Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Wool!

So last week we had to move around in that last installment of New England Snow, which was like 6-8 inches of Elmer’s Glue. Then we have tropical downpours. Now it is snot freezing cold out with winds that hurt almost as much as the Patriots last loss of this season did. Oh the joys of New England winters! Like the rest of you, this all gets me to thinking about keeping warm and dry… and I thought about long ago when I was a kid. Ya know, I remember being just toasty warm albeit a bit soggy from time to time.

Fast forward a few decades…. Like many of you I have spent a good amount of time outdoors in winter conditions, skiing, snowshoeing, etc. not to mention the occasional bicycle outing. And I have worn all types of winter garments and there are some great high tech materials out there that are both warm and light weight. The problem with such stuff is it can be prohibitively expensive. And since we cater to a generally frugal customer, it got me thinking about how the heck we keep warm back in the day? You know, those days before one has an income that can afford the new/high tech stuff.

In a word, it is WOOL. Yep good old reliable, renewable, recyclable, and I suppose if you look hard enough locally grown wool! Is it the best of the best of the best? Perhaps not, but pound for pound it is the one of the most cost effective materials out there. It is somewhat breathable, water resistant, even once wet just wring it out and it is still warm. Hence my “…just toasty warm albeit, a bit soggy form time to time.” comment. When I was a kid, going out to play meant staying outside until it was time to eat, period. Which meant you got plenty wet rolling around in the snow for hours. Wool used with undergarments, such as Under Armour ®, means your go for very cold weather

Wool pants similar to those above can usually be purchase in Army Navy surplus stores and at very reasonable prices. The billows pockets are great for extra and easy access storage. Food for thought, possibly buy a couple of sizes too large and wear as a over pants(?) A larger pair of wool pants with your regular cloths underneath might work for you. It did when I was kid. Of course there at oh so many wool coats to be had, I happen to own a Navy Pea coat. A wicked warm coat cut high enough to ride with.

Wool glove/ mitten flip glove cross things would work well, but for the coldest of days. With a reasonably warm & thin glove insert would make those great. For those really cold days, there are firefighter wool mittens that I can personally vouch for having worn those many times in very extream conditions. And when the weather is way below zero add a pair of Nomex flight gloves (again Army Navy surplus) as inserts and your hands will never get cold.

So, is wool incredible? You betcha … and who doesn’t like a renewable resource? Plus, you don’t make all those crinkly noises either, ever hear sheep sneaking around, nope… wool is silent. And if you’re an old English 3 speed rider, it might just complete your Vintage World.

Wool, not just another way to say Bike Me….

Stay Current, Ride Vintage!

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