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Dress right

Posted Wednesday, November 30, 2011, at 12:20 PM

On Facebook yesterday an acquaintance posted a timely quote: "There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing."

He allowed as how that was a good observation, having just returned from a run during which "the rain started to harden as I arrived home."

He attributed the saying to an old cross-country coach. Others chimed in, asserting that the quote came from Maria Montessori or was a Scandinavian proverb.

A reply from someone down south, wondering what all the fuss was about. "The rain never hardens in Louisiana!"

Whoever said it first certainly came from a place with shivery, wet weather. Could have been a Missourian.

We've got the shivery part today. With the morning temperature down near 20, it was time for me to break out the old, patched, but still effective coveralls.

I get comments occasionally from people who wonder about the advisability of bicycling through the winter months (and about the sanity of someone who does). It's really not all that crazy -- as long as you dress for the weather.

With coveralls, boots, two pairs of socks, gloves, scarf and a hat with ear flaps, there's really only about three inches of face that's exposed to whatever the weather's doing. I may look like Randy in the movie "A Christmas Story," but I stay warm, more or less.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the weather doesn't matter (Fate has a way of ruthlessly punishing people who say such things). As the same friend noted, quoting another runner: "37 degree rain is the worst weather."

For runners, maybe. For us cyclists, it's ice.

Of course, moving parts like brake levers and derailleurs tend to seize up when the temperatures get into single digits and below. And it's tough -- sometimes impossible -- to pedal through more than about six inches of snow. But ice is the worst in my book. It's treacherous and unforgiving and nasty and malicious and treacherous.

Coveralls do not supply adequate padding for landing abruptly on icy streets.

If the forecast for Saturday night is right, it looks like I'll be keeping my coveralls in the closet and my bike parked on Sunday.

Otherwise, no worries.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Eric I can't be certain whether you will consider the following to be a compliment, or a curse. I hope that you are pedaling the streets of Marshall for the next twenty years. I think that if you stay, and continue your good works, some day they will put a statute somewhere, you on your bike, as if still steadfastly making your rounds.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Dec 3, 2011, at 1:47 AM

I'm going to take it as a compliment, OKR, and I only hope I can live up to your kind words! I do intend to keep peddling around as long as the old knees hold up :-)

-- Posted by Eric Crump on Sat, Dec 3, 2011, at 6:28 AM


Apparently we have the same compulsions: ride all winter no matter what. You are right about ice; it's the worst. I started using studded tires 5 years ago and they rock. I'll bet Mizz. is like Columbus, any snow turns to ice within a day. The tires have helped me feel comfortable (with all the classy clothes you mentioned :) even on frozen days. I bought studs to strap on to my shoes for the worst days: only inappropriate clothes.

-- Posted by selfe3 on Sat, Dec 3, 2011, at 1:27 PM

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Eric Crump is a former editor of The Marshall Democrat-News. He lives elsewhere now but still loves Marshall and Saline County. He's trying to catch up on all the stories he should have written while he was on staff.
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