A Messy Ride

icy fencepostWe got a decent layer of snow overnight but morning brought sleet/ice pellet stuff that morphed into rain. The roads in town are a mess.

I had planned to go on a 25 mile ride but when I was running errands on my bike in town, a lady that I know well stopped me and questioned my sanity, saying that no one should be on the roads, especially on a bike.

Her words made me pause. Should I really go out on a “just for fun” ride when the weather was nasty? Was it really worth it?

After a few minutes I pulled my thoughts back into line. I bike every day, that is what I do. I wasn’t going to let someone else’s fear get in the way of that.

I headed out of town and found the roads to be in much better condition than I had pictured. As the miles ticked by I found myself feeling rather epic, I was out in the rainy cold, battling a headwind, biking through slush, dodging falling shards of ice that were coming down from the trees and all the while my legs were becoming colder and wetter because I had made the mistake of wearing my water-resistant pants.icy guardrail

ice shards

Shards of ice everywhere

 

Fifteen minutes from the halfway point all feelings of epic-ness had faded from memory. Soaked though, snot running down my nose, my right leg on the verge of cramping from the wet and cold-as I climbed hill after hill I struggled to remember how this was ever a good idea. I tried to keep my mind focused on one thing,

“Soon you will have a tailwind, soon you will have a tailwind…”

Oh the joy of helpful gusts of wind! Once I turned that corner and the wind started pushing me along, the world became a much better place. I went into my highest gear and flew down the road with all my might.

For the first time on an open road I felt completely bonded to my Mountain bike. I will be the first to admit, it was tough for the first few weeks to switch from the speedy, efficient Trek to a slower, heavier bike. I have had fun on trails and dirt roads from the start, but on paved roads I could feel a huge difference.

But today on the way home, we were totally in sync and I didn’t miss my Trek at all. (Don’t worry little Trek, you have spring to look forward to.)

Twenty-eight miles of messy roads. Most of them fun, a few of them tough. I know one thing, it sure beats sitting around all day.

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14 thoughts on “A Messy Ride

  1. There’s a word that should be said more; Shards. My word for the day. Thanks.
    Great journey or adventure. You just needed a ring to toss into Mt. Doom. Nice work, Frodo.

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  2. Good that you stuck to your journey, despite what others may say. They just don’t get it. The only thing that counts is how you feel …. and yes, it sure beats sitting on the couch all day šŸ™‚

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  3. People think I’m crazy for biking in the cold and “bad” weather conditions too. The important thing is not what they think you should be doing, but what YOU should be doing. I’m glad you decided to finish your ride!

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  4. I recently left a job I was at for over 13 years. I rode a bicycle to work every day I worked there except for 3 or 4 days each year. I got all the comments, You’re crazy, can I give you a ride so you don’t have to ride your bike, etc. It took nearly 10 years before people stopped saying that. It’s those three or four days a year when I’d take the bus or my wife would drop me off, and people would notice my bike wasn’t parked outside and they’d be asking, “Where’s Doug, why isn’t he here?”. It got to be so normal to see me riding my bike to work, that they only noticed when my bike was not around. That’s when it felt really good.

    I’m new to your blog. I’ve looked at some posts. It reminds me of my old blog I started writing in 2005 about my learning to commute in the winter. Sounds like Upstate New York and Northern Minnesota have similar winters. My coldest commute so far is -32 degrees with a -60 windchill. I was fine. But it took years to figure it all out. I think I took longer than you to get where you are now. Keep it up.

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    • Hi Doug!
      I was so excited to read your blog yesterday, folks like you who have biked year-round for the long haul are my heroes. It is so encouraging to me to know that this is a lifestyle that is sustainable, albeit a bit bizarre to coworkers and friends. If it’s gonna take ten years for people to stop calling me crazy and offering me rides I guess I better get used to it šŸ˜‰

      I am so happy that you have started a new blog, I am really interested to read it!

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      • It becomes a way of life, perhaps addicting. For me I knew I was in for the long haul about two years in. We have one car in our household. My wife needed it for her work doing home visits as a social worker. It was never an option for me to drive it. There was a time she attended a conference out of town and left her car here. That day I got up, figured out what I needed to wear for the commute to work, and rode the bike to work. About two hours after I got to work it dawned on me I could have driven her car that day. The fact it never crossed my mind at home made me realize how much of a way of life riding my bike to work had become. But wow, people really thought I was crazy then!

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      • Wow, yeah when it takes you two hours after your ride to realize there was an “easier” way to get to work, you know you are hooked! I am getting to that point, two things have really helped me get into that mindset. 1-I don’t have a car to tempt me. 2-People are constantly offering me rides and each time I turn them down and bike instead, I build my “bike not drive” muscle šŸ˜€

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