featuring live music, cycling exhibits, food, and beer. The post-ride festivities are planned to go into the night and are the public is encouraged to attend. Other weekend events taking place around Rebecca’s Private Idaho include the famous big-hitch Wagon Days parade, VIP parties, post-ride barbeques, pancake breakfasts, and much, much more.
To learn more about the event: www.rebeccasprivateidaho.com
Rebecca’s Private Idaho is the last stop of Rusch’s 2013 SRAM Gold Rusch Tour; a North-American events tour that encourages women of all ages and abilities to engage in cycling and the cycling community. To learn more about the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour, visit www.goldruschtour.com
In August of 2012, Rusch won her fourth straight record-breaking Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. In addition to three 24-hour solo mountain bike World Champion rainbow jerseys, Rusch is the 2010 World Champion for Master’s XC mountain biking, the 2011 National XC single-speed champion, and a three-time national champion in 24-hour team mountain biking. She has won Idaho’s Short Track state championship (twice), and a Cyclocross state title. An accomplished Nordic skier, she’s won the Masters Cross Country Skiing World Championship, in addition to taking the top prize at Raid Gauloises Adventure Racing World Championships. Rebecca also organizes a series of female ride initiatives, the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour, which combine cycling and inspiration for women through clinics at major bike events, female media camps and via an all girls MTB cllub in her hometown of Ketchum, Idaho. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information about how to support this event contact: Emilee Farber, email@example.com
By Meredith Miller
For cycling enthusiasts, there’s one golden rule during the month of July – don’t look at social media unless you’re prepared to read about the Tour. The Tour de France, that is. It’s a 21 day race that touches almost every corner of France and then some. It’s the biggest and most prestigious race of the year. It’s the race that can change a rider’s career and life by winning a single stage.
The riders have put on a great ‘show’ this year. Barring catastrophe, the yellow jersey seems to be safely positioned on the back of Brit Chris Froome all the way to Paris. But, the fight for the remaining two podium steps is intense. It’s anyone’s guess who will round out the podium in Paris.
By the time the Tour reaches Paris, the riders will have accumulated 85 hours and 2004 miles on the bike. Unlike any other sport, the cyclists “play” for 5 to 7 hours each day for three consecutive weeks with just two rest days along the way. 2004 miles. 85 hours. 21 days. 2 rest days. 1 Grand Tour.
Each team starts with nine riders. Each one of those riders has been chosen for a specific reason depending on his strengths. A rider may be selected because he’s an opportunist, he can win the sprinter’s jersey, he can contribute to a strong team time trial or, even better yet, win all the glory — the maillot jaune (The yellow jersey worn by the leader of the Tour). Each team will have different goals at the Tour and each team will build its roster accordingly, but one thing that is necessary on every team is the support rider, or domestique. Some domestiques are part of the lead out train for the sprinter, while others are the caretakers of the climbers in the high mountains. Regardless of the stage profile, a victory is hardly possible without the help of a team’s domestiques.
Whether it’s for one day or for 21 days, a domestique’s role is tireless, selfless and most often goes unrecognized. Domestiques finish 10, 15, 20 minutes behind the leaders in the mountains. Domestiques cross the finish line after the winner has already showered and is giving interviews. Domestiques lead out their sprinter in the closing kilometers and then sit up to watch the last 250 meters as their guy crosses the line with his hands in the air. Thanks to the relentless, committed work of a domestique, it’s the winner’s name that goes down in the history books.
Women’s cycling isn’t any different in this regard. Just as the men’s teams pick specific rosters for the Tour de France, so do women’s teams pick their rosters for each individual race. Whether a criterium or stage race, the roster will include the team leader(s) and the best suited domestiques for that race.
For the last ten years, I have played the role of domestique. While my resume isn’t full of personal victories, it is chock-full of team victories, or victories in which a teammate won and I played a major role. Stage races or one-day races, you name it, I have been the rider going back for bottles so my team leader doesn’t have to expend the extra energy herself. I have been the rider on the front chasing back a break so my team leader doesn’t have to worry about losing time. I have been the rider pedaling into the wind so my teammate can sit on my wheel and conserve as much energy as possible. I have been the rider selected as first in the lead-out train for my sprinter, assigned the task of going as hard as I can to deliver my sprinter to the line first. I have been the rider, because of this, that often crosses the finish line last or doesn’t even finish at all. I have been the rider to usher my teammate into the hills and bare the heaviest workload so that my teammate can pedal away when the time is right, leaving me to pedal squares to the finish hoping that I make the time cut.
