Inline Skating In Winter
Practical notes on inline skating in Chicago in winter.
Unwilling to surrender, I've been psyching to do some "Bike Winter" fun over next few months. I'm opening this entry to record practical advice on winter biking, and to pursue the concept of winter inline skating.
Bike Winter simplifies that in the absence of frost to snow, which is most days, winter biking is the same pavement and winds as other seasons, just more clothes. Target clear days with lows over 20. Dress is key: wear layers, with inner wicking (not cotton), middle insulating (sweater ok), and outer windbreaking (thin ok). For head a Balaclava and goggles are fairly required for coldest conditions. Torso use three layers. Hands consider two layers. Winter-weatherproof outer pants recommended. Appropriate boots and multiple socks. Light outer cover is counterintuitive to parka convention, but works flexibly for athletics. Additional practical hints: seal just before leaving and shed immediately upon returning indoors to minimize sweating; check your brake pads; add blinkers and reflectors; carry hot drink.
Post-Friday's Bike Winter Kickoff Karoake Ride notes: I analyzed needs, went to Target with $200 cash, and got good stuff, particularly jacket, underthings, gloves, Balaclava, more. Not new expenses, I needed additional winter wear anyway. Ride was perfect. Group of 12+ gathered in Handlebar's backyard, I announced myself joyfully with "Skate Winter Bitches!" (did it on skates). Ammo and Boi, Howard, Martin, and several others I should know by now. I was spiced tea fueled already (on cab ride) and late, others were similarly desensitized. Ride succesfully hit three Karoake bars, stopping at length in two (middle one was too crowded), and all (except me) thoroughly embarrased themselves. We also made liqour store and ATM stops. Ride later pathed on Google Earth for me back to home total was about 12 miles, and bank thermometers en-route showed upper 20s. Problem areas were exactly as predicted, underdressed legs began to stiffen and slow. Overdressed torso overheated. Others complained mainly of cold feet. Ride was fast, being small cold group, and I was forced into long streches of hard aerobics. An assumption I've learned is that for such an expedition every piece of the outfit (especially over mouth) will be saturated with body fluids and require washing every time. Detailed specs on recommended outfit to be posted here later.
My "Bike Winter" bottom line, no seasons are off-limits for skating/biking, with exceptions for moisture and wind and hazard and temperature extremes at any time. But winter adds prep time and severly limited mobility. I have learned that errand/commute/travel inline skating in the 8-10 mile range is possible in 20+ degree cold, though I don't see making it a daily thing.