For my own purposes, and yours, I wore this yesterday on a 21Fa.m./27Fp.m. commute, both legs having a brisk wind and certainly near single digit wind chills:
Head: craft beanie/North Face thick earband. (couldn't find balaclava)
gloves: lobsters. What else for the under-30F set/
feet: thin wool sox, SealSkinz sox, plastic baggies, old Target shoes (no clips)
torso: thick wool top, Biemme thick jersey, gore-text jacket
legs: compression shorts, wool tights, fleece pants
Really I had it dialed in quite nicely. This morning at 19F I might go to a slightly heavier tight under the fleece. That's if I can get ride of a headache in time for the commute. Ugh!
Yesterday's ride brought a great moment of clarify as to how the mind and its perceptions can negatively impact our actual, real situation, all compounded by 3 different bike/car interactions. First was that I was on B'town approaching the Eastern Pkwy interchange, in my own lane, when a car almost turned left into. I was there. I was obvious. I had the generator light on for extra clarity, and she still almost turned into me...but she did wave a little wave of regret. Later, near the Douglass Loop on Dundee I came to a stop sign to turn left and joker behind me crept up along my right, rather close, so he could continue straight. It wasn't anything dangerous, but certainly asinine. Lastly I came to a 4-way stop and the car opposite me was obviously a blacked-out 'plain brown wrapper'. I stopped and went through and then proceeded for the next .5m to create this police arrest fantasy concerning my rights and badge numbers and "jack-booted cops". All of a sudden I just told myself to SHUT UP! In all three of these exchanges, none of the cars was out to get me. None threatened me with malice. The girl turning left just didn't see me and was contrite in her own way. Should she have seen me? Yes, of course. The car to my left, a businessman showing his toughness, his disregard for a cyclist? Probably, but he wasn't close and there was no chance of danger unless I swerve heavily to the right. The cop? He didn't mess with me at all. My perception, my monkey mind, created a scenario which was working me all up about the car v. bike society and "all those damn drivers out there!". We face many interactions, some negative, but how much is it paranoia and how much reality? Do cyclists create conflict? We know rednecks in big trucks (more so school bus drivers and distracted soccer moms) do, but how much are we as cyclists at fault? I got no answers, but food for thought.