That is, by definition, a domestique — gives 100% for a teammate and repeatedly sacrifices personal glory to achieve a win for the team.
I have many memorable stories of playing the role of domestique, but a couple in particular stick out in my mind. At the 2009 US National Criterium Championships my team (Team TIBCO) was 100% focused on racing for our sprinter extraordinaire, Brooke Miller. She had been on fire all season long, winning race after race. My teammates and I were throwing out attacks and counter attacks all race long to whittle down the field, weaken the other sprinters. In fact, I was off the front solo when they called the mid-race $500 prime and easily gobbled up the money. The field eventually brought me back and as the laps ticked down. No one or nothing was getting away. Clearly, the race was going to come down to a field sprint. With several laps to go, my teammates and I started to amass near the front of the peloton so that we could take over the lead out with a lap to go. Colavita was also there fighting us for the front to put their mutli-national criterium champion, Tina Pic, in perfect position. My teammates and I muscled our way to the front where we lined ourselves up perfectly, one after another, with Brooke sitting behind us calling out instructions to go faster, faster, faster. It was a picture of flawless team unity.
I was chosen as one of the first riders in the line up because of my ability to get the pace blazing fast so that no other team could come around us. I put my head down, gritted my teeth and basically sprinted for 500-600 meters before my next teammate took over. Just past where I pulled off the lead out train was where the figure eight came together, and it happened to be a perfect place to watch the finish. Not concerned in the least about my own finish, I rolled over to my viewing spot and watched as the riders came around the last corner for the gallop to the finish line. I was jumping around and screaming at Brooke to “go, go, go”. I had goose bumps. Unfortunately, Brooke did not win, she was second, but regardless of the result we, the domestiques, had that lead out dialed and that was a great feeling.
A funny part to the story is that in order to collect the mid-race prime I had won, rules stated I had to finish the race. It was a rule of which I was somehow unaware. Fortunately, another teammate knew that I had to cross the finish line to collect our $500. My mechanic had already taken my bike away so I hopped on a teammate’s bike, which was too small, and pedaled around to the finish line so that the team could collect the $500.
Cycling is a team sport. Yes, only one person wins a race, but an individual win is a win for the team. And it is the hard-working, unselfish domestique who repeatedly lays it on the line for the team. Being the domestique may not be glamorous, but the satisfaction I get from helping a teammate win is worth more to me than anything I could achieve alone — especially when I know my teammate couldn’t have won without my help.
Domestiques may not be the ones to steal the show but they are the ones who create the show. Maillot jaune Chris Froome wouldn’t be dominating the race without the unconditional help of his teammates. In particular, this year we’ve watched Richie Porte tear the peloton to pieces as he sets such a blistering pace on the front of the peloton that no one can follow on the climbs but his leader Froome. Although Porte has displayed phenomenal talent himself, his sole job is to set the stage for Froome.
Meredith Miller rides for the women’s pro cycling team TIBCO
-By Guillermo Barron, Red Deer, Canada
I’ve been cycle commuting, winter and summer, for over twenty years in Red Deer, Calgary, Edmonton, and Victoria. So I thought I’d post a few thoughts on how to winter cycle. It’s intimidating to many, but easier than it looks.
- Start early. If you continue your cycling from summer into the fall, the transition to winter cycling won’t seem so abrupt.
- You don’t need complicated or expensive clothing. A good rain jacket and rain pants built for cycling will be adequate down to – 15 or so. When you’re cycling, you generate lots of heat, so wind protection is more helpful than bulky insulation. Rain gear will do the job nicely. And a sweater or vest will give you another five degrees when needed. At -25 or so, I switch to a lightly insulated Cloudveil Circuit jacket. Clothing with reflective patches is amazingly visible at night and always a wise choice.
