Wednesday, December 8, 2021

MoGee Muffs - a Pogie for Beginners?

Trying MoGee Muffs on my winter commuter bike.

I hadn't given a thought to using pogies before - those chunky-looking mitts attached to handle bars, seemingly made for brutal winter weather - until an Adventuring Cycling newsletter appeared in my inbox with a link to an article Geared Up: Falling for Autumn. One of the reviewed items were MoGee Muffsa brand of inexpensive pogies. With arthritis creeping into my hands and several numb fingers, the timing was fortuitous. Last winter - my first with studded tires - I primarily used insulated mittens, which worked out reasonably well, though I couldn't stop for long at 10F. 

The mitts are designed for upright - or slightly curved handle bars as is my case - with a drawstring enclosure to cinch however you want, and easily removed once at your destination. There is ample space to insert bare or lightly gloved hands, but be able to grasp thumb shifter and brake levers. After several rides of 1-2 hours in 20-40F, so far, I'm impressed at how warm my hands are!  It's interesting that even with some air allowed past the closure, allowing cables to freely move, the mitts still provide incredible warmth. I'm looking forward to toasty hands as we sink further into winter.

Our son used the MoGee Muffs for days before he "let me" have them back. Guess who's getting a pair for Christmas?

The only unnecessary feature, in my opinion, are the four exterior pockets. Mitts are interchangeable, right and left - pockets designed for cell phones or goodies. I prefer to store my phone in my jacket pocket to protect it from the elements and from cold potentially draining the battery. I have storage options with panniers. I considered removing the pockets altogether, but since they're unobtrusive and the logo is fairly small, I'll leave them as is for now. 

From my experience, it's easier to extract hands versus inserting, which requires minimal wiggling as I reposition hands back onto the bar. I ride mostly rail trails at this time of year, so I have little use for hand signals and interactions with traffic. I have yet to test fast extraction if there's an emergency, like if you are falling and want to catch yourself, so that aspect has yet to be reviewed. As a one size fits all mitt, my average sized hands are fine. If you have large hands, you might have trouble. 

For instant warmth, especially if you suffer from aching, cold hands, these affordable bar mitts might be the answer. Unless, of course, you have battery heated motorcycle gloves like my neighbor!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Coffeeneuring 2021 - Seventh Cup at Ethan Allen Park

Well past colorful autumn foliage, it was time to think...sticks will do!


Planted shrubs, but of course I couldn't pluck what little leaves remained. The added a smidgen of crimson against an otherwise drab landscape.

So nice to enjoy a picnic table.

I brought guard dog this time - kind of forgot about him!

The grand finale: 2021's Coffeeneuring quilt!

Art for art's sake

I was lucky to fit in six of seven outings on weekends. The first coffeeneuring was enjoyed under a full moon and while I planned to finish the challenge during the lunar eclipse - wouldn't that have been cool! - the weather failed to cooperate. I've learned though my mini art displays theme that it's worth adding a little pizzazz into my coffee-without-walls excursions. I'm a creative soul at heart, so thanks Mary (queen coffeeneur) for the idea and approval. This concludes my 9th year of coffeeneuring, and I realized this was the first year I drank only tea, so I'm officially a Tea-neur! 

The Place: Ethan Allen Park
Date: Sunday, November 21
Drink: Barry's Black Tea
Observation: A warm 45F day
Total Miles: 10

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Coffeeneuring 2021 - Sixth Cup at Lone Sailor Park

The Zen of pebble designs - as mesmerizing but not as risky as stacking dominoes!

Stones were the only art that would hold up against the strong November gusts - commonplace this time of year.

There is still foliage, mostly yellow and gold.

My leopard print thermos is a delight for my eyes and cozy warm against hands.

The sprouting maples were tenacious and vivid color against a monochrome windy waterfront.

This photo makes me happy because it displays moody clouds, picturesque Spirit of Ethan Allen tour boat, Rock Point peninsula, planted grasses bending in the breeze, and an awesome lake view surrounding my bicycle..

A steel sculpture that captivates me because of it's construction. The art is a rusting reminder of old mooring buoys once bobbing in the lake from Burlington's lumber and oil days.

Pedaling beneath the golden Linden trees.

Art for art's sake

Lone Sailor Park is tucked away on a manmade peninsula, with plaques commemorating Lake Champlain naval battles, and honoring Vermont veterans on the former site of the naval reserve center. A larger than life sculpture of a sailor stands prominently, gazing at the lake. I often take selfies with the sailor and post on Instagram. The park is very private and often overlooked - a boon for locals seeking solitude. I avoided goofy selfies this time, preferring to concentrate on location, views, and of course, coffeeneuring! The land was somewhat sheltered from the strong wind - a perfect spot to enjoy a cup of tea and arrange pebbles to my heart's content.

The Place: Lone Sailor Park, also visited in 2017
Date: Saturday, November 13
Drink: Chai Tea
Observation: A blustery November day
Total Miles: 15

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Coffeeneuring 2021 - Fifth Cup at Rossetti Natural Area Beach

A heart made with leaves - my son's idea - embracing a Powell's Books mug.

Still autumn color, though waning, from the local lookout. My son and I gravitated to this spot when we mountain bike on local trails then reconvened on the beach for tea.

Oaks and beech trees provide a colorful beach backdrop.

Even a cell phone camera paints me in a new light (ha, had to say that!). Such fun selfies. :)

Love the sand divots.

My mountain bike loving son, always game for a bike ride. It was his idea to visit this spot.

My son's art contribution.

Gazing west - oh, the Adirondacks so clear on the horizon!

Art for art's sake

I'm surprised that November's weekend weather has provided ample opportunity for coffeeneuring! On the heels of solitary sipping and big miles on the Dahon, the next day I grabbed my mountain bike for more local exploration and relaxing on a quiet beach. For the second time I've noticed that the lighting on this north-facing beach lends itself to stellar selfies and an interesting vantage of the Colchester Causeway and New York's Adirondacks. And I always welcome our 19 year old's attendance - twice, so far  - who embraces coffeeneuring, especially when mom brings an extra mug.

The Place: Rosetti Natural Area Beach
Date: Sunday, November 7
Drink: Chai Tea
Observation: Another perfect day!
Total Miles: 10

Monday, November 15, 2021

Coffeeneuring 2021 - Fourth Cup at Blanchard Beach

A QCBC bandana makes a perfect table cloth.
Sunshine filled my soul.


Park and admire.

Watching the ducks on the sandbar.

Still lots of autumn color!

Wear flannel; ride wherever.

Art for art's sake

Blanchard Beach and the Earth Clock is attractive year-round for it's sweeping lake views and sandy beach. Burlington recently added several more benches for park goers, but I prefer to sit on the  concrete blocks for better views and easier coffeeneuring set up. Without autumn leaves for my art installation, I tore sprigs from a bountiful cherry tree for a colorful arrangement. My husband met up with me later and we continued on for a longer loop homeward. I hadn't ridden the Eco 3 in a while and my back was sore in the evening, but a yoga workout eventually cured the discomfort!

The Place: Blanchard Beach
Date: Saturday, November 6
Drink: Chai Tea
Observation: A perfect 50F November day
Total Miles: 30