It’s the Holiday season. We’re all a little strapped for cash. You want to ride your bike in the 30 degree weather but you don’t have the dough to shell out for some zippy new shoe covers. You start asking around. “Try some duct tape over your shoe vents” or “Put a baggy over your toes.” are more than likely going to be the responses that your cycling buddies will give you in the way of thrifty foot warmth in these tough times.
Which is the best?
Do you head to Lowe’s for a roll of duct tape or Schnucks for a box of baggies?
There was only one way to answer the question.
It would involve a test at the Big Ring Outdoor Testing Facility.
The morning of November 30th lent itself well to test the two thrifty foot warmers. It was windy and around 30 degrees.
I put a baggie over my left foot and duct tape over the vents of my right shoe. I was wearing Smartwool socks but my circulation sucks, so the socks alone are not enough to prevent numbness from setting in once the thermometer reads below 40.
What would be measured here was how long it took for the numbness to set in.
As I rolled out of the garage and down the street, I was wishing that I had a baggie for my face. It was blustery to say the least.
Today’s workout was basically a big ring stomp cruise. I flipped Betty into ther biggest gear and began to stomp my way through downtown Webster.
Early on I could feel some chinks in the duct tape armour. That foot began to feel cold within about 15 minutes but it was still to early to tell. It was a long way from numb. As windy as it was, both thrifty equipment options were performing better than expected. Then it happened. At 28:22 into the ride the middle two toes on my right foot went numb. I think it was the little piggy that had roast beef and the little piggy that had none. The rest of the little piggies soon followed. Within about 5 minutes, they were all wanting to go wee wee wee all the way home.
That could not happen. For the sake of science the test had to continue to measure just how superior the baggie was in preventing cold weather foot numbness.
I pedaled on. The right foot went from numb to achy about 10 minutes later. As for the left foot? STILL toasty. I was completely surprised at the performance of the baggie! Who would have guessed that something designed to transport a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would have such remarkable thermal capabilities? Amazing!
FINALLY. At 46:51 my left toes began to go numb.
Duct Tape is an old friend of mine who had never let me down. Well…until now. I guess never say never.
If you want thrifty thermal, bag it!
Yours in Science,