- You can protect the extremities incrementally as it gets colder. Start with bare hands, gloves, gauntlet gloves, mitts, and finally mitts with extra liners. An ear warmer under the helmet gives way to a thin toque and finally a cowl. I’ve experimented with ski goggles and neoprene face masks for full facial protection at -30 or so, but I’ve found that my glasses get fogged, so I’ve given up on them. YMMV. I wear Keen winter boots below zero; any comparable brand will do.
- Make sure your bike is winterized. Sometimes cables freeze or your rear hub will fail to engage, leaving you in permanent “coast” mode. Have a competent bike mechanic overhaul your bike if needed. Sometimes bringing the bike inside during the day or overnight will thaw frozen components.
- You’ll have to pay extra attention to lubrication, especially when warm weather drives sand and slush into your chain. I don’t think anything is harder on a chain than sand. You may have to lubricate weekly or even daily. If you don’t, you’ll find your chain lengthening due to wear. And the lengthened chain will then damage your sprockets, leading to costly replacement. Trust, this procrastinator knows.
- Get good lights. Not all LEDs are created equal. I like the Light and Motion Urban 300. It’s solidly made, waterproof, and very bright at 300 lumens. It quickly mounts on either helmet or handlebars. I tried out the helmet mount and was an instant convert. When you turn your head, the light turns at the same time. No more waiting for the front wheel to catch up. It’s also rechargeable via micro-USB, which means you don’t have to buy replacement batteries and you don’t have to lug around a charger brick. Just make sure you have the appropriate USB cable at your home and office computers. $20 LEDs may look like a bargain, but they may not last and will cost more in the long run when you factor in the cost of batteries. And having a big bright beam really makes night riding enjoyable. I’ve found myself getting up earlier and earlier to beat the sunrise. If you’re serious about night riding, on road or off, a good LED light is an expensive, but worthwhile, investment. The local cycling club has discovered that the new lights have made night mountain biking a real opportunity. And, on road, driver are more likely to see you. But comparison shopping is wise.
- Standard mountain bike tires will be suitable for most riders and you can buy studded mountain bike tires if you need them. I ride a hybrid (skinny tires are faster in the summer) and have been running on studded winter cyclocross tires for the last couple of years. They’re only about 35 mm wide, but surprisingly effective. The studs have worn to the level of the rubber so I don’t know if they really provide much benefit. There’s lots of options out there if you’re shopping for good winter tires. Studded tires are heavy and slow so I am happy to take them off when the last of ice disappears. If you only want to use one studded tire, put it up front. On ice and snow, control is more important than acceleration.
- Ride conservatively. Avoid sudden turns or stops on slippery patches. On road, you’ll often be forced to cycle in car tire ruts and this makes you a target for aggressive drivers. But at least they can see you. If this isn’t working, and the sides of roads are covered with ice or snow, switch to the sidewalk. But in this case, be wary when crossing streets. Car drivers aren’t as attentive to users who aren’t in the middle of the road.
- Watch the weather, and dress appropriately. But don’t believe their “wind chill” reports. The last few days, the wind chill here in Red Deer is said to have hovered around -40 or lower. At these temperatures, exposed flesh is supposed to freeze in five or ten minutes. But I cycle a constant 15 or 20 km/hr (which is, after all, equivalent to riding into a 15 or 20 km/hr wind) for half an hour. And no frozen skin. So don’t be spooked by these overly protective and possibly alarmist warnings. But as a general rule, it’s too cold to cycle when teenagers start wearing toques.
- Some people think that all it takes to get into cycling is the cost of the bike. But you may also have to invest in a pack or courier bag (way more practical in my opinion), a good U-lock, extra clothing, lights, a helmet, and regular maintenance. This may seem like a tidy investment, but the costs of commuting by car are far higher. Car commuting may seem “faster”, but if you consider the hundreds of dollars per month you’ll likely save (car payments, depreciation, gas, parking, insurance, registration, maintenance, etc.) and the number of hours you’d have to work to pay the differential in cost, you may end up losing time instead. I consider my bike expenses trivial compared to the cost of a second car. And remember the very real benefits to the environment and your mental and physical health. Every minute you spend cycling, you’re getting stronger; every minute you spend driving (or blogging!) you’re getting weaker.