Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ice Station PHX Polar Expedition Report

The Ice Tree, an unknown species, possibly of alien origin, discovered Wednesday morning in Phoenix

With temperatures dropping below freezing, and winds from the north from 25-35 mph, both from the whip-tail end of LOW pressure Snowmageddon/USA-2011, this bicycle commuter expedition set out for Ice Station PHX on Wednesday morning, to take readings, return with samples if possible, and to explore the limits of human-powered locomotion added by wind-stopper fleece, basilisk-proof goggles, and ninja sniper gloves (the Plan B commuting outfit).

In addition to the unknown species cataloged above, several residential yards were observed with what appeared to be ice skating rinks which seem to have been intended to be flood irrigation.

This expedition helped me to define the lower limit for my plan B clothing, which I ride in when the temperature drops below about 40. The limit is a windchill of 20 degrees. These clothes actually left me uncomfortably cold, and if we have similar weather on Thursday, I will go with the Plan C ("Cold") outfit: wind pants, parka, shoe covers, and added head insulation. The sniper gloves and basilisk goggles were the bomb, though. My eyes and hands were warm, at least, which goes a long way.

This weather would be notable, if most of the rest of the country weren't significantly worse. But, it's not often that I get to express solidarity with cyclists in other cold places. In this instance, though, I can say, pretty authentically: BRRRRRRRRR. Lows well below freezing Wednesday night (in the 20s? whaaaaat??), with more gusty north winds. It could be a Plan C ride Thursday morning. From Ice Station PHX. Gggggget uppppp. Ggggggo rrrride.



  1. Yeah, do it man. Good to see you're willing despite it being really rare in PHX. +1 on Eyes and Hands... they make a big diff.

  2. Wool socks seem to work better than anything else for feet down to below 20F.

  3. Good there no end to that storm?

    Usually, if I can keep my hands warm, everything else follows.

  4. 20s seem like a major BRRRR to me. then again I am in the much spoiled golden state, so I cant really complain ever.
    love the icey tree photo, very poetic

  5. Meli,
    Read about the Donner Party. It gets cold in California, too.

  6. Don't forget to use a pair of Arm Warmers Made From Old Socks ... they really do work!

  7. Love the icy tree photo. We got quite a bit of ice here, too! Stay safe out there.

  8. RANTWICK I did do it, and wool helped a lot. I dug out some big ole toasty wool socks (Steve) I haven't worn in forever. Feet were good. And I put on this windblocker head cover under my helmet so I was warm up top. And I wore a second layer under the jacket so core was warm.

    m e l i, I'm dreaming of mellow California weather just now.

    Steve I was going to mention cannibalism in this post, funny you should bring it up.

    PaddyAnne, I have to get a pair of those if this weather continues.

    Apertome the only things working against my safety on the day in question were the crosswind, which was strong enough that it actually pushed me around a couple of times, and the cold, which gave me a headache. The head cover prevented that on Thursday, though.

    This is getting ridiculous. Another sub-freezing morning on Friday. Supposedly the last one, though.

  9. And Tracy, I was just taking a look at those pictures of your snow situation...yikes man. Yikes. Think warm thoughts.


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