Having just returned from abroad, many important matters were on the agenda. Naturally, one of them was a trip to Harris Cyclery. The shop is 9 miles from our place and the temperature was over 100F, but nothing could deter me from going on a ride after sitting still in a airplane for hours.
Good thing the Co-Habitant had those two bottles on his bike, because the heat and humidity were brutal. In Vienna I had gotten used to taking many short trips throughout the day and almost forgot that "commuting" and "errands" in Boston are a bit different. But I am clearly in better shape now than I was even a couple of months ago: The 18 mile round trip to Harris Cyclery used to feel like a "pilgrimage," but now it's just a casual trip.
As for the sun and heat, these are my solutions. Over the past year, I have been trying to switch to natural hygiene products: essential oils instead of perfume, herbal deodorant instead of aluminum-based antiperspirant, and mineral-based sunblock. It has not been easy. In Vienna I've finally found Eco Cosmetics SPF 30, which I love. Its only active ingredient is titanium (to which I am, thankfully, not sensitive) and the rest is herbal moisturisers. It works perfectly and is soothing on the skin. Finding a deodorant was even more challenging, but I've finally found the Queen Helene Tea Tree Oil Deodorant Stick. It works for me as well as the real stuff, and I like that it has a dry, matte texture, as I hate the feeling of sticky roll-ons. So there - if you are looking for natural ways to deal with sun and heat, these have worked for me. On the ride to Harris I neither got sunburnt nor had a "deodorant failure".
At the bike shop I picked up a couple of things I had been meaning to get, and also something unexpected: They had a stack of boxes with clipless shoes on clearance, and I bought these for $25.
They are SPD shoes that can be worn either with cleats attached on clipless pedals, or as regular shoes on platform pedals. I know, I know - I was just making fun of the Co-Habitant for getting clipless shoes and pedals. But I will explain that these aren't for any of my regular bikes; they are to practice for the velodrome (I plan to get a license when I return to Vienna in November). I brought a vintage frame back from Austria for fixed gear conversion, and I will need to put a foot retention system on it and finally force myself to learn. I did not plan to buy the shoes so soon, but here they were in just my size and at a great price - so now I have them.
Clipless shoe love? I don't know. The Co-Habitant was victorious as I made my purchase, suggesting which pedals I should get to go with the shoes (and me vehemently disagreeing). Later in the day, I wore the shoes (without cleats) on a 26 mile ride, just to see how they felt or regular pedals. Frankly, I am not in love with the super-stiff soles. I like moderately stiff soles, but these felt like overkill and detracted from comfort. Is this degree of stiffness an acquired taste that you get used to gradually? And I wonder whether the "ugly as sin but comfortable" Keen sandals everyone is getting have a similar feel to them?
In any case, I have my bike project plate so full at the moment, that it is comical. In the coming weeks, we will finally build up my Royal H mixte, make some much-anticipated updates to my Raleigh DL-1, and oh yes, create a fixed gear bicycle. Stay tuned, and try to stay sane in the heat!
- Trading Post