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9 Jan 2010

A typical Friday

Friday morning, the start of the most important day of the week. It's 6:20am and I just woke up after a good night of sleep, which I really needed.

Inside the Mango the thermometer indicates minus 9 degrees celcius. It's now 7:20am and I just left home. I'm wearing:
  • normal Shimano spd-shoes
  • 2 pair of thin socks 
  • thick running pants
  • long sleeve thermo shirt
  • a belly warmer (which actually is a kidney warmer)
  • recumbent cycling shirt
  • a fleece sweater, worn vice versa
  • a summer buff, up to my ears
  • a pair of leather gloves
  • a helmet with visor
The radio is on and I'm on my way to Nazca, a 42km ride. First thing I notice is that the suspension is affected by the cold. The ride is somewhat rougher than it used to be. Thankfully the fat Moiree's tyres are a good suspension too. They are also affected by the cold, the rolling resistance is significantly higher, but it's still a pretty smooth ride. There are 2 things that really don't like the cold, my nose and the rear freewheel. My nose needs a hand to shield it from taking in cold air. A problem that fades away after half an hour. The freewheel doesn't freewheel because it's grease is to thick. It does freewheel on my way home, 10 hours later.

I smell an old fire when there's 9km on my cat-eye speedometer. It's what remains of a large fire that destroyed a garden centre 2 days ago. My big brother was high up in the tower wagon to fight the fire. A total of  5 or 6 fire trucks came to the scene to control the flames that could be seen from 8km away.

My hands are getting very warm, time to take off my gloves. For some reason there are less cars on the road than usual. The number of cyclist still seemed quite high. Some of those deserve a dive into the canal for riding without proper or no lights on there bikes. I remove the ice from my buff, just below my nose, every now and then. Strange but true, it getting warmer and warmer inside, only my legs pick up a bit of the cold. A sign by a bike shop tells me that it's -12 now. I was hoping for double digits, that ads to the story.

This is how things go for an hour and a half. I take of the fleece vest when I'm half way. Only thing that makes me stop for just a minute is when I make some yellow snow. The rest of the landscape is white, very white. Thanks to the fog all the little twigs on the trees are white as well.

At work there's always something interesting. I give the 1st sold bike of the year a check-up. It needed a front mudguard and a computer. It's about one and a half hour to make this Pioneer ready to go his new owner. She'll have to re-assemble a few things like wheels and seat because shipping to New Zealand (!) goes in relatively small crates.
Apart from this bike there's plenty of work to do. A lot of things are typical winter time tasks. Things which you don't have time for in the summer. Last job of the day is to true a 20" SON wheel.

There's a thin layer of ice on Yavixa when I head home again. It's less cold, almost warmer, than in the morning. The north-eastern head wind does slow me down. The engine appears to have lost some power over the day. I just settle down and make sure my speed doesn't drop below 25km/h. That's actually quite slow, but a lot faster than I would have been on any other bike. The chilling wind would have probably stopped me riding an open bike after half an hour.

I turn up the volume when 'Radio gaga' is on the radio. A radio can be a very efficient pedal assist system!

My dinner is combined with watching some of the Dakar rally. It's what I recorded from late Thursday evening. From dessert to desert. There is time for desert, but 15 minutes after that I'm riding Yavixa again. The swimming pool is only 4km away. Motivated by the images of the Dakar rally is ride a little faster than I'd normally do. I do swim a little less than usual, but still do about 850 meters.

The day ends with another half on hour of Dakar. They had to do 480km or so in the Atacama dessert, I did just over 90 today in winterly Drenthe.


  1. It was great yesterday. Of course I only have a short commute, a 60 km round trip in the opposite direction to you, but what you write sounds very similar to my own experience. It gets much warmer in the Mango after a few km.

    My glasses "fogged up" on the way to work yesterday, but I couldn't wipe them clear as usual. It turned out not to be mist, but ice.

  2. A 90km ride, a days work and nearly a km swim in -12. I guess that is a full day, Pjotr.

    It reminds me of a full day I once had at Uluru in the middle of what passes for the coldest day of the year in Central Australia. +25 degrees C. I was in Yulara the 20km away tourist town, and hired a bike to ride to the rock (Ayer's Rock, Uluru). Then I climbed the rock, then I walked the 9km circuit around the rock. Then I rode the 20km back to Yulara and then swam laps for 45 minutes, before I worked out I was tired. Then I sat in the outdoor pub listening to the guitarist play "Throw Your Arms Around me" as I bought a pretty Swiss girl a beer, and I told her I liked the song, and asked her if she liked the song, and I had a tear in my eye, and she wiped away the tear, and said "I like techno music". So I thought that was the price of a beer wasted and I went to bed.

  3. @ wellingtoncycleways
    Thanks for the great story.

    Techno music, how could she....

  4. Well, I like techno music too, but also many other kinds from Jazz to Classical to Rock, etc. Sorry to read about the Pretty Swiss girl. When I was in Lisbon a few years ago with my wife, we met a pair of girls from Switzerland, I think?
    Having fun reading about riding about in such cool temps. I ride with a buddy but we like it to be 40 degrees F or above. It was 0 degrees F this morning here in SE Wisconsin.