Saturday, February 4

Day 35: Sun, Bicycles and -10 Celsius

A little over a week ago I asked my husband to order studded tires for my bicycle. The temperatures had been fairly mild, hovering around and just above freezing, and I figured I could withstand the cold under those circumstances. The next day I wondered if I had made a mistake that I would live to regret until spring. Temperatures started to trend downward, getting colder and colder the past week or so and it has been moving into pretty cold territory. A few days later Carl confirmed that the tires were ordered and should arrive during the early part of this week. Great. We went out shopping for insulated winter pants. Carl found a great pair and I ended up with a pair that would block the wind but were not actually insulated. I may have to exchange them.

Well, today was the day. He announced after breakfast that he was going to go change the tires on both of our bikes so we could go out for a ride. I couldn’t really back down now, since I had specifically asked him to order these special, winter tires. I started getting dressed. I put on wool long johns, a wool sweater and socks and then the wind blocking pants that I bought plus another jacket and a down vest. I went outside to see how the pants stood up to the cold air. It felt chilly but not unbearable. I tried out his pants. Wow, what a huge difference. I decided then that I definitely needed to exchange mine for warmer ones.

Not too long after he was done with our bikes we headed out with plans to stop by a store to see if they had a different, insulated pair of pants for me. We ended up going by three different stores with no luck but it actually didn’t feel too cold so we decided to ride out to Djurgården (one of the islands of Stockholm made up of mostly city park land with a few museums, cafes and a handful of elite summer homes) to enjoy the sunshine and have some lunch. It was a gorgeous day and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that even in minus degree temperatures, with the sun shining I could enjoy a bike ride in freezing, cold temperatures in the snow.

We had a great ride despite the fact that our lunch plans were thwarted. The cafe we planned to go to was closed for some unknown reason and another one we tried was so packed that there was a line of people waiting just for tables. So we bought a couple of cinnamon buns and wolfed them down quickly outside to stave off the hunger for our ride home. The snow-covered park looked magical with the sun shining through the bare trees. Though by the time we were heading home it had become quite a bit colder. It was actually so cold that my toes and fingers were getting numb. I think with the right clothing next time will be fine. Tomorrow I am heading out to look for insulated pants. I am just happy to know that the winter temperatures do not have to stop us from enjoying outings on our bicycles.

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