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   It has been a difficult time for my bicycle hardware. Pictured is a repaired battery pack. Water got into the pack and corroded connection to one side. I repaired it and the battery seems to be functional again. That is not the case for some other items. I am still down a headlight, a missing taillight, and my cycling shoe covers are shredding.  Winter has been hard on my bike.

No tailight

No tailight

After my ride to breakfast this morning I noticed the tail light was gone. On further examination I found the connector to disconnecting the light had a piece of plastic still in it. This means the light broke completely off. Sad. I liked that light.
   Temperature this morning was an astounding 50°F/10°C which is well above normal for January and especially warm just before dawn when the normal temperature should be 9°F/-13°C.  I rode to work in a light shirt and cycling gloves.  These are spring temperatures.
   Clearly this was not to last.  Wind shifted to the northwest and the temperatures took a nosedive.  By the time I rode home the temperature dropped to 28°F/-2°C and I had a sustained headwind of 13 MPH/21 KPH with gusts of 21 MPH/34 KPH.  Temperatures will continue to fall and should be in the teens tomorrow.
   Above normal temperatures today.  Morning ride was 36°F/2°C and the ride home 41°F/5°C.
   My primary headlight has been acting up.  The wide angle lights work fine, but the center bright light has been acting strange.  Initially I thought it was a connector issue and went about cleaning the connector.  The connectors are better now but the problem is deeper.  While I can’t trace down exactly what the issue is, the light has some kind of electrical issue.  I think it’s dead.
   Not a terrible run for the light.  I picked it up in September 2011, and it was repaired in July of 2012.  The light had an 18 month warranty, but it is now month 76 (6 and a quarter years).
   A picture of my icicle from yesterday's ride home.  My new ski goggles do a much better job than my previous pair.  They have a couple of things going for them the old pair did not.  There is some kind of anti-fog treatment on the inside lens, and have a double lens.  The double lens means the inside lens which is exposed to my face will not be as cold as the outer lens exposed to the air.  With less temperature differential not as much condensation should occur.  So far it works pretty well.  When I stop at long lights I tend to pull the goggle up over my helmet or fogging does occur.  Once they do start to form fog it is fairly persistent.  It usually freezes and short of going inside I have found no way to get rid of it.  My only complaint about wearing goggles is the limiting to my peripheral vision.  To look behind me requires a lot more turning.  Luckily I have a helmet mounted mirror so I generally know what to expect before looking. 


   Short week this week.  I exchanged last Friday for Tuesday and thus only worked 3 days.  To meet my mile quota I needed to ride all 3 days this week.  The breakfast ride was the coldest of the week at -6°F (-21°C).  When I arrived I could not see in the restaurant despite the entire side of the building being covered in glass.  All the glass was frosted over.  Despite being -6 I've started to grow used to the cold ride.  I wear my light cycling jacket, thin long sleeve shirt, thermal pants, wool socks, shoe covers, mittens with hand warmers, light balaclava, face mask, ear muffs and ski goggles.  Once warmed up this is all I require.
   On the ride home yesterday I tried just using a double shirt rather than my coat.  It was just a bit too cold for comfort at the end of the ride.  The problem is the return trip, while typically warmer than the mornings, usually has a headwind.  Winds lately have been from the north west which is my direction of travel for my last leg of the trip.  So I've decided that the cutoff for double shirts is 10°F (-12°C). 
   My coworkers seeing me getting ready often express the same surprised question: "That's all you are wearing?!?"  Winter riding is a balance between finding where you are wearing too little and too much.  Both are just as bad as the other because both make for an uncomfortable ride.  When you do it right though, the ride is just another ride.  Slower, but just another ride.