New Years Overnight Tour

January 16th, 2012

Given the unseasonably warm weather in Massachusetts, I managed to persuade my fiance to go on an overnight bike tour around the Quabbin Reservoir spanning New Years. We followed the Seven Hills Wheelman King’s Tour of the Quabbin starting and ending in Barre, and staying in Amherst. (We made a wrong turn right at the beginning and added a few miles that way, and then darkness fell while we were still in Belchertown, and we took a cab to the Amherst Inn, where we had an awesome stay.) The trip was awesome, and I’d love to do more all-weather touring.

The weather on the first day was around 40, very hazy and damp, but the rain had stopped by the time we started (around noon – is it a wonder we ran out of sunlight?). I basically wore my normal commuter outfit in those conditions — breathable shell, sweater, one short sleeve wicking shirt, one long sleeved shirt, wool gloves, jeans, long johns, two pairs of wool socks, timberland shoes. I wore the same combination the second day, minus one shirt (it was around 50 that day). My feet still got cold after four hours in the cold, but everything else was very comfortable. I packed extra layers for when we were off the bike.

My fiance had a similar setup, although she tends to run colder, so she had one some extra layers on top. She had less on her feet — one pair of socks and canvas shoes — and even on the second, warmer day, she described her feet after a couple hours as “blocks of ice”.

Today was cool but not cold, about 40 degrees, lots of water on the pavement but no rain. My prediction that the wet, cold, windy storm from yesterday scared away all the bikers for the season has one data point of support.

Clothing: Same as yesterday, no fleece. Perfect temperature, not a cold or warm moment. Kind of like riding in a bubble.

Equipment: Same as yesterday, rode the studded commuter bike. The unused studs put me in the odd position of hoping to see ice so I can poke it in the eye.

Weird observation: the wider, treaded tire throws up less water (or am I going slower?) than the road tires I normally ride. Further investigation is warranted.