6 December 2007

Things people say, No. 2

Posted by todd under: Things people say .

DON’T YOU GET COLD?

RESPONSE: The short answer is No, but there’s a little more to it.

This tends to come up on days when the temperature drops below 35 degrees. The definition of “cold” here in Kentucky is different than what I’m used to.

When I was a boy, my family lived in northwest Nebraska, and I delivered papers on my bike every morning starting at about 6 a.m. You want to talk about COLD: I remember one week when it got down to minus 30 F for several days (NOT COUNTING windchill). Temperatures well below zero were common during winters there in the early 1980s. Once I forgot my facemask hat. By the time my route was over, the tip of my nose had turned white. We were getting into To Build a Fire territory.

It doesn’t get anywhere NEAR that cold in Kentucky.

But I digress. What was the question again?

Oh, yes. For one thing, you soon learn to dress for cold weather (more on this later — the key is to wear a hat or earband when it gets below 50 degrees or so — there’s nothing like cold ears to ruin a ride.) For another, it’s amazing how quickly body heat builds up inside even a light jacket on a cold day. Experts tell runners to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer outside when they run in the winter; I’d say that’s about right for cycling as well.

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About the picture atop the page

Yes, that's me, Todd Van Campen. No, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yes, I usually wear one, so please don't scold! Seriously, I endorse wearing a helmet! Pinky swear! In fact, I almost ALWAYS wear one (while riding a bike anyway). (On the other hand, if YOU don't want to wear a helmet, I have no problem with it.) I don't remember what happened on this particular day. Fortunately for all of us it makes for a less-nerdly picture. My exceptionally talented professional photographer friend Charles Bertram took this photo.

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Art for art’s sake

I asked my 6-year-old son, Caleb, an avid bicyclist and artist, to draw a bike for me. I think he did a great job!

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