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Gear Prudence: For the past three years, I’ve had the same New Year’s resolution: Bike more. And then like all resolutions, I don’t do it—partially because in January the weather sucks and by the time it’s nice enough to bike in spring, I’ve long since forgotten or given up on my resolutions. But this year will be different … if you can just tell me how. —Regretfully, Effective SteadfastnessOften Lacking. Very Exasperated, Demoralized.
Dear RESOLVED: This year will be different! Because you won’t make the same New Year’s resolution about biking more. Make a different one and focus on not keeping that instead. Maybe don’t go the gym more, or fail at drinking less—both of those are achievable and GP is confident that with minimal effort, you’ll be quite successful in not succeeding with either. The January weather works against any kind of ‘bike more’ resolution, so if your goal really is to pedal a lot in the coming year, be realistic and a little more strategic. Don’t even think about biking right now. Wait until the first nice day, and ride then. Thereafter, ride on any day of equivalent or superior niceness. So long as you can hold yourself to this, you’ll find the miles racking up in no time. And if you don’t, there’s always next year! —GP
Gear Prudence: I always wear a bike helmet when riding, but I’ve never been able to find a comfortable hat that 1) keeps my head warm, 2) covers my ears, and 3) stays in place. I don’t think I have an abnormal head. Am I striving for the impossible here? Or is this something about winter hats under helmets that I just don’t get? —Have Any Tips?
Dear HAT: GP will have to take your word regarding the normality of your head, but otherwise your story mostly checks out. If you ride in any kind of hunched position, keeping eyes on the road requires some neck craning and this can cause a hat to drift. Additionally, the fit of your helmet might preclude thicker headgear, but this doesn’t necessarily have to reduce warmth. Thin warm cycling caps with earflaps made of merino wool (the preferred wool of outdoorsy people who think nothing of shelling out unseemly amounts of money for wool products) would probably do the trick. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to invest in a balaclava (the preferred ski mask-looking-thing of bank robbers) since this will definitely keep you warm, cover your ears, and stay in place. The only problem with balaclavas—aside from the palpable unease you’ll notice from bank tellers—is that they cover your face, and this might be overkill on days with more moderate temperatures. But a sweaty face might be a worthy trade-off to solve your other winter woes. —GP