The Ride on Washington

On March 16 and 17th, during what I can only imagine to be a spell of unseasonably balmy weather in the Northeast, I will be riding with cyclocross champion Tim Johnson and others in the Ride on Washington. As I’m not yet up to randonneur strength, I’ll be doing roughly half, from Boston to NYC (still well over 200 miles in two days).

Cyclocross superstar Tim Johnson first imagined the Ride on Washington after attending the National Bike Summit in 2010. Johnson could not believe that there were no pro racers among the nearly 1,000 bicyclists present. Intent on raising funds and awareness for Bikes Belong, this world-championship medalist recruited a handful of stalwart riders to pedal from Boston to Washington over five days to attend the 2011 National Bike Summit.

Organized in just six weeks, this bold inaugural event garnered coverage in The Wall Street Journal,, The Boston Globe, New England Cable News, and countless cycling magazines, websites, blogs and social networking sites. A six-time national champion, Johnson’s star power delivered something to the National Bike Summit that advocacy alone has struggled to muster: major media attention for the societal benefits of bicycling.

If you’d like to participate, visit the website above; if you’d like to donate to my effort (and the greater good), please visit this site.

In the meantime, if you any of you avid winter cyclists know how to stay warm when the temperature is in the teens, please do advise. I have particularly trouble keeping the extremities toasty, so gloves recommendations are welcome.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2012 at 3:31 pm and is filed under Bicycles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

10 Responses to “The Ride on Washington”

  1. Matt C Says:

    RE: Warmth. Below 20*F, my gloves don’t cut it. I recently bought electrically heated glove liners, the kind used by motorcycle riders. I run the wires down the inside of my sleeve to an inner pocket where I have the controller (twist knob bor more heat!) and a 14v rechargeable battery, a high power density lithium polymer battery like the kind radio controlled car/aircraft enthusiasts use.

    Heated socks are available too but for my rides up to 20 miles I have not had the need.

  2. Noah Says:

    A lot of guys like the lobster gloves:

    I’ve also heard of clip on hand guards… clip onto the handle bars and protect your hands from the wind. They look dorky, but I’m told they work.

    If you’re not sweating too much, I would think motorcycling gloves could be a great solution. Olympia the best brand for the money.

    And of course, don’t forget the hand warmers. I’ve also found that a cheap, then balaclava provides the most warmth for the smallest size and cost. Try to get with one with a soft fleece interior. Wish I had more direct experience with these products, but I try not to ride too much below 20F.

  3. Jens Says:

    Pogies work great in cold weather. You can do some googling to find out what options there are and what works for your bike. Advantage: they are comfy, work great and don’t interfere with shifting or breaking. Disadvantage: Dedicated bike gear, can’t be used for other purposes.

  4. Alex Says:

    I have a much shorter daily ride than the one you are undertaking but I came across this post at Clever Cycles while trying to figure out how to keep my hands warm. I was amazed that even just the wool liners do pretty well (again, shorter ride) down to about 25 F.

  5. Patrick Says:

    Manzella makes good wind/waterproof gloves and mittens, rated by warmth.

    I like the “cascade convertible” mittens for when the temp drops into the 20s and below. That’s very rare here (portland) and they’re too warm for the rest of our mild winter. But they or another similar Manzella glove might be the ticket.

    I use their “ranch hand” gloves for rainy bicycling and outdoor work. Theyre comfortable and really waterproof.

  6. Brian Ogilvie Says:

    I like the lobster gloves, with a pair of lightweight glove liners underneath them to wick sweat. Get a size that lets you slip a chemical hand and toe warmer in them. I find mine are too warm unless the temperature drops into the teens.

    Pogies are another option.

    The Icebike site is a useful winter cycling resource:

  7. Obbie Z Says:

    Sometimes the bike shop might fall short in providing winter riding gear (they seem to cater to the “type A” riders who go south in the winter, rather than the year-round commuters like me). When that happens, check out what skiers or snowmobilers wear.

    Here in Wisconsin, I have an outfit that keeps me warm down to -20F. The key is layers, starting with a body layer that wicks away moisture, up to a heavily insulated outer layer. I wear ski goggles when it’s snowing or super-cold, and I have a down hood that my helmet squeezes over. I have a “winter helmet” with less ventilation and lacking the undercarriage of modern helmets… it’s an old shell type from the 90s, but it works well over my head warming layers in the winter.

    From a safety standpoint, think bright colors and lots of lights. People don’t expect to see you, unplowed shoulders will force you further into traffic than you’d like, so the more you can do to be more visible, the better.

    To me, my biggest beef with winter riding isn’t the cold or even the snow or ice… it’s the salty brown slop you get when salt and sand mix with partially melted snow. It gets all over your bike and all over your clothes… very messy. As long as I’m working days (when the buses run), I take the bus unless the streets are dry.

  8. Tom Vanderbilt Says:

    Thanks all for the great suggestions, all.

  9. Fran Horan Says:

    The lobster gloves work really well, my record low in them is 10 deg last winter and 16 deg this winter, in Maryland. I have ones by Pearl Izumi. Thick wool hiking socks for the feet works most of the time for me. Maybe shoe covers on top when it gets into the teens.

    But in March I’m thinking the temperature won’t get that low. Instead the problem I would expect is being cold and wet, and keeping yourself dry. I’ll take 16 deg and dry over 35 deg and wet.

    Last tip is just get out there and ride in the cold because there seems to be an acclimation factor, you just get used to it.

    I was hoping you were coming down to DC. I’m doing the Baltimore to DC leg of the Tim Johnson ride. Another friend thinking of doing this last leg works on the DC bikeshare system, you could be getting info while on the ride, totally work related :)

  10. Opus the Poet Says:

    OK, so how did the ride/summit go for you? It’s been ages and inquiring minds want to know.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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