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Sunday, March 04, 2012


Gear for commuting in all weather is a thing you kind of have to experiment with. A light base layer and a wind resistant cycling jacket is a pretty good call when it's in the 30s of a morning, but I had a new garment and wanted to try it.

I've ridden in pretty cold weather with a light base layer and a heavy sweater before, but I think it was more like in the teens. The sweater I'd found for $1.25 was 100% virgin wool and heavy. I put a long sleeve t-shirt on under it and set out for work.

After a brief climb, my morning commute includes about two miles of downhill followed by a mile or so of relatively flat road. By the time I was in the Westside neighborhood, I was itchy and overheated. This sweater would be ideal for a 12ºF ride.

While I was making wardrobe adjustments in front of this church, I noticed their sign, and then the minister pulling into his parking spot and heading in to work. He appeared to be in maybe his fifties, well dressed, and my first impression was he would fit perfectly with a Johnson County congregation (i.e. predominantly white and relatively wealthy).

He greeted me cheerfully enough, then two Mexican men walking down the sidewalk and began speaking to them in effortless Spanish. He instantly engaged them, apparently joked with them and from what I could tell made their mornings as they approached the bus stop at Summit.

I'd misread the guy as badly as my clothes for the ride in. He's exactly where he fits, a Baptist preacher in an urban neighborhood with a large, Spanish-speaking Roman Catholic immigrant population.

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