This morning was my coldest ride so far, at around 39F. I've gotten some cold-weather gear for riding, and was debating how much to test.
I have a pretty high tolerance for cold, so I went with my normal gloves (which I bought for their kevlar protection, not for keeping warm), a windbreaker, and "thermal" biking shorts. I should also point out that I've been using booties for a while (since a day or two before getting my current shoes), but had decided that I'm getting tired of the effort of putting them on and off without ripping them up.
So, how did all that do? Well, the shorts were fine, although I think the odds of being fine in normal biking shorts were pretty good. Wish I hadn't bothered with these, and had saved them for a really cold day.
The gloves were not so good. It's possible that they were still a little damp from yesterday's ride (during which it wasn't raining, but the streets were wet, so lots of water was kicked up), but my fingers were pretty cold through most of the ride. I have warmer gloves, and wish I'd worn them.
The windbreaker ended up being fine. There were a few minutes where I was thinking of my warmer jacket, but I actually wonder, after the fact, if I'd've been fine without any jacket. All of which adds up to it probably being good that I wore what I did.
And now, to the feet. This is a little bit of a weird one. My shoes advertised their ventilation, so I thought it was a bit funny that I immediately put those booties on, which cut off (much of) the ventilation. So I never saw what the ventilation was like, really.
Well, today, eschewing the booties, I got the full effect of the ventilation, and my toes were pretty chilly. Thankfully, I wear Thorlos heavy hiking socks for all occasions and all activities (I think they're the best socks made, and have worn them for fifteen to twenty years. During that time, for 105F ultimate frisbee or sub-freezing skiing. Have yet to find an activity for which they felt out of place. And I just bought my first batch of replacements a year and a half ago. Literally, I cannot give a high enough recommendation for those socks).
I'm going to detour for a minute about the booties, and about pedals. My old pedals were the mountain biking version of Shimano SPDs. Pretty decent pedals; I had no major faults with them. A little bit of a pain getting out of, but not bad.
But I upgraded to Mercury pedals. They're much easier to get out of (I've heard some people complain, but I find them very natural), and about the same to get into.
But getting back to the SPDs, those had pretty sharp spikes on the bottom. Not dangerously so, but they did quite a number on the booties before I noticed. You can get the booties on and off without damage, but it takes quite a bit of care. It takes a lot less with the cleats for the Mercury pedals, but those can do damage as well. Hence, skipping the booties.
Well, won't be skipping the booties below 40F again, for sure. Above that, we'll have to see. For now, I may just go to the cold-weather booties, which I have, but haven't yet worn.
Anyway, the result of all this is that I ended up just doing my normal route, when I'd been planning to add ten miles or so to that. Will have to make up for it later, somehow.