My latest Post.

This view,this beauty
A tear unbidden
Creeps into my eye.

My stay is short
But I shall return to this place
If only my life is long enough.

Such beauty
Gazing upon it
I hope my years are many.

Bokusui Wakayama.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mmm. What to wear..........part-2.

   In my previous post ( "Mmm. What to wear....." ) I talked about the appropriate clothing to wear when venturing into the great outdoors, on bike. After signing-off and posting the blog, I realized I had more to say. So folks, welcome to "What to wear, part-2".
   Do you remember this photo? This is my gear, all laid-out on the lounge floor (much to the annoyance of my dear wife) for my upcoming bike-ride during winter (if this was summer there would only be the cycle-shorts, shorts and shirt with the windbreaker in my back-pack). 
   Okay, you have been reading some really-great blogs about the world of biking - "This Piece of Rock""""Florida Biking" and "Trail View Mount" - and decided you want a piece-of-the-action. You've picked-out the bike you want and are waiting for delivery. Next, you want to put-together a kit to wear. Here are some "do's-and-don'ts" when it comes to selecting that gear.
   I am not fashion conscience, I don't care what I look like, the less amount of time I spend in front of the mirror the better (it also saves on the budget not having to purchase a new mirror). So, if you are into the latest fashions, by-all-means go-ahead and spend-spend-spend but, remember this, every dollar/yen spent on clothing, is a dollar/yen less to spend on your bike (that's unless daddy has given you his credit-card). Most of my outdoor attire is either old wear - the sweater I purchased about 20-years ago and, since then, it has passed-through three, of the five stages of wear (stage-1 = good wear, stage-2 = casual, stage-3 = around home, stage-4 = hiking/biking and stage-5 = rubbish) - or second-hand. Only a few items are new - cycle-shorts and polypropylene long-johns and singlet. It wasn't until after 10-years of cycling that I purchased my first set of cycle-shorts and the recommendation came from my doctor; I had been to see him regarding a case of hemorrhoids (o.m.g. who would want to be a doctor?) and, as he was aware I cycled a lot, he asked me if I wore cycle-shorts. The rest is history. My bum didn't know what struck it when I first wore them, especially the part that doesn't see much of the sun (that's unless you are building sandcastles on a nude beach). Comfort isn't the only benefit from wearing these shorts. It's the chamois skin lining inside that prevents chafing brought-on by perspiration. The polypropylene underwear are amazing. I first came across it when I was kayaking. This stuff keeps you warm, even it you are soaking-wet (dunk the singlet into a bucket of cold water then wear it. It will still keep you warm).
   You have arrived home from a great ride. You have clocked-up a few kilometers, seen/experienced some awesome scenery, worked-up a huge sweat. You've stripped-off, taken a shower, hung-up your gear and are about to fill everyone in on your trip. Right? WRONG. Unless you have zero regard for your family and neighbours, I would suggest you wash or soak your gear. And, while on this subject, don't (and I mean don't) use that clothing for anything else other than for cycling. It smells, and that is putting it mildly.
   We have reached the highlight of this blog (no,I'm not about to sign-off), a fashion show of yours truly modelling my seasonal outfits (move-over Armani).
 Wearing all that winter gear can have it's negatives - it takes the best part of 5-minutes to get dressed/undressed, you sweat like crazy (unlike summer, you don't realize it until you begin peeling-off all that gear) and finally, god-help you if you have to use the toilet (if that happens, don't leave it too long because, by the time you search through all that gear, then find it, you are most probably already peeing yourself). My windbreaker has a double zip and can be opened from the top and bottom.
   Cycling in the Spring and Autumn one has to be just as careful, as when cycling in winter and summer. In the image on the right (taken in October/Autumn) I am still wearing my summer windbreaker, but have a long-sleeved shirt and summer leggings. In the forest you are out of the warm sun and the temperature can drop quite suddenly. Summer is probably the most hazardous time of the year to be exposed to the elements.
So don't make the same mistake I did once, and go out lightly clad. You will pay for it. As you can see in the image on the left, I am still wearing a shirt that covers most of my upper-body and loose fitting shorts. Also take note of the drink bottles I have. My bike has frames to carry two and I have another in my bag. If, when out on a ride, I pass a spring, I stop and refill (a note of caution here, if it is an extremely-hot day, avoid consuming water that is too cold. Your body might react).
Riding in the rain.
Oh how I love getting down and dirty. In this image I have just returned from a ride through terrain that, just the day before, had experienced a typhoon and there was plenty of mud and water still lying-around (as-well-as trees and landslides). If you are venturing-out in conditions like this, or are likely to return home looking like this, try and have a bucket at the door for those dirty, wet clothing. That way you will avoid the inevitable tongue-lashing when those muddy footprints have been discovered.
Cooling down.
   In the image above (taken on the same trip as the summer photo) I have discovered a spring and decided to strip, cool off and re-stock my water supply. It was very hot this day and this came as a welcome relief. I was 5-hours into a 7-hour trip, and I was aware that there would be little shelter from the sun for the remainder of my journey.
   I love venturing into the outdoors, regardless of my mode, and am constantly aware of the risks involved, especially when it comes to the elements. I hope you too, if you are planning on getting-into this lifestyle, become to appreciate it as well. Enjoy.

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