Thursday, November 4, 2010

Handlebar Booties

Last February I got my hands on these Handlebar Booties courtesy of my buddy Andrew at Cycle Solutions. He let me know of these winter lovelies that are a wicked solution to the problem of winter riding.

Since I have been out here I have had to make do with various combinations of bulky gloves. And since I tend to run warm things get sweaty in some of the other systems I have tried. Plus the problem other issue with bulky winter gloves is that one start to lose feel, meaning you not only have a harder time gripping the bar but also as the glove thickness increases you start to lose that feel of what the bike is doing.

Similar to what you see riders use in Iditabike, but without all the extras like pockets. Enough room though if you want to stick a small camera for short periods.

The day these pictures where taken was -24 on the way to work and I wore just a standard pair of full fingers and no issue. Which for me is a good thing as Goretex gloves turn into a sweat sauna when I use them.

These are only usable on bikes with flat or riser bars. So that means road and cross bikes are out of luck. But this is about keeping the mountain biking in the fun of minus 20 Ontario winter.

Dundas Monstercross

On October 2nd was the social event of the fall Cyclocross season, the Dundas Monstercross in Hamilton.

So after some thought the decision was made. Departed Toronto at the wonderful time of 7am and headed out on the 401. Smooth sailing till near Hamilton when had the fun of getting around all the highway repaving. But no worries as all in attendance where still getting gear sorted and dressed when I arrived. Sadly I have never been good remembering names but it was great to meet Linda, Tom, and Marc the organizer of this ride as well as his wife Nerdgirl.. Which turned out to be to celebrate his birthday.

So after the usual talking, changing, checking of tires , and posturing with bikes. We were off. Mark led us on an interesting route that combined a bit of road connectors, rail trail, double track, and a wee bit of singletrack. Really I have no real clue where Marc led us but does it really matter? It's all about getting out with people and having fun. Had a mix of bikes which in order of majority- 29ers, Cross bikes, and one lone token 26 inch wheel mountain bike.

Having never ridden at all in 8 years of moving to Ontario in the Dundas/Hamilton area. It was nice to sample some new trails. Though I have no clue really what the route was as I mentioned earlier. Though I think the Deer head on the trail discovery was the weird find of the ride. And Tom riding his SS Steelwool worked on his rut magnet skills was entertaining. especially when you consider Marc was on a skinny tired cross bike. But it is nice not at times not having to make these difficult route choices and just ride. Plus the evil rain held off till near the end so we avoided getting the wet gear march to Garage Monster's Lair.

After 3 plus hours we returned to the Lair and thus began the pumpkin soup phase of this Monstercross Duathlon. Nothing like warming up after a chilly misty fall ride with warm soup. And the Garage Monster makes good pumpkin soup. Of course chased with a bit of alcohol. And a gathering of cyclists can't be completed without talking about cycling, impersonating race officials, and such other cycling topics.

After a good feed thus began the drive home along the brake light freeway oops, I mean the QEW towards Toronto. Sadly the plan to ride a bit more as the rain came down and thwarted my plan for checking out the Waterdown trails and simply had to start the long drive home.