Wind chill chart borrowed from the DMI website.
(click for a larger version)
Mph = m/s x 2.2. Or Kmt/1.61 50kmt~=30mph.
The -5C column usually applies at the moment. Though it dropped to -8, -10 and two days of -13 only a few days later.
Notice the effect of any wind on the effective temperature. Now imagine going downhill into a stiff wind at -5C. I have been outside at -23C with a very gentle breeze. No fun at all! I would never consider riding in such low temperatures. My lowest starting temperature to date was -15C in almost still conditions with bright sunshine. I can still almost remember the pain in my toes and fingers and face. A good 30mph downhill run at -15C would be the equivalent of -40C in still air. The pain in my face is awful even at much lower speeds. Yet I can't cover my face and breathe at the same time. Only a balaclava with a large mouth opening and nose cover would help to avoid icing and steaming up my ski goggles.
My daily temperature readings are taken from a a digital thermometer with an outside sensor on a long lead. The outside sensor is in free air in shadow about 15' above the ground. I have checked it against another and they agree to within a small fraction of a degree. I check the temperature just before leaving and just after I come back.
My thin, poly balaclava is handy to keep my ears and neck warm but reduces beneficial ventilation around the neck. It is also rather tight and squashes my ears. My head seems to be the main culprit in overheating when I have too many layers. A Thinsulate double thickness hat with ear flaps would be better than the balaclava under a tea-cosy. My only ear-flap hat is double fleece and very thick. It wont (remotely) go under the Abus helmet.
With cycling, it's always a fine balance between comfort, being too cool and overheating. All due to the highly variable exercise going on inside the clothing. The wind is most difficult factor to cope with due to wind chill of poorly protected extremities. This year and the whole of the last has been ridiculously windy but relatively dry.
All of my cycling jackets and racing jerseys have come from charity shops scattered over a very wide area. Most visits draw a complete blank but (far more importantly) they offer suitable goals for further exploration on the trike.
Tricycling has arguably kept me fit and alive when my high blood pressure was a constant worry. The cost of lifelong drugs to treat the problem would be much better spent on woolly socks and new inner tubes. So it was. I haven't measured my blood pressure for a couple of years. Nor do I eat Danish pastries any more. We never ate or drank much in the way of non-food items anyway.
It sounds completely daft but I'd rather be relatively poor than very rich. I would hate the boredom of being so wealthy that I could afford to satisfy every whim. It would be hell on earth for me! So many useless possessions! The sense of anticipation would be completely absent. The effort that goes into the search and research before a rare purchase can be almost tasted. I thrive on bargains. Hate keeping up appearances for their own sake.
Imagine having to own a BMW or Audi because it is expected of you? Is there any worse fate than this? Imagine clumsily damaging an older car in a supermarket car park with your "posh ride". Simply because you are too damned careless to bother about your pathetic driving skills? Then telling the owner/victim that it doesn't really matter because it's an old car? This has happened to me three times in the past few years. I couldn't live with that mindset. Have they no pride at all?
My remarkable cycling wardrobe means a new, fairly tidy and completely different appearance on most days of the year. I like the variation and it adds another item to the vital list of reasons to go out. The "nutter on the trike" thus feels part of the cycling fraternity. Even when he is chugging along at half the speed of those similarly dressed. While often pushing three times the dead (mechanical) weight uphill and down. (and usually feeling superior about it as he gets dropped as if riding backwards)
Having the right cycling clothing is not so much about appearance as comfort. For the most part it works and works damned well! A cotton T-shirt under a fleece jacket topping a pair of cut-off jeans must be about the worst choice of cycling outfit on the planet. Yet some people never even try the correct attire. They think they look cool when they are anything but. Or freezing their nuts off screaming downhill after getting up a good sweat on the long climb.
It would be so incredibly easy just to get in the car and do a week's shopping. Instead of which I am forced to enjoy a daily change of weather, season and scenery, fresh air and quite daft amounts of exercise for an "old codger." I'm a couple of months shy of normal retirement age. I'm also far fitter than many people of half my age. Regular visits to the quack are now a very distant memory. I thus avoid burdening the system (and my own) unnecessarily.
I see different people almost every day. The trike is an ice-breaker and often leads to a chat outside a supermarket. They say most old people are lonely these days. If the trike gives them an excuse to exchange a couple of words for the first time in weeks then why not? I don't usually start conversations but I always talk to any dogs, horses and cats I might pass. Well, you have to, don't you?
I grin at everybody who stares at me. Okay, I sport an extra wheel. Deal with it! I gently greet, wave or smile at most passing cyclists. How else will they know I am eccentric but still safely normal? Better three wheels than one short of a set! Trikes are infinitely more sensible than a mono-cycle. Far safer than two wheels on icy surfaces.
The Trykit 2WD makes child's play of climbing on snow.
The photographer makes a childish mistake with the clumsy foreground.
Living rural-detached I would otherwise see nobody except my long-suffering wife. Chief Laundress, Head Gardener and learned council all rolled up into a small, neat bundle. My absence, on my daily rides, gives her time to relax and think up new reasons to nag me when I finally struggle home again. I can even stretch out the daily riding experience to blogging and photography. Though this often means even more time rattling away on the computer. Only 16 miles and all this chat? It hardly seems justification enough to be going out. But at least you have been given some clues as to why I do.
I went through hell to get fitter, lighter and better. If a lazy sod like me can do it then, probably, so can you. The downside is that you could end up addicted to riding an old racing trike uphill and down dale in all weathers. Then nattering about it endlessly on a blog. But, surely, there are far, far worse fates that that!