Scarfing up winter riding: Amelia Brown’s DIY warm woolies

Amelia Brown: The Unprepared

Item: hand-knit wool scarf

Photos by Yvonne Bambrick

See all nine of the dandy winter riders here.

Every year, as the forecast turns up negative numbers and the wind starts to bite, I vow it will be my last winter spent freezing my ___ off and I begin to browse jacket linings, thick wool socks and hat options, while dreaming about thick-soled waterproof boots.

Four months of winter isn’t that long, I say, and proceed to layer up as many sweaters I can fit under an over-sized coat I bought used for $5 two years ago. And when that doesn't get me through the worst of it, I don't purchase any fancy winter gear for my relatively short commute, but instead I pull out a thick, winding hand-knit scarf I made specially for my own winter protection.

I will admit that I am often unprepared for the worst of winter weather, and try my best to save my bicycle the trauma of ploughing through snow or slipping on icy streets. A precarious combination of thin wheels, drop bars and a slightly-too-big frame (I received the bicycle from my mother, but none of her tall genes) make it better suited for clearer conditions and a rider uninhibited by bulky layers.

But when I need to get to work or school fast, jumping on my bike is really the only way to go. The scarf sits on my shoulders, protecting that space on my chest where my coat zipper ends, and winds up around my neck. When partnered with a knit headband, my ears, chest and neck are covered with scratchy-soft wool, counteracting the wind that would otherwise stop me from moving forward.

My crafty winter survival project for next year will have to be knit arm warmers to protect the inches of exposed wrist between my gloves and the sleeves of my coat. Arriving at ones destination with a dripping nose and stiff toes is a ritual of winter, and one that I'll accept gladly if it means I have an excuse to sit, knit and dream about the beautiful springtime cycling weather, just around the corner.

Winter 2014 homepage: read all nine here.

Amelia Brown is dandyhorse's managing editor.

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