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Happy International Women’s Day!

Last Saturday I went on a group ride with Grease Rag Ride and Wrench (a loose organization of WTF, as in Women/Trans/Femme, cyclists) in celebration of International Women’s Day. It was my first group ride ever! Eighteen of us represented the Twin Cities, biking in fresh snow on a 25 degree day! There’s a great photo of us up on the Grease Rag blog. That’s me in the middle with the sign. Hopefully there will be video soon of women biking in all 7 of the participating countries.

I promise to write more about fashion shortly, but thought I should address winter biking before the Twin Cities logs another 60 degree day. Last weekend was cold. I overdressed and threw lighter layers in my bag, thinking I’d change once I got warm. This ride was the equivalent of a leisurely stroll though, so I never got warm enough for my lighter jacket. My all-black ensemble includes:

Baffin Judy boots: Baffin makes hardcore winter boots that are still manufactured in Canada. They’re rated to 40 below, and are unbelievably light and comfortable. I love them. Keeping your feet warm is important for winter biking!

A pair of black, windproof pants I got at Savers thrift: Can’t beat the price, plus they’re somewhat flattering. Contemplating calling Thrifty Outfitters to see if they could put a Durable Waterproof Finish on these.

Northface Apex jacket: Pit zips would be nice for ventilation, but I like the fact that this jacket doesn’t look ridiculous if I wear it with a dress. Basically, it’s a tailored softshell with a light fleece lining. If I’d known I was going to be biking all winter, I probably would’ve picked a more visible color than black. I make up for it with lots of lights.

Giro lobster gloves: These keep me warm to about 0 degrees. Lots of my friends have chopper style mittens with zippers for chemical handwarmers. Those are on my list for next winter!

Fleece balaclava over a fleece headband: I have a tiny head and my balaclava doesn’t fit tightly over my forehead, so I supplement it with another hat or headband. I consider facial protection to be a must below 40 degrees. The wind can be killer!

Wool socks, synthetic long underwear, and wool longsleeved shirt: wicking baselayers are critical.

One of the most interesting things was the variety of ways everyone dressed. We weren’t all rocking supermodel looks (this was a Saturday fun ride!) but it was clear each woman had found a method of dressing that worked for her, and that everyone biked all winter long. With a change of clothes and makeup in my bag, this combination of clothing works for my commute on any day between 0 and 30 degrees (and there are many of those in Minnesota).

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