Yes, it’s that time of year again. I’m out there riding around in what passes for cold weather here in the suburbs of Hell, and things are, well cold as Hell.
There is a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather just improper clothing for the weather. I want to tell you that finding the proper clothing to wear while riding a bicycle in the winter in this area is like looking for a needle in a haystack, when you have several haystacks in several fields and you aren’t even sure you’re in the right field. I’m not saying there isn’t any cold weather gear here, I’m saying that selection is rather limited if your budget is limited. This isn’t Portland with a bike store just about on every corner (across from the coffee shop) and the LBS here don’t cater to the commuting crowd, because the 8 or 9 of us just don’t constitute a “crowd”. Finding commuter-specific gear is a challenge. Finding gloves that let me use the controls of the bike for something other than a grab handle is the biggest challenge of all here in the MetroMess.
So, here’s the call: I need certain items of cold-weather gear that I just can’t get in the DFW area. I have the long underwear and the long-sleeved jersey areas covered, I’m getting a cheap MX helmet to mod into a winter bicycling helmet so that’s covered, what I’m having difficulty finding are tights and warm bike gloves that fit my short, fat fingers. I wear a 9 1/2 glove in US military sizing, a M in US civilian sizing and a XXL in Chinese import sizing. My winter gloves adapted from other uses seem to have about a 2 year life here in TX, usually the back of the right index finger seems to wear out letting in the cold but the rest of the glove looks fine. Tights around here are mostly for women’s use, tights for men are like hen’s teeth. In tights I wear whatever fits a 36-38 waist. Most of the tights I have now started as basic black but they have faded to dark blue or a warm chocolate brown, and I wouldn’t mind a safety lime pair. I don’t like looking like a reject from Who Wants to be a Superhero but given a choice between that or getting killed, I’ll be a fashion martyr over being a real martyr.
If you have solutions to these problems please leave a comment with your e-mail addy so I can take the conversation private.
The Feed is seriously anemic today, with one wreck in CA, and a something in India that I can’t identify so you won’t have to figure it out either. So, I have a minor infrastructure rant down by the bottom of today’s post so this won’t have been a wasted click getting here. Sorry about those of you that have been clicking and getting only yesterday’s post, but I was waiting for something to show up to post about.
Up first, and last, is the one single link in the Feed that I could figure out what the heck was going on, a hit-and-run in San Francisco CA. Cyclist Seriously Injured In Mission Hit And Run This was a left-cross wreck in addition to being hit-and-run, use intersection protocols to avoid a similar situation.
I have been thinking, and reading (real books) about bicycle infrastructure. I have noticed 2 things, properly designed infrastructure increases bicycle mode share and decreases traffic congestion (until the bicycle share gets big enough to overwhelm that part of the roads), and installing bike infrastructure during road construction and integrating its design into the road design costs a lot less than trying to retrofit. The irony where I live is many of the original suburban towns around Dallas are having to retrofit pedestrian infrastructure to their previous auto-centric urban planning. There are actually miles of roads that have no provision for pedestrian travel and are the only way to access large swaths of retail. Here in Garland we have a major shopping area (Firewheel “Mall”, not actually a mall but a strip shopping center on mega-doses of steroids) that has only a single bus route and a single pedestrian access point that is located on the opposite side of 2 limited access highways from almost the entire town. At this point they are having difficulty understanding why they keep losing stores that depend on walkup trade. Also I have only been able to find 6 slots to lock up bicycles, and they are located away from sightlines and are unsecured, or in other words not the places you would want to lock up your sole means of transportation, while the area is surrounded by a sea of empty parking. I mean even during the X-mas rush there were acres of empty asphalt barren of cars. This little slice of Hell is located 2 miles (by bike) from my house. This kind of urban planning is the norm where I live, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is retrofitted if it even exists at all and is inadequate where it does exist.
And that’s all the news that gives me fits, plus an editorial.
Billed @$0.02, Opus