Tuesday, December 20, 2011

these are two of my favorite things

I'm lucky (or cursed) in that cold weather appears to have less impact on me than it does on other people.  Starting in late September the Californians begin bicycling in snow parkas while I am still in shorts and a tee-shirt.  On one occasion a car pulled up next to me and a guy said "Aren't you COLD?"  I said that I was raised in Massachusetts and that of course explained everything.

Yes I have known cold weather.  The kind of cold weather that chews up the tips of your ears and leaves them red and painful.  The weather that freezes the snot in your nose, a truly disgusting experience that I do not recommend.  But even New England cold weather (I've biked ME, NH, and MA) has never bothered me as much as the next person---although it's payback time when the weather is hot and humid as I seem to be more than usually sensitive to that particular combination. 

By my standards California is warm.  I could probably bike California all year in just my bathing suit if it were not for twenty things and the names of those twenty things are:  Fingers And Toes.

My fingers and my toes get cold.  My toes are pretty much "meh" - I can forget about them.  I think it's because relatively speaking they are far away from my brain.  My toes send up a distress signal (we're dying down here) and my brain, which is busy wondering whether that car reversing out of the driveway is going to back over us considers for a zillionth of a second before putting the toes into a queue with a low priority.  The toes continue to complain but they lack leverage since I effectively staple them to my SPD pedals each day.

My hands do not put up with this kind of bullshit from my brain.  The fingers are the prima donnas of my extremities.  They say "cold!" and if they do not get immediate attention they "forget" how to work the brakes and "can't recall" how to change the gears. 

So I need gloves for my commute when the weather is cold.  I should buy some.

A problem is that I lack the shopping gene that the rest of American women seem to possess to excess.  This has saved me a great deal of money over the years at the cost of my walking around looking like an un-made bed.  I don't like to shop I don't like to buy things I don't give a damn that people think I'd look better in something that actually fit and usually this is all fine but when you actually really fucking need something like gloves to bicycle in because the temperature has dropped, well, I am crippled. 

The first pair I bought were on clearance (which I liked) but did not fit (which was bad) and did not keep my hands warm (which was worse).  I dutifully wore them anyway until my older daughter kindly took them off my hands (haha) to wear while tree climbing. 

The second pair I bought I was not fucking around.  I try them on.  I pay way the hell too much.  They seem great.  I am very excited.  I get on my bicycle the next frigid morning and all is well until I try and reach my brakes at which time I realize that the gloves fit only when I am not on a bicycle.  I force myself to wear these as well but after a few near death experiences where I can't stop (and a lifetime conviction that I will never be a brake-free fixie rider) I give up.

I decide to punish myself by wearing no gloves at all.  I will ignore the pain.  This works for about three miles.  Then I give up and put one of my hands in my mouth.  Mmmm.  Warm.  Then I switch hands.  Now I have a wet saliva covered hand in the freezing cold.  Damnit.  Also ewwwww!

Then it happened.  I was saved at an REI.  There was a sale bin.  Expecting nothing but heartache I start picking through the items thrown in on clearance.  I consider an odd pair of gloves that look suitable for a War of the Worlds alien.  They have a place for the thumb and a place for two fingers and another place for another two fingers.  Three pronged gloves.  Gloves for a tripod?  I hear a choir of angels singing softly in my ear.  I slip them on.  They fit.  I walk over to a road bike and experimentally try the brakes.  I can reach them. 

Contraption Captain walks over and his eyes widen.  "Those are great!  I've been looking for a pair!"  We gazed at my find in rapt wonder for a moment longer before digging through the bin of un-wanted colors and flavors.  Imagine our shock and awe when we find a second pair suitable for him.  O frabjous day!  Caloo!  Calay!

I've had these gloves for two winters now.  They are made by Novaro.  I love these gloves.

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