3 Great Things About Spring

berries

I loved seeing this little cluster at the park.

It is possible that by reading this blog you have observed that I am fan of winter. Snow makes me happy, it is as simple as that. But I can’t really be sad at the end of winter when the snow melts and disappears into the rivers and streams, because the end of winter means the beginning of spring.

And spring is awesome.

In the past three days I have experienced three great things about spring.

Biking Buddies
On Tuesday, after months of biking all by my little lonesome, my brother agreed to join me for a ride. I love biking by myself, in my own little world, but biking with a buddy is completely fabulous.

We went to a state park to hang out and take some pictures, I rode home with a huge smile on my face. Thanks man!

thawed river

This is the river I cross every time I ride to work, by Wednesday all the ice had completely melted.

Bare Arms
The past three days I have been riding in short sleeves, it feels great! One thing I adore about wearing short sleeves in the 40-60F zone is that I can really pick up what the air around me feels like. I love the cool pockets of air beside the melting rivers and dark forests, the warmth that comes from passing by a barn andΒ how in every twist and turn in the road the airΒ can be aΒ different temperature. It is especially noticeable at night when I only have the road ahead to focus on.

Then today, I was able to bike in the rain. It felt so great to feel the rain pelt my arms after a winter with multiple cold rains where I had to be bundled up.

foggy day

It was rainy and foggy today.

The Road Bike
I took the road bike out for the first time today. I should have waited until tomorrow when the roads will be dry and clean from today’s rain, but I couldn’t help myself. My road bike was right there, all ready to go and the temptation overcame me.

The first few miles I was a newborn foal, stumbling around on its brand new legs but then muscle memory clicked into place and it was smooth sailing. Oh man, I forgot how fast and quiet this bike is! Since most of my riding (especially in winter) is for transportation purposes, I ride the same routes over and over again. But today biking the familiar route up to my nephew’s and nieces suddenly felt bizarrely short. I feel like the world has shrunk!

When I finally had my “riding no-handed” breakthrough this winter, Jim told me it would be even easier on a road bike. After ten miles of getting reacquainted with my bike, I was ready to try it out. The first couple times I was too timid, I brought my hands up into the air for a second but quickly replaced them when I felt the bike wobble. Seeing the unfamiliar skinny tire in front of me did nothing to build my confidence. But on the third try I took a deep breath, told myself that I could do it and sat completely upright.

Oh my goodness! It felt so stable and smooth and natural that I may never want to ride no-handed on a mountain bike again.

dirty bike

It needed a good cleaning when I got back home.

Three great things and spring has only just begun.

Errand 5
Park Visit with my brother
Category: Wild Card (I am putting this in the Wild card category because it took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting anyone to ride with me!)
Distance: 18 Miles
Biking with real, living people is awesome.

Errand 6
Commuting
Category: Work
Distance: 20 Miles
When it is so warm out that you have to put ice cubes in your water bottle, you know it’s spring.

Errand 7
Visiting My Sister-in-Law
Category: Social Call
Distance: 26 Miles
How do my nephews and nieces get cuter every time I see them?

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29 thoughts on “3 Great Things About Spring

    • Ah, yes…well, not so stellar, I seem to learn new bike skills at the rate of one per year. It is getting better but I am no where near ready to take it on the road yet. Which is kinda sad because of the two skills, track standing has much more practical value.

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  1. I imagine you don’t, but if you ever ride that road bike much in wet conditions, it really saves your brake calipers and front derailleur to have fenders. Not to mention the lower race of your headset bearings in the front. And your shoes, and, um, seatular area. Being from the northwest, I leave my fenders on all year. Some folks make a big deal of taking the fenders off for summer, but that’s more hassle than it’s worth for me. I’ve never used these, but they look slick: http://www.crudproducts.com/roadracer-mk2/

    Worth consideration…

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    • I actually find them intimating, I am afraid they will be hard to set up, and then need lots of adjusting, be hard to clean or maybe malfunction during a ride cause a crash…haha, typing these fears out makes me realize how silly most of them are. And it would be nice to go into a store on a rainy day without my back being splattered in mud. Thanks for the link, I will look them πŸ˜€

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      • You do have to get used to a few additional sounds with fenders. Depending on the type, there may be some rattles if you hit a bump and your fenders wiggle sideways. Also, perhaps the most difficult to get used to (but you do) is the sound of gravel or other bits of road debris that get picked up by your tire and “zip” around under your fender.

