I’m starting to unravel. Actually, my winter cycling gear is starting to unravel My vest, for example. My vest is the linchpin of my winter ensemble. I stuff various layers under it based on temperature, but it is the last line of defense against the cold. It's just a shell, no insulation, just a little bit of mesh inside, but it's perfect for wind protection and ventilation.
I'm not real sure when I got the vest initially. Maybe ten, fifteen years ago. It was actually a Bill Rodger's running vest obtained from a store going out of business. Susan got two for me, a silver one, which I use for commuting and a red and gray striped one that looks kind of like a barber pole, that I use on weekends. I'd used the silver one for many years when the first problem arose -- the zipper tab fell off. But being a clever and resourceful fellow I fashioned a replacement out of a paper clip, and I was in business again. Actually, the paper clip worked better than the original tab, easier to grab.
But now, it seems the entire zipper has worn out. I should have guessed the end was near when I found it was really easy to undo the zipper, didn't even have to use the paper clip, just pull on the sides. Then one day I noticed after zipping up that the sides were attached in exactly two places, the bottom and where the zipper was. The rest was disconnected, exposing my soft underbelly. I found experimentally that if you were careful when you zipped it up, you could actually keep the two sides together. There were several moments when it didn't seem to want to zip, but I always managed to get it together somehow. Then one morning, it was clear it had zipped its last. After several abortive attempts at zipping it up, I decided it needed to be retired.
So I tried using my nifty Ride Magazine windbreaker instead. This just didn't do the job. It had mesh holes in the side, so I was cold until I warmed up, then since I was hermetically sealed by the jacket except for the holes I was too hot and sweaty when I reached cruising temperature. But there is a happy ending. I found some velcro and was able to put this on the old vest and use it instead of the zipper.
Then there are my mittens. In their first life, they were a pair of nylon mittens from Sears Roebuck. The nylon on the palm quickly wore out, but I managed to replace it with some suede leather I had from an old jerkin (don't ask). This was far superior to the original, and was my mainstay in really cold weather. I just noticed that the suede on the right palm (my shifting hand) had pretty much eroded, and the insulation as well, forming an incipient hole (another reason to ride a fixed gear, no shifting required). I was thinking I could patch it up with duct tape, though it would have been better to do a duct tape reinforcement before it had eaten through. What's that old adage, "a duct tape in time saves nine."