I have begun 2 other posts and haven’t finished either one yet. The topic of BRR was recommended by a fellow Friends of BananaMan member, and I am a sucker for requests. Rose (and everyone else) this post is for you. 🙂 BRR – Bike Ride to Rippey. The first Saturday of February each year. Has been an annual ride since?? gee I don’t know but it can be looked up. Come heck or low water the ride is held. Garnet and I have participated for probably 8 years and probably completed 4 or 5. What is so tough about 25 miles of basically level riding? PLENTY.Cold, wind, snow, frozen feet, hands, face, bike. I’ll get to specifics later. Riding with friends is always recommended, but especially here. Escape routes and emergency plans are encouraged. Sag is provided but if you have your own, well….it’s just easier. Slow and steady isn’t a bad thing. Register and pay the fee…the money goes for good things…

The ride starts at 10am…I think. We like to try to start with the official start just because of the number of people. We like the more the merrier theory. But, you can start at anytime and finish at anytime. Riding at night is not recommended, so stops in Rippey have been shut down at times that force riders to return to Perry while there is still light. We have finished in the early afternoon, but we have heard that Perry stays a buzz thru the evening if you pace yourself properly.

Proper attire is the key. We have ridden when the wind chill was 30 below and we have see 50 degrees. Look at the forecast. Remember that 10am seems to be a COLD part of the day. While riding, you create your own wind chill and heat. We layer as much as possible with the plan of opening up or removing some. Take a backpack or bungee cords. I start with pretty much a base layer. Under Armour top and I have some Cannondale Carabou riding pants that are like scuba gear. More isn’t always better. Loose fitting 2nd layer is good because it allows warmth in between. I’ll then wear some bib ski pants. Perhaps another layer of a jersey or fleece upper if it is extreme cold. And then a good heavy outer jacket. I seem to warm up quicker than Garnet. Within a mile or 2 I’ll be zipping my parka open to get some cooler air on my upper body.

The most critical for me are my hands, feet and face. For my hands, I have a pair of light weight Nike gloves, then (depending on the temp) I may use another pair of over sized gloves and even some mittens. I may only need the Nike gloves, but having extra is OK as long as it isn’t too tight and the layers allow flexibility.

My feet seem to always get cold. I have used snow boots. Wool socks with batteries. Bike shoes with snow boot felt liners over them. Plastic bags between the layers and those heat packs that are available. Nothing works really great for me. BUT, out of all of that, I will always use the plastic bags (bread sacks) in my basket of tricks. they break the wind and hold heat in. Again, don’t have too much that air isn’t part of your insulation. Tight ANYTHING isn’t good. This year, I may use warm socks, bread sacks and a pair of snow Pack boots.

Now….my face! We have used scarves, ski masks, “gator” face masks, and found a Balaclava works best for us. I didn’t know what one was and I still don’t know how to say it. But it is warm and nice. Balaclava! And don’t forget your eyes. We try sun glasses and different goggles. It is so hard because they will fog over in a flash (just breathing) and will worsen with breathing HARD. Which I do. This year I may try a Santa hat and beard combo with some new goggles. The key is to be lightly covered.

Last, but most near and dear to me. Whatever your choices, please do not take away from the safety of your helmet. Make sure it still fits well and provides the protection we each need.

Brr is 25 miles. We believe it is closer to a 50 mile ride because of the conditions. Plan accordingly, have fun at the stops available. Rippey has a number of places to enjoy. Perry has a number of places and activities throughout the day and night. We like to go early and stay late.

Make sure your bike is ready. We forgot to take into consideration that our bike would have extreme wind chill during the drive to Perry. It worked fine in the garage and when we got there we were frozen. Make sure your chain and cables are properly lubed. We have frozen up and had to quit. We have ridden one direction because of the wind and wind chill. We have been too bundled up and couldn’t ride. We have broken parts and limped home. And WE HAVE ENJOYED it every time. It’s not the ride, it’s the adventure.

You can do it…or part of it….but ya gotta wanta have fun…..

Hope to see you there.


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