        The other consideration for a front fender is whether “toe overlap” would be a problem. If you currently can’t turn your front wheel with your foot in a forward position without hitting your toe, then you are used to this and adding a fender won’t really make a difference. If you currently CAN turn your front wheel without hitting your toe, then adding the extra radius for a fender could introduce toe overlap, which hundreds of people live with every day, but does take some time to imprint on your subconscious.

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    • When I was finally looking at buying a bike two years ago fenders were a requirement because I knew that I’d be using it a lot regardless of the roads. It’s one of the best decisions I made. Of course, buying a bike with them already installed meant that I didn’t have to figure anything out. πŸ˜‰

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      • That is very handy! Good to know that yours have worked well for you. If I ever do decide to buy a set of fenders, I could always have the bike shop install them, it would probably give me more peace of mind πŸ˜‰

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      • I have five bikes (not bragging) currently. Four of them have fenders. Ironic that the one without fenders installed is the one bike I have that has matching custom painted fenders. I’ve used fenders for so long I can’t imagine riding without them on my commutes or on any ride. They work so well at redirecting back to the road all the water and dirt the tires throw at me.

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      • Well, if you aren’t bragging then clearly owning five bikes is a drag. I can help you with that problem. Give me your winter commuter bike with the IGH and belt and you will only have to deal with four πŸ˜‰

        Yeah, your comment makes me realize two things. One-I need more bikes (I already know that but it is good to be reminded) Two-I should put fenders on at least some of my bikes, I need my biking to be practical and fenders will really help with that.

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  2. Great post, enjoyed reading about your rides. I remember changing my commuter from a Carrera mountain bike to my Pioneer tourer. I felt the same about the skinnier tyres, I envisioned having little grip and was worried about speeding up! But hey, thanks to your breakthrough, I can ride no hands on occasion, when nobody’s watching that is. Cheers.

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  3. I really love feeling the air around me on my arms too! The temperature difference between the pockets of warm air and cold air is amazing! I enjoy winter, but I really love spring. πŸ™‚ Great post, Bri!

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  4. Oh yeah, I forgot: since I was a kid (well, since I was your age), I have also *thoroughly* enjoyed whooshing through the various microclimates along my rides. In my daily riding, I feel them more in late Spring/Summer evenings, as they seem to be created by cooler air settling into a dip in the terrain, or from air cooled by a shady, forested hillside “falling” down the hill. There is one hill that I wind up and around on my way home from work where on a 90-degree day, I will usually pass through a cool section that is maybe 10 degrees cooler than the rest of my ride. It’s amazing how refreshing 80 degrees can feel.

    My favorite time of day is evening anyway, when birds are busy getting ready for nighttime and singing their bedtime calls (robins especially have their distinctive evening “clucking” they do), the sun might only be hitting the leaves at the tops of trees, it’s starting to get cooler, and everything seems calmer—so I guess it’s no surprise I enjoy a quick bike ride at this time of day. Whether it’s temperature fluctuations, bird songs or the sound of wings flapping, or quality of light, or whatever, riding in the presence of these things and having the ability to notice them (as opposed to driving in a car) always makes me feel like I know secrets that most other people don’t even realize are there to be known.

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    • I enjoy your comments so much, you have no idea! I have a huge grin on my face right now, that is exactly how I feel as well, I know secrets about the roads I ride that no one else knows…well, maybe not “no one”, but I bet most people missed out on seeing the bald eagle flying over the river that I saw a few weeks ago, for example. Oops, I guess it isn’t a secret if I tell someone!

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  5. The micro-climates are so interesting as you ride along… like the warm the air that comes off the sea as I ride on the esplanade. And the cooling of the temperature on a hot day when I ride under the canopy of trees. Bicycle bliss πŸ™‚

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