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My Cycling Climate Moment: the water bottles don't freeze anymore on the Double Loop

The Double Loop

Every year for decades, the Portland Velo Club in Portland, Maine has hosted the final organized ride of the year called the Double Loop. As the name suggests, it is two times around the 30 mile loop that is known as the Saturday Morning Ride. It is traditionally scheduled for the last Saturday morning before Thanksgiving. For almost all of those twenty odd years, it has been a guaranteed very cold and very fast two hours on the bike. Some years it was canceled due to snow or black ice.

Frozen water bottles

The first year I turned up for this ride, in 2003 or so, it was so cold that my water bottles froze within the first 30 minutes of the ride, and it remained well below freezing for the duration of the ride. My feet and hands were freezing despite the use of “lobster claw” winter gloves and the use of the chemically activated foot warmers. I wore multiple layers. I wore a ski hat under my helmet. I put vaseline on my cheeks. It was still really cold, but of course a great time.

Arm warmers in November

The last time I was around for the double loop in 2022, it was a balmy 40 degrees by the time the ride was underway. The Gatorade flowed freely. My feet and hands were warm. I wore a wind vest and arm warmers. It felt like early spring in Maine. If I had been asked to identify a single, simple, cycling-related and personal measure of how the climate has changed over the past twenty years, this would have been it. This is and remains my Climate Moment and it has caused me to rethink what is important to me and redefine and reposition A-D Bikes as a circular bicycle company.

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