It’s full winter in Edmonton, has been since November 1, when a frigid front moved in with a dump of snow making it feel like deep January, even though it’s only Remembrance Day. Winter doesn’t officially start for another 5 weeks. Tell that to my toes.
My feet have always been sensitive to the cold. I blame a road hockey incident when I was 10 years old. Ever since then, my poor feet have been acutely susceptible to chills, and I’ve learned to take precautions.
On the bike, I wear thick socks and even boots starting in late August, much to the amusement of hardier Albertans. Come October, I routinely wear my full winter boots for my daily commute, which is only 25 minutes. For longer recreational rides, I rely a lot on chemical warmers in my boots.
These methods, unmanly as they may be, generally work. My toes don’t freeze. But I still get this curious humming sensation that stays with me when I'm not riding, somewhere between a pulse and a throb, kind of like that thawing feeling you may have experienced after coming inside after your feet have gotten too cold. Not the pins-and-needles effect—just a warm buzziness. My feet look perfectly normal, not purple or even pink.
And I feel it pretty much all the time from November to March. The hum doesn’t really go away until, well, winter does.