Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Melo Velo Bike Swap

Last spring, there was mention of a Cycling Club forming in Clemson. (Greenville has the Greenville Spinners.) At the time, I had just heard of Melo Velo by word of mouth. They have a website up and running. One of their highlighted events is a Bike Swap this Saturday, November 19 in the parking lot of the Hudson Bagel Company in Clemson. Anyone is invited to bring equipment to sell or just stop by to see what others have. After the Bike Swap, there will be an opportunity for a bike ride. There will be three different rides for three different types of riders. Check out the website for more info.

Melo Velo, welcome to the Upstate!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

University Campuses (Repost)

In September 2011, Mia Birk came to South Carolina. I mentioned it here. She's done a lot for biking. Here's a link to her TEDx talk about her "joyride." Her most recent blog post (on her blog) is one worth reading. She talks about the value of College Campuses related to biking. The points are valuable, especially in the Upstate. Clemson University, Furman University, Wofford College, Anderson University, Southern Wesleyan University and a slew of other higher education campuses call this region home and could have a powerful influence on biking.

Some of Mia's Ideas:

  • Have a good Bike Plan
  • Hire dedicated staff to address transportation (bike) issues
  • Develop a joint bike advisory committee between the university and college town.
  • Educate students in orientation material - before they get to campus.
  • Consider changing parking policy and costs.

Wouldn't it be powerful if the University's lead the way, engaging students to consider how biking can play a role in their recreation and transportation lifestyles? Not everyone can afford a car - and not everyone can live without one.

Read Mia Birk's blog post. There are powerful ideas that come from years of experience. Shaping them to fit the needs and culture of the Upstate is something to consider!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cold Weather Biking :: What to Wear

Brrrr! There's a bite to the morning air as we move deep into Fall. November brings colder temps, but not cold enough to put up the bike for the season if you know how to dress.

I learned how to dress by biking late into November and starting in early March in Wisconsin - just as long as there was dry pavement and no snow, I would ride. That meant riding in and dressing for morning temps of 30 degrees! Was I crazy? Maybe. But I loved to ride, and I was determined not to let the temps get in my way.

Interested in learning how stay warmer during your ride? Whether your a daily commuter, recreational rider, road cyclist or a mountain biker, the tips below may help you learn how to dress for cold temperatures.

Rule #1:  Layer. A little bit of layering will go a long way. You can buy the athletic wear that's meant to wick-away sweat or hold in heat, but cotton clothing goes a long way in keeping your core warm. Layer in tight fit clothing on the first layer. Sport those spandex tops and pants. Put on your long-johns under a pair of jeans and your riding shirt. Take off the under layers once you arrive at your destination. If it's really cold, I'll wear my long spandex shorts under my biking shorts with a long pair of cotton socks underneath it all. On top, I'll wear a short sleeve cotton t-shirt, my long sleeve spandex top and then either my polar fleece vest or my light spring jacket.

Rule #2:  Hat + Gloves. No matter how much you layer, you'll need to invest in a set of hats and gloves to make it through the additional chill you'll encounter as you ride in the cold. I ride with my open-finger biking gloves until it gets really cold. Then I switch to a thin pair of polar fleece gloves with grip on the bottom. (I've tried layering two pairs of those thin stretchy gloves, but the cold still gets through.) Some suggest investing in ski gloves or buying gloves made specifically for biking in the cold. Wearing a hat will go a long way in keeping the rest of you warm. If you wear a helmet, buy a thin hat. You won't need to worry about investing in something heavy duty if your ride keeps you moving. Some riders in cold areas wear a balaclava.

Rule #3:  7 minutes. This is the amount of time it usually takes to warm up. If you can make it this far, the rest of your ride you'll be warm. At this point, you may be able to tell if you've over or under dressed for your ride. If you're sweatin' buckets, you've overdressed (and might catch a chill). If you're still cold, you've under dressed - power through and get home.

It takes practice. Experience is the best teacher. After a few rides, you'll get the hang of what you need to wear to stay warm in cold temps.