Sunday, December 27, 2009

one year of blogging

So I thought it would be fun to log a year of biking, and it's now been a year. I also want to start up a new hobby, and it's hard to fit everything in. So I'm kinda thinking of posting a lot less frequently here. I hope that's okay with all my many (ha) readers. Of course, I will continue to bike every day if possible because that makes me very happy.

dec. 21

It was 25 F at 6:53 am, winds variable at 4 mph, so a very nice morning. The paths were pretty clear and I was thinking I should have ridden my other bike without the studded tires because it is much faster.

After my exercise class I went to campus for a meeting. Then I always like to take the scenic ride home using the downtown bike path down to John Nolan Drive and Lake Monona. I saw these ducks I hadn't seen before, must be migrating. I think they are Common loons, adult non-breeding. They were definitely shy. They flew away whenever I stopped so I couldn't get a close-up of them.

Then there was one that looked different and was not shy. This one looks like a juvenile common loon.

Not sure if I got that right, but that's kind of fun if correct. We don't see many loons here in Madison, except when they are migrating.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

dec 20

The temperature was 21 F, winds calm at 8 am. Here's the bike path with a dusting of snow:

On the return trip at 11 am, temperature was 25 F, winds 3.5 mph from the SSE.

Nothing much to report, just glad I got out on the bike to enjoy the outdoors. Oh, I wore my new "warm weather" (20 F) mittens and they were great. I can't wait for a deep freeze to try out the monster mittens!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I ordered some new mittens from the REI catalog. I ordered two pairs of men's XL mittens, one for "warmer" days (20 F or so), and one for the really cold days (below 5 F). I have big hands (long fingers) to begin with but I also think the roomier the glove, the warmer my hands are. I want to be able to wear my liner gloves underneath so I can unlock the garage door and lock my bike lock with the liner gloves on when it's really cold. So another reason I want roomy gloves.

Here are my liner gloves. They are very thin. Also notice my new tennis ball haircut. I've always wanted to do that at least once in my life. Surprisingly, some people actually like it.

Here are my "warmer" mittens. These were on sale:

Now check out the really cold weather mittens:

I'm too embarrassed to say how much these cost. Well, actually it's only 2 car-tanks of gas. So not so bad. Here's the mitten compared to the liner glove:

I hope they keep my hands warm! I also got a pair of lightweight insulated boots on sale. Those were less than a tank of gas.

Dec. 16, 18

I biked on Wed, Dec. 16, to yoga class. The temperature was 3 F at 7:53 am, with calm winds. There were just a few clouds and it was a beautiful, chilly morning.

There were a few little birds flying around and chirping and I was wondering, how do they survive winter? My fingers were cold and I was anxiously awaiting the mittens I ordered. Wait until you see them...

I headed out of town on Wed, returned on Thursday night. Friday morning I biked to exercise class at 6:53 am. The start of the bike path:

The temperature was a balmy 26 F with winds 7 mph from the NNE. I returned home at 11 am. Temperature was 30 F, winds 13 mph from the ENE. With those studded tires on pavement and the headwind, it felt like I was riding in peanut butter.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

dec. 15

Today I did something crazy: I got up at 5:30 am and headed off (at 5:45) to a 6:30 yoga class, followed by my usual 7:30 fitness class, then rode home. That was about 3 hours of exercise! Now this is darkness:

Too bad the geminids meteor shower wasn't a few days later. It was cloudy during the peak on Dec. 13-14, but this morning it was perfectly clear. The temperature this morning was a brisk 7 F with winds 8 mph from the WNW. The roads and path were in pretty good shape as the plows have continued to clear up the messes.

I enjoyed the bright sunshine on the ride home at 9 am:

I ran into Kenny on the bike path and we chatted for a while, then I got cold and headed home.

Monday, December 14, 2009

no biking today

A few too many factors pushed me to the car today. One or two at a time would have been okay but I had to haul heavy loads, the roads were slushy and slow-going, and I needed to take care of my partner during a rough time. So I drove the car and saved some time and effort...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dec. 13

This morning we had an ice coating on everything from the freezing rain. I wondered, does this mean I can't bike? Then I remembered riding last year in these conditions and the studded tires handling it fine. Sure enough, I had no problems with the ice. The problem was the slushy snow on some of the roads and all the cutouts (where the bike path crosses the roads). But it wasn't as much a problem for me as for the cars. I pushed a car to help it up a slight hill, and enjoyed the feeling of superiority!

