There are few times in my life when I recognize that I am doing something stupid. Now don't take that to mean that there are few times that I do stupid things. I do stupid stuff all of the time - I just don't normally realize it's stupid until AFTER I've done it. Swallowing nails, locking myself in the closet, setting the house on fire, etc. were all good ideas that turned out to be stupid when the consequences hit.
In education parlance I'm a Kinesthetic learner, I learn by doing. So it was a big surprise to me yesterday when the thought "Hey, this might not be such a good idea" came percolating up through my brain about 2 minutes into my commute. I had the Xtracycle loaded up with my school stuff and a bunch of stuff that needed to be shipped for the holidays. My 10 minute dressing for riding ritual had increased a slight amount with the addition of a third pair of gloves (my Bar Mitts are on back order, dammit) to prevent my hands from freezing.
At the two minute mark of the ride, my fingers were alarmingly cold. I could them getting colder like some time-lapse movie that shows frost forming on a window. By the time I made it to Smith's Crossroads (about 5 minutes from my house), the deep ache of seriously cold extremities was very present and I was beginning to question my decision to commute on such a cold day.
But then I thought about all of those super cold Belgian cyclocross races where you see the racers on the line and they are trying to keep warm before the start. A lot of riders do an aggressive self hug kind of maneuver that looks like they are trying to hit themselves on the back. I gave this a shot and lo and behold it worked a treat. By pounding warm blood back into my fingers, the hands warmed up nicely and were fine for the rest of the ride. A quick refresher self-hug/hit maneuver at the next stop light was an added bonus. The hands stayed warmer than they would have, plus I looked even crazier than normal (an added bonus!). So if you see some guy on a bike, stopped at a stop sign and vigorously hugging himself over and over again, he's not crazy - he's just trying to keep from freezing to death.
Ok, he's a little crazy.