Warmest Wishes

    It’s winter, at least here in the good hemisphere.

    So are your little tootsies cold?

    If so, there are lots and lots of shoes to try:

    “You don’t know from cold, you live in New York!,” you might be thinking if you’re this guy:

    Well, fine Nevertheless, when I worked briefly as a bike messenger, I tried putting plastic bags over my feet and under my shoes in the cold winter rain, with mixed results. Then I became a bike racer, and for years in order to keep my feet warm I’d wear shoe covers, or booties. You know, like this type of thing:

    I had different ones depending on how cold it was, and I even had the ones that are like socks that go over your shoes:

    Shoe covers are a good solution if you’re a total weenie like I was and you’re always wearing racing-type shoes. They make less sense when your racing days are long behind you and they just get all tattered and ragged from walking in them, and therefore winding up costing more in the long run than actual shoes. So several years ago I put these on my Christmas list:

    They’re quite warm and perfectly walkable, and despite their clunky appearance they feel just fine even when riding a road-type bicycle with mountain bike-type pedals:

    Increasingly though I’ve learned to just dispense with that stuff altogether when it gets seriously cold, use flat pedals, and wear regular clothes and shoes:

    Hiking boots, long underwear, wool sweaters…the same stuff that keeps you warm off the bike will keep you warm on the bike. No, that stuff doesn’t always work so good on a road bike or a racy mountain bike, but on a bike like a Jones or a Rivendell you’re sitting fairly upright, so you don’t have to worry about your sleeves being too short or your tramp stamp area showing because your sweater is riding up, and you’ve got the tire volume to get out of the wind and seek shelter in the trees:

    I’ll probably always get dressed up and do the ceremonial roadie thing from time to time–at least as long as I’m physically able to sufficiently contort myself–but I’m no longer inclined to maintain it once it gets too far below freezing, or deal with the highly sophisticated wardrobe curation an all-Lycra, all-the-time lifestyle requires.

    Though if a nice fancy jacket happens along that’s something else entirely:

    I did operate in Road Mode yesterday since it sunny and not too cold, and because road conditions were good I rode the Viner Nishiki Cervino for the first time in awhile:

    I realize it’s silly to baby a bike, but since the Cervino is sort of a museum piece I like to spare it from road salt and grit. Also, I like to reduce my odds of having to wrestle with a flat tubular tire:

    Fortunately for real-world winter road conditions I have another more dogged Italian road bike:

    [“A Viner and a Faggin walk into a bar…”]

    As for footwear, my vintage Specialized shoes kept my feet sufficiently warm:

    Despite being ATB-oriented they work well with old road pedals:

    Though I bet they’d work even better if I had Webfoot:

    If you suspect you may have Webfoot, be sure to visit a podiatrist.

    Having not ridden the Cervino for awhile, I was stricken by how smooth and comfy it felt. While the tubular tires may have something to do with that, or perhaps even the tubing, I suspect the main reason is that it’s got a few more centimeters of head tube than its cugino rosa:

    I guess you come to appreciate verticality as you get closer and closer to being permanently horizontal.

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