The temperature was 32 F at 8:15 am, winds calm. Here's the start of the bike path:

There were a couple of roads that were in bad shape, maybe totalng 1/2 mile of the ride, as shown in this picture below. Which path should I take, the road or sidewalk?

I took the sidewalk!

But I still have to cross the road:

The temperature was still 32 F on my return ride home, winds 7 mph from the north.

I'm glad I rode my bike today because otherwise I was indoors all day.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Here are the layers I wore to bike in the cold weather (5 F). This isn't my coldest weather outfit.

I'm going to yoga class, so I'm wearing stretch pants and shirt; then thick wool socks and a wool hoodie sweater.

The hood is on, and a fleece sweater/jacket. So that's three layers on my torso, and one on the legs.

Coat, warm snow/ski pants, warm boots, liner gloves, and balaclava.

So that's now 2 layers on the legs, 4 layers on the torso, and 2 layers on the head.

Add a helmet (covered with a gortex cap, great for keeping rain and wind out!) and goggles (so 4 layers on the head?) and thick gloves (2 layers on the hands). The gloves are not warm enough. I just ordered a big pair of warm mittens (ugh, expensive too). I hope they do the trick. The goggles are amazing for warmth. A small part of my nose is exposed and this won't do if it gets any colder or windier. Too bad because this setup causes no fogging on my glasses or goggles. I have another face mask that covers my nose so that will come out soon.

Dec. 11

Today I had to get out on the bike. I went to my yoga class so I got to start an hour later than usual, in the bright morning sun. It was gorgeous. The temperature was 5 F, winds 5 mph from the WSW at 7:53 am. The roads are in terrible icy conditions but the bike path was not so bad. Plus the studded tires have amazing traction. I had more traction than either the cars or pedestrians. Here's the start of the bike path:

Starkweather Creek is frozen:

People in my yoga class were curious about the biking, and I told them about studded tires. At least one guy is motivated to try it. Ben said I was crazy but I said it was just the opposite, that it keeps me sane in winter.

And here's Yahara river on the way home at 11 am.

Temperature was up to 11 F, winds 5 mph from the SW.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

dec. 9

Today we had a blizzard with 17" of snow. So we just shoveled snow for 4.5 hours and didn't go anywhere. Tomorrow the winds are supposed to be really strong, so I might bag biking then too...we'll see...We lost power for 7 hours today. Yikes, we are pretty vulnerable in winter without electricity.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

dec. 8

Today I would have ridden to the near west side for a yoga class but that just seems too far in the winter. The ride is slower in the snow and it gets tiring. So I went to my usual exercise class and it was a great workout! My arms are sore. That's a long enough ride at about 5 miles one way. I could attend a yoga class at my gym on Tuesdays at 6:30 am. It seems daunting to get up and ride an hour earlier in the winter, but soon it's going to be as dark and cold at 6:53 am as it is as 5:53 am.

Today, the temperature was 21 F, winds ENE at 5 mph at 6:53 am. Here's the start of the bike path:

More snow accumulated on my ride home. Temperature creeped up to 23 F, winds still ENE at 5 mph at 9 am. As always, it was nice to enjoy the outdoors.

Monday, December 7, 2009

dec 7

I didn't care what the weather was, I just wanted to get on the bike today! We had a couple of inches of snow overnight, so I got out old reliable, the bike with studded tires. She's all cleaned up with a fresh tuneup (a few months ago but hasn't been ridden since), and I just had to pump up the tires. This bike is 15 years old now. Here she is:

Here's looking down the hill I'm about to ride down.

The start of the bike path at 7 am (I was a little late):

Temperature was 22 F, winds 7 mph from the north. Sunrise was 7:15 am.

Here's Starkweather creek.

It's funny how the snow is always welcome when it comes. The seasons are nice.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

argh, too much driving

Yesterday, I drove the car twice and today 3 times! Each time there was a reason I couldn't bike (except the last time where I just needed to do something quickly and was hungry). By my third trip today, in the beautiful sunshine that I was not experiencing in the car, I was very irritated. ugh. Tomorrow I have to drive too because I'll be carrying lots of prepared food. darn it all! And the sun is shining!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dec. 3 food

Boy is it ever good to get back on my bike when I return to town.

Today I left at 6:53 am. The temperature was 30 F, winds 3.5 mph from the west. Sunrise wasn't until 7:11 am but at least there was some light. The sign is back up on the bike path:

On my way home at 9 am, temperature was still 30 F, winds up to 7 mph from the WNW, so a bit of a tailwind. We had a hard workout so I was happy for a little help.

Unfortunately tomorrow I will be driving in the morning to Watertown to meet Mike. darn.