After work today, The Runner and I are headed to Saint George. We are going there to road bike and mountain bike a lot, and even to run a little bit.
Mostly, though, we are going there because we are sick of wearing tights.
The Anti-Tights Manifesto
It has been a long, cold winter, and I am sick of it (including the fact that it snowed here most of yesterday and continues to flurry today).
Sure, I’ve actually gotten out on my bike quite a bit, but only because I have been willing to layer up. Shorts. Wool base layer. Long sleeve jersey. Jacket. Beanie. Thinsulate gloves under heavy gloves. Wool socks. Neoprene shoe covers.
And, of course, tights.
How I have grown to hate wearing tights.
Oh, I know I shouldn’t. I should be grateful for tights, and the way they make it possible for me to go out riding even when it’s ridiculously cold out. And the truth is, a good modern pair of tights — like my Bontrager RL Windfronts (full disclosure: I paid retail for these at a local bike shop — no blog-related hijynx here) — allow me to even be reasonably comfortable.
But I still hate wearing tights.
Oh, I’m fine with them at the beginning of the winter. I even like the feeling that I’m somehow cheating the winter.
But as the winter drags on, the tights come to represent the defeat of one of the things I love the very most about road cycling: the feeling of flight.
If you love road riding, you know what I mean.
When you’re wearing nothing but shorts, a jersey, and low-cut socks, riding a road bike feels as close to flying as you can while still being on the ground. You’re incredibly light. Your clothes are so thin and close-fitting that they may as well not be there. You feel the wind on your arms, face and legs (one of the top three reasons to shave your legs, by the way).
With tights on, all of that’s gone. You’re warm, sure, but your isolated from the air around you. You’re riding, sure, but every turn of the cranks is just a little more binding, a little less free, than it is in the Summer.
And while the weight gain that comes with tights (and everything else, but I choose to pick on tights) is honestly not all that much, it’s enough. You feel heavier. Sluggish.
It’s better than not being on a bike at all. But if I were to create a spectrum with riding rollers at one end and riding in shorts, no socks, and a sleeveless jersey at the other, riding in tights would be distressingly close to riding the rollers.
So, by this time of the year, if it’s even remotely close to warm enough, I leave the tights off for the ride. Even though my legs immediately feel the painful bite of the wind, I’m glad to feel that bite.
How to Control the Weather
As I believe I’ve mentioned, we’re headed to St. George for the weekend. Through some magic of Utah-ness, this three hour drive practically guarantees a 15-degree-warmer climate.
And I have not packed tights. Nor has The Runner.
We are absolutely committed to a weekend of sun. Of riding in shorts. Sans tights.
It’s April. Time for some warm days.
Tights are not an option.
PS: Next week is Spring Break for my kids. I’m going to take a break from this blog for that week too, to spend more time with them, as well as to hopefully finish a blog-related project I’ve been working on for months. I’ll be back April 12.