Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's Not Snot

Somewhere below 15℉, something interesting happens to winter cyclists who wear a balaclava:

I like to call it a chincicle, an obvious combination of chin and icicle. But not everybody sees it that way. Bike Snob NYC writes:

Cold one today—in fact my hands are too cold to move so I’m typing this with my snot-sickle.

and Skip Bernet over at Surly goes a little further:

it's cold here in Minneapolis. Here's some proof. Hinzey rolled into the Q'b farm today on his LHT with a champeen snot-sickle hangin' off his face mask. Grody. Also, the top tube of his bike was glazed like a donut from his effluent. I don't know about you, but I usually can't swim in that kind of personal goo.

Thing is, they're not made of snot.There might be a little DNA in there, but they're almost entirely water. Check out this natural gas furnce exhaust, shot on a day when it was cold enough to form a chincicle:

Natural gas furnaces don't produce mucus, just water vapor. In fact, whether you're burning petroleum products or flapjacks, water vapor is one of the byproducts. When it's cold enough, a little bit of moisture freezes near the source and additional water vapor starts to build up and form an icicle. Consider it evidence of the need to drink water when exercising, even in winter.

Even though it's a little uncomfortable to pull a chincicle off the old beard hairs, it's a whole lot more comfortable than riding one of these:

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