Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nibbles for the kaffee klatsch

Sorry, no fresh pictures with this post, for a couple of reasons.

First off, things are crazy hectic at this time of year in the office and every minute is counted, including extra minutes during my commute.  Secondly, fighting the cold at this time of year means two pairs of gloves, which is my tactic this year.  A thin pair of merino wool glove liners and a pair of Icon gauntlets.  So stopping to shoot pictures requires a minute or so more, and it's sad to say, but it really is a minute I don't have.

It was cold enough on Friday morning (-1C / 30F) that I had no choice other than to stop to pull on my rain jacket after a few miles to add a wind proof layer. I have enough cold weather riding experience now to know how much exposure to the cold is going to be too much.

It was my turn to pick up nibbles for the Friday morning office kaffee klatsch. My fingers were tingling with cold when I stopped at Banette, a French bakery franchise on Sherbrooke Street in NDG.  The real borough name is a mouthful, so English-speaking Montrealers eons ago shortened Notre Dame de Grace to "NDG".  We are fond of that here.  We used to live in TMR (Town of Mount-Royal) and my brother in law used to live in DDO (Dollard Des Ormeaux).  In the east end of the Island there is RDP (Rivière des Prairies).  There are probably other examples of this inclination of ours to truncate the places we live, but I've already digressed enough.

16 miles, half of that at 60mph, had taken its toll by the time I got to NDG. And yet everything else was nice and warm, just cold tingly fingers. Not too shabby.  As any rider will tell you, it's all about the gear.

I took a few minutes to warm my bands on the headlight before going into the shop.

10 minutes later and I was on my way with my treats, with nice warm fingers. You know you're OK if your fingers warm up and recover from the cold quickly.

I know, I know, you're counting the minutes wasted (putting on the rain jacket, warming my fingers, ten minutes in the shop...) and you're thinking that I could have snapped at least one picture!  You'd be right.  As I pulled back into traffic I remembered that I had forgotten to snap a picture of Banette which I was planning to do.  Banette is a special place because it's not a Canadian or US franchise.  It's a franchise from France, and it's the only Banette outlet outside of France.  How cool is that?

So to make up for my forgetfulness, here is a shot of a Banette outlet in Paris, in the Latin Quarter that I took in 2008.
Their Montreal location is short on charm (at least it doesn't hold a candle to that location in Paris), but the pastries and croissants are incredible.  If you're not from around here, and you find yourself in Montreal with time to kill, it's worth setting your sights on.  Here's a shot of the Montreal Banette I found on the web. It's either a spring or fall shot because their tables aren't out, and there are no leaves on the trees.
So where was I... Oh yes, cold weather commuting tips.

If you chill your core, good luck. I did that on my last commute of the 2010 season and it took a space heater under my desk blasting away on high until noon to get the chill out of my body.

No such problem on Friday morning.  Another minute or so warming my hands on the headlight (it just feels so good) and when I got up to my office I was just as comfortable as after a summer commute.

Easy peasy!


SonjaM said...

I know what you mean that it takes extra effort this time of the year making pictures. I tried a few times with gloves on, but all I got was fingers... somehow they always get in the way of little Sony point and shoot I use in the cold weather. It is mid November in Montreal and you are still riding!!! Kudos!

David Masse said...

Wow Sonja, I think you beat the land speed record for commenting on a post.

I'm still sitting here proof-reading and finding nits, and I saw your comment and I though that I had posted a comment on the wrong post by mistake.

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Yes, it is all about the gear. I'm still loving my Hot Grips. It is amazing to get to work and still have warm hands. Good on you for still commuting and good on the snow for staying away so that you can.

Dar said...


I have to agree about the gear and we were discussing this very subject in a winter/wet weather riding clinic I was at today. When I first started scoot back at the end of January this year it was plenty cold and still winter. I only had a motorcycle jacket and jeans with rain paints over top. Because I was so enthusiastic about riding I went on jaunts that were too long with too little gear. I ended up convulsively shivering and needed to get home. At that point the core temp has dropped and it takes forever to get warm. Fast forward to today and I have invested in some really decent gear and went for a long ride today with my riding class and it was 9 degrees. Not a shiver, nothing, the only things that were cold were my fingers and a little under my chin. I am thinking better gloves and heated grips and have bought a fleece neck tube. The other day I was by the ocean taking 'winter' pictures and could only do it for about 3 minutes, my hands were numb and burning with cold. So not too many pictures coming.

I wish we had a fabulous bakery here that made amazing croissants, but I haven't found such a place. I have found a place that makes kick ass strudel though. You are a brave dude riding at -1. My bike will be off the road as of December 9th and then I am hoping to use my scooter for the rest of the winter season, baring that I have a bus pass
:( Stay warm my friend and layer up!

Unknown said...


I get cold just reading your words, I used to use the heat of the exhaust to heat my hands, much faster than headlights. We usually order our cakes from Bon Ton, a french bakery which has been a fixture in Vancouver for over 50 years

Riding the Wet Coast

len@RE-GLAZE-IT said...

nice post ......i must agree it does seem to take me more effort to "stop and click" when its cold.When i'm bombing around on the gts i tend to chuck the gloves under the seat at photo time ....the engine seems to warm up the storage area down there and i know that when i put them back on they tend to feel a little warmer....very nice feeling when your fingers are freezing!

I know what you mean about "chillin your core" i think its at times like that ........when you let yourself go so so very cold,you leave yourself open to the coughs and colds that are lurking about!



The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.