I hate cycling in the winter because the weather is cold and the roads are messy. Actually, the fact is that I hate winter cycling because I haven't learned to breathe properly through my nose—breathing cold air through my mouth is just painful. As was in previous years, the conditions for me to start riding is that (a) the temperature is above 0°C, (b) the windchill is also above 0°C, and (c) there is no snow on the ground. While I think (c) is by far the most important when I am riding my race bike, it's also the rule that I am most inclined to break most when I'm not riding my race bike. Last year there were days in January and February when all these conditions were met, and I got almost 100km of riding during those months. But this past winter was the coldest in recent years, and with below-zero temperatures, all the snow that accumulated through the winter didn't seem to want to melt even after the temperature climbed above 0°C. So my first ride didn't happen until today (March 10), when I commuted to work on my single-speed bike. This is actually the longest ride I have ever done on this bike.
I knew I wasn't going to be nearly as fast as last summer when I rode on my road bike, but I didn't think it would take this long either. I made it to work in about 1 hour 25 minutes (compared to the 55-60 minutes last summer), and I was exhausted! I could've blamed the extra time on having to stop four times to make adjustments to my bikes, and that my seatpost wasn't clamped on properly and I rode the last 2/3 of the way with my saddle two inches too low. I could even blame the extra weight that I had in the pannier bags at the back. But really, I was just out of shape. I'll be commuting on my bike quite frequently this year, partly to save money, and partly to train for My Ambitious Cycling Goals, but I probably won't do it on my single-speed as often now that I know how tough it is to ride 25km without more gears. For now, I'll leave the bike at the office and take the bus home instead. My wife took these two picture of me before leaving for work:
The balaclava worked really well in keeping me warm, by the way.