David Keogh: The Adventurer
Items: Headband and helmet
by David Keogh
When I was first asked to write about my winter riding gear, three items instantly came to mind. The right footwear - and keeping your feet warm and dry - is (obviously) very important. That being said, the two items I never ride without are: my helmet and headband.
Yes, I am one of the people who can find a million reasons not to wear a helmet most days of the year.
But come the first snow or frozen pathway and on my helmet is on. It's not my riding abilities that bring the change in attitude, but rather the inconsistencies of the clearing of paths and bike lanes, the smaller road surfaces due to cars parking further from the curb, not to mention the cars needing a far greater stopping distance. These factors demand that my helmet goes on.
Because of how the helmet attaches to one’s head, those straps on each side allow quite a bit of wind in. The cold, sometimes biting, wind going straight to my ears makes the ride unpleasant and usually as short as possible.
Enter my number one item to ride during winter with: the headband. It is in the pocket of my jacket at all times. I check for it as feverishly as I do my phone. I am not pleased when I cannot find it, and when it goes missing, I have even detoured out of my way to replace it before carrying on. This simple piece of fabric has made riding an easy four-season activity for me. I can happily ride for hours and hours and not get cold. Though it does slightly diminish my ability to hear, the advantages far outweigh the costs. Where a balaclava will save you from face-freezing cold, it also cuts down your vision and gives you hair something akin to a trip to the Science Centre, which is not quite as sexy as helmet hair. With my trusty headband under my helmet I am ready for whatever winter will bring.
I am not your average rider.
I actually wait for the most intolerable conditions and then roll out. The deeper the snow, the better the challenge. Colder and colder still is okay by me. Not to sound all Canadian "He-Man" or anything, as I do have a nice warm SUV with heated seats that I use on many of the coldest days, but I like to seize as many opportunities to ride and leave the car behind whenever I can.
Winter riding is adventurous: you can ride on the super smooth frozen sand of a beach and not leave a trail, practice skidding control on frozen parking lots, and marvel at riding on frozen ponds (with the right gear). I can see the beauty of winter without the visual obstructions other forms of transport create. I've been able to enjoy everything the city and nature has to offer, all because of what I consider to be the most essential piece of winter gear: a headband.
David Keogh is a Toronto native, self-taught photographer, musician, bicycle builder and owner of The Linemen where he dreams, designs and builds custom draught beer towers www.thelinemen.ca.
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