Learning to Ride in the Cold, with the Compact Air EXP 8 SL
Living in Boise, Idaho has been great. The people here are into riding, on the road, on the trail, and now on the snow and I think that it is pretty dang awesome. We rarely go a day without either being on our bikes or seeing people on bicycles here.
We, Idahoans enjoy the outdoors all year and in the winter skiing is really fun, but mountain biking is the bee’s knees for Derek and me. We, however, seem to be fair-weather riders, that is, until this year.
In January 2012 I was riding the foothills trails in Boise wearing shorts and a long sleeved shirt. It was mild out more often than not and the only thing that seemed to be missing was old man winter. The Idaho ski resorts were hurting for snow. It looked like it was going to be riding weather year round. Fast-forward to January 2013 and old man winter is laughing at us. We had a record-breaking winter of super low temperatures in the Treasure Valley. Here is where the adventure begins though; layering on the clothes, donning the heavy gloves and packing the hand warmers in the Compact Air EXP 8 SL. All this and more was necessary for our first sub-30F degree mountain bike ride.
We took a trip out to the Eagle Bike Park, a hidden gem in Eagle, Idaho. In my bag was my first aid kit in the main pocket; never leave home without it. In the side mesh pockets I kept multiple hand warmers, who knows how many of those I will go through and it was best to have them easily accessible. We have in each of our bags our tools organized in the tool pockets, which are great, no more looking all over for the tire levers, they are now all in one place with the air canister, which I hope to never need. And last but most importantly were the car keys tucked into the zippered mesh waistband pocket.
With everything we hoped we needed in the pack, we were off. Who knew we would end up enjoying our ride, with snow on the trails. It was an eye opener, literally and figuratively. Our hands still got cold (no matter the number of warmers), our feet stayed toasty, and the back pack was comfortable to wear even with the coat, the sweater and the long sleeved shirt on thanks to the Aircomfort Flexlite System.
Since that day though more snow has fallen and the temperatures seemed to drop even more if you can believe it. We have given in to old man winter. We are enjoying the skiing, as the slopes are looking more appealing with all the snow that has fallen. Taking winter one day at a time till the spring brings blue skies, warmer weather, and the dream of riding on that thin ribbon of single track through the trees. Maybe there will even be an adventure of snowshoeing or cross country skiing until then, who knows.
–Kerry and Derek Dunn (Outdoor Ambassadors).