Cold-Weather Cycling by Alan Bragman, D.C.

Having grown up in the Midwest and lived in the south, I have experienced some incredible weather extremes. They include riding in temperatures as low as 7F degrees and running and cross-country skiing at -20F. Several years ago while vacationing in the California wine country; I rode from Calistoga to Sonoma in 115F-degree heat. This was not a particularly fun ride, especially when I ran out of water with 10 miles to go. An elderly woman watering her garden saved me by filling my bottles.

Most riders need to deal with extreme weather if they train year round. Professional cyclists certainly do. They’re subjected to blinding snowstorms, hail, rain, and terrific heat. Lousy weather is just another challenge in a very difficult profession.

As a recreational cyclist you are not under this same pressure to get on your bike no matter what. However, if you limit yourself to riding only on sunny, mild days you won’t ride very often. Training in extreme conditions doesn’t have to be unpleasant if you have the proper attire and preparation. This eArticle will discuss how to cope with cold weather.

Cold Facts

It takes time to acclimate the body to cold weather. The first few days of riding in the cold will be the worst. With time the body adapts by producing more heat at a faster rate. The more time spent exercising in the cold, the faster this adaption occurs.

As we age, however, our bodies become less tolerant and slower to adjust to weather extremes. Older cyclists generally have decreased peripheral circulation and they produce less body heat, making it harder to keep hands and feet warm.

Air temperature is not the only factor determining how cold you might feel on a given day. Other variants include wind speed and direction, humidity, and cloud cover. A common method of measuring the temperature sensed by the skin is the windchill index.

When the index temperature (chart below) is above -25F degrees, no unusual precautions need to be taken. When it goes below -25F degrees, you’re the zone of increased danger. Special care should be taken with regard to clothing and exposure in order to maintain a safe body temperature. When the windchill reaches -74F degrees or below, you’re in the zone of great danger. Exercise should be severely limited, postponed or done indoors.

A key factor affecting windchill is wind direction. Riding into a crosswind has but a fraction of the impact of a headwind. Of course, riding into a headwind can dramatically increase the windchill because your road speed adds to the wind speed. On cold and windy days, try to ride in parks, neighborhoods or on sheltered road with natural wind breaks such as trees, buildings or hills. Also consider dividing a ride in half so you can get warm in between. During cold conditions some riders choose to start the ride with a tailwind so they can warm up, then face the headwind on the return trip. Other riders prefer the opposite — fighting the headwind when they’re fresh, then U-turning to let the wind blow them home.

Book Review: Fruit, The Ripe Pick by T. M. Gorman

Have you ever bitten into a luscious-looking peach only to find it dry, mealy and tasteless inside? Or sliced into that 20-pound watermelon you just lugged home from the store, anticipating something crisp and sweet but finding it bland and anemic instead?
It’s a common occurrence among fruit lovers. Little-known signs of perfect ripeness elude even the most experienced shoppers.
T. M. Gorman understands; she often eagerly sampled fruit only to experience profound disappointment. After some heavy research, she learned the secrets of proper fruit selection and shares her expertise in her new book, Fruit, The Ripe Pick.
This pocket-sized quick-reference guide describes 50 different fruits, from common everyday varieties to exotic rarities. Chapters are organized alphabetically for quick and easy access and show how to use sight, touch and smell to find prime ripe specimens.
Learning these valuable tips and techniques not only yields great-tasting fruit, but also saves time and money. You learn to identify the most popular varieties of each fruit, discover peak seasons and best times to buy, and acquire essential nutritional information, including vitamin and mineral content, calorie count, and fat/carbohydrate content.
If you crave a lusciously perfect watermelon, peach, pear, or one of those exotic tropical fruits showing up in produce sections these days, this handbook will show you how to select fruit for optimum freshness and taste.
This book also abounds in interesting historical facts and fascinating trivia about fruit that make it fun to read. At a retail price of only $9.95, this pocket-sized quick-reference is an affordable and entertaining way to uncover the mystery of proper fruit selection.