Wednesday, September 26, 2007

At Least I'll be a Warm Nerd


A few posts ago, I mentioned that the hipsters are coming. I've been reading the Bike Snob NYC blog every day and loving it. It's been making me think about cycling as yet another American form of group-think "unique"fashion expression, and how I'm just as caught up as the hipsters that are routinely kicked around on his blog.

So one of the many cycling stereotypes/groups the guy (at least I think it's a guy) picks on are guys that wear SPD sandals with wool socks. It feels like a personal attack each time I read it, but he's totally on the money in his stereotyping, with me and with the other groups he skewers, so it all evens out.

Anyway. I may have crossed the ultimate threshold of geeky nerdiness with my latest fix. I'm kind of resolute about not buying fancy/expensive SPD winter boots. Mainly, because I can't find the ones I want (Lake) in stock here. I've actually not looked that hard. The core issue here is that my feet are fat and cycling shoes are notoriously narrow. Therefore, I must try on any SPD boots before buying them. I don't want to order them, return them, and fuss. And they start at like $200. So, unless a pair lands in my lap for a song, I'm going to make these damn sandals work in the winter.

This will be my third winter trying to get them dialed in.

So far, the best I've done is about 1/2 hour at 20F or so. It's actually the mid-30's-wet-but-not-snowing scenario that kills me. The picture on the right was a fix I tried about 80 miles out of Spokane in that scenario last year. My toes froze the whole way home. It sucked.
When it's 20F or so, I'll just put on my big-ass boots and ride the turd or something else with platforms. I've worn "SealSkinz," which are waterproof socks, over thin woolies, but there are two problems with this:

1. SealSkinz rule at keeping moisture out, but they don't breath at all. So, my toes sweat, then freeze solid.
2. If I wear any kind of wool sock thicker than the thinnest of liners, the straps on my sandals pop off at the toes from all the bulk.
So, now that Liza is working for REI, I ponied up for some fancy Gortex socks. With the family discount, I got them for about $35. I also bought some nylon webbing and a couple buckles. The plan is to wear a thicker wool sock with these fancy Gortex socks and the sandals. I sewed the extra buckle onto the sandal to keep them from popping open.

The buckle works great. I'm really curious to see how the thicker wool/Gortex outer sock works.

The forcast for Friday shows a low of 35F with rain -- sounds perfect. I'll have to take a nice long ride in the morning and see how long it takes to freeze my toes. I'll be sure to report back on this exciting experiment.

1 comment:

michael said...

The Hipsters hit Tacoma about a year ago. I think most were home town folks that started riding 2-3 years back and figured out how to fit cycling into their style. I love that they're fixing up old bikes to do it.

I'm, so, not ready to start thinking about cold weather yet.