Low-ish temps, long-ish ride
I did a 1200km trip a few weekends ago in low temps [0 – 10deg C], and tried some new things to make the trip a bit more comfortable. While temps were low, I was lucky enough to get a 4-day spot in the winter weather where the rain stayed away – quite unusual for the North Island, plonked as we are in the middle of the ocean, and prone to the odd passing shower.
Riding home over the central volcanic plateau [a bit of thermal volcanic activity in pic below], I went high enough in altitude to be in the moisture provided by low clouds, but got home safe and dry.
Hands: I have been using some dirt-bike style roost guards to break the breeze around my hands [no heated grips] but after the first hour or so, I had lost contact with some of my fingers, and the numbing cold was turning to a burning sensation. So I fitted on some cheap-o Hippo Hands-type hand muffs, and left them on for the rest of the trip. The downside is the fumble to get your left hand back in after you’ve adjusted you visor or something; the upside for me was keeping feeling in my hands…The muffs are actually big enough to fit over the roost guards [you need to take the mirrors off and refit them] which help stop the muffs collapsing on to your hands and levers at speed.
Butt: I had previously tried a layer of sheep-skin over an Airhawk for long-distance butt comfort, but found it clumsy to get up on top of, and not outstandingly successful at enabing me to stay in the saddle, so I e-bayed up a large sized bicycle gel seat cover, and placed it on the seat under the Airhawk. I also bought a pair of bicycle shorts with padding inside, and wore them also as my base layer. Cold hands caused an early stop on the outbound journey, but on the way back, I was able to do a 3-hr stint in the saddle before stopping [for gas, comfort and food]. Have never been able to go that far in one leg before, so would have to regard that set-up as a success.
Chain: I had a couple of thousand km on an LDH 520 17/44 chain and sprocket set-up, which had been a little noisy at speed, so I carefully cleaned it off in the approved kero-and-rag fashion before leaving, to get rid of the road grit and grime, then sprayed it with a CRC Teflon product, just to see what might happen – SILENCE!! Man, is it quiet – no noise as it tracks on and off the sprockets, just nothing. Quite a revelation. The dry Teflon doesn’t pick up road crap either, so I’m interested in keeping this as my new chain maintenance regime.