Bursting into color…

Big, soft, white flakes of snow fell lazily this morning, but met their demise on the warm ground. By the time I left work the roads were dry and I could not spot a single trace of winter.

But I did find signs of spring: the birds singing in the air, the warm sun on my face, the streams gurgling with the most ridiculous laughter, animals let out to pasture, the sap plink-plinking into tin pails, and oh glorious joy,

I found crocuses.

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And a random alpaca because I couldn’t say no to those imploring, gentle eyes.

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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 and how in every twist and turn in the road the air can be a 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?

“But you must be so tired…”

I have been a busy little chicken the past week. Leaving work, I was exhausted.

That condition disappeared once I started pedaling, however. Biking home is a great way to perk up after my work day no matter the season. But Biking Home (The Spring Edition)? It more than perked me up, it gave me so much energy I might not sleep tonight.

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First.
I went down another abandoned snowmobile trail which happened to be covered by melting ice. It was the largest sheet of ice my bike and I have been on so far. In the spirit of experimentation, I stopped abruptly several times and took a few fast corners. Nope. Those studs would not give an inch of ground. Good going, little tires!

DSC00049Then.
I spotted Canadian geese returning from their southern journey. (I think the proper name is Canada geese but around here we call them Canadian geese.)

Also.
I saw pygmy goats frolicking around outside, I am guessing it was their first day out of the barn this year. I didn’t take any pictures though because their owners were outside with them.

DSC00060AND!!!!!
Flowers!!!!! Spring flowers are coming up! Beautiful crocuses are here. I saw them with my own two eyes.

When people talk to me about my bike commuting they often say, “But you must be so tired after working all day!” Yup, sometimes I am. That’s why I need to bike home.

The Best of Both Worlds

30 Days of Biking has officially begun!

I woke up a little before 6am and after checking the weather I had a decision to make. Should I go on a bike ride to watch the sunrise while the temperature was at 15 degrees or should I wait until late morning when above freezing temperatures were predicted?

I decided to be a wimp and wait for the sun to warm things up a bit. A bit is right because the temperature choose to only get up to 24 degrees. Oh well, better cool than scorching hot.

I was eager to rid myself of my jacket, however, so I chose a road that climbed a plateau. Once my body warmed up I shed the jacket, excited to feel the cool air sweep over my bare arms. Yeah, it stung a little and my arms soon reddened from the chill but it was so worth it.

The road I was on was new to me and all of a sudden I found myself in a large barnyard, wondering if I had come to the end of the road.

Then I saw it. A snow covered path that went beyond the end of the pavement. I yelped with joy. Winter hadn’t surrendered completely yet.

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Begging to be explored.

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I love winter. I really love winter.

The snow was perfect. Hard enough so that I didn’t sink like a rock and soft enough to give me the “plowing through snow” feeling that I love. My grin was so wide that I am surprised my teeth didn’t fall out. Then I felt a quiet whisper, “Are you having fun yet?”. In times like these I feel God’s presence in such an overwhelming way that I don’t know if I should shout the glory of it or weep from joy.

I ended up doing a mixture of both.

I saw all sorts of animal tracks. Do turkeys eat cockleburs? Because the evidence I saw today sure made it seem that way. Tough stomached birds.

After a while the snow became too soft and I turned back. When I did the entirety of the river valley was spread out before me framed by the Adirondacks.

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Once I regained the pavement I flew down that road (after replacing my jacket of course) laughing. I met up with the main road and I had to ask myself the all-important question, to continue or go home. Too pumped to turn back I choose a different road to climb the same plateau again.

There were signs of spring everywhere; robins, trees tapped for sap and bare patches of earth. But more than that spring was in me. In my legs. In my heart. Deep down in my soul.

For the entirety of the ride home I could not wipe the dopey grin off of my face. How could I? I had just experienced the delight of winter and spring in one glorious ride.