What do you wear to cycle to work when a cold north wind will blast your face? That was the question I had to ask myself this morning.

My plan to cycle until Christmas is still on track. The ground is still clear of any snow, and because we haven’t had much rain, even the colder mornings don’t have much ice.

My ride isn’t very far, about 5k. Even on my new clunker bike, I don’t work up a sweat. Unless I overdress. So that’s the challenge when the forecast is -12 Celsius with the windchill for the morning ride, and a high of only -3.

Now that the clunker has a rack for panniers, I don’t have to worry about a sweaty back from a backpack. On the down side, the pannier does give extra drag. But it’s not about being in a race. It’s all about postponing having to take the bus again.

So this morning I hunted down the new ski gloves a friend had given me last year for my birthday. Because how do you brake if your hands are cold, right? I wore my wool dress pants, which were then covered by more gortex shell pants. On top, I wore a sleeveless dress top, covered by my sweater jacket ( a combination of leather, suede and acrylic). The outer layer was a gortex jacket that has a thin fleece lining built in. The bonus of this jacket is that it has pit zips in case you get hot. It also has a hood that is thin enough to fit under my helmet.

Lighting is also important. Strapped on my helmet is an LED red flashing light. At first I wasn’t too impressed with what we’d bought this fall from MEC. But now I realize that you really do need to keep it charged for riding in the dark. The best part is that I can charge it at work from the computer. The USB cable is included.  On the front is a white light that can be halogen or LED, flashing or steady. We picked up some cheap ones from Pecco’s that are still working on the original batteries.

Bundled up, I set off on my morning commute. The wind was really cold on my face. And I realized that the neck tube couldn’t go up over my face because it was inside my hood, and the strap to my helmet blocked it from going up. It was probably a good compromise though because I think my sunglasses would have fogged up if I’d had the neck tube over my mouth. I’ll have to rethink this for the rest of the week.

My ride along the Ottawa River pathway was quiet: no pedestrians in sight, and only one cyclist passed me. The water at Nepean Bay wasn’t as calm as last week, but the ducks were still there fishing for breakfast.

 Only 25 working days to go until Christmas. Then the clunker will get put away and the Kona can go up on its winter perch for indoor training.