Indecision is a funny thing. In my case, once it sets in, it doesn’t leave me alone. Tomorrow is @winterbiketoworkday. I really want to participate, but like so many things worth doing, it’s hard. I’ve got hockey tonight so I won’t get home until midnight – in bed until 12:30. Riding to work tomorrow – really doing it right and riding the WHOLE way on the snow – means getting up and out early. Probably 4:30 or 5 or so. It will be dark then. Weather says temps will be around -15C with the windchill to the -20’s. Then there’s the trail conditions. Probably pretty soft right now (as I write this it’s only 0C) but maybe they’ll freeze and firm up overnight – but if they don’t, likely some walking will be involved.
What’s the point? Seems foolish sometimes to ponder doing these things. Subjecting one’s self to the cold and the effort for a 15k bike ride. Then I think about people who are going to ride 1000km across Alaska in far worse – and I’M hesitating to go out for 15k? I could not do it at all. I could do it part way – drive half the distance to where the trail becomes paved – and plowed – and ride from there. That almost seems more chickenshit than not going at all. I tend to be an ‘all or nothing’ kind of guy. To a fault. I have problems with moderation – with doing things ‘halfway’. Maybe I should work on that. Or maybe I shouldn’t.
Maybe I should just do it. Maybe the problem is I feel like there has to be some ‘reason’ to do it. Some justification for the lunacy it represents. I’m looking for the ‘why’. I don’t know if there is a ‘why’. Maybe I have to get out there to find it. Or maybe it doesn’t exist. So for the rest of the day I’ll be tormented by the question – go or no go – and surrounding all that is the constant buzz of do I wear this or wear that? Do I bring X? Will that be warm enough? Too much? Should I put myself into sleep deficit for a bike ride to work simply because someone somewhere declared it the day to do so? Where are my gloves anyway? Not those – the WARM ones? The answers to all of these questions don’t matter at all. I will either go or not go and that will be that.
Great mail day! Got my @planet_bike Super Commuter swag! A frame pump and a Super Fred Brass Bell for the Disc Trucker, a Lunch Box stem/frame bag, 2 pairs of socks, some grippy bar tape and Jereme at Planet Bike threw in one of their brand new Rojo 100 blinky lights too as a bonus! Thanks again to @ge_willi for the nod and to Jereme and the Planet Bike crew!
Sunday night. Decide to ride to work the next day. Check the weather. -8ºC. Steel your resolve. Sit on the couch staring into space for half an hour trying to decide which bike to ride. The regular commuter? The trail is snow-covered and that means longer in the dark on country roads with commuters who are only half-awake. The fatbike on the trail? Trail is snow-covered but not enough for snowmobiles means not packed yet and you’ll have to break trail. A longer, harder ride. Finally settle on the regular commuter/road option since the unknown trail condition is too much of a variable. Stage kit, lights and other necessary items for the morning. Steel your resolve.
Alarm goes at 4:30. Lay in bed for 10 minutes listing all the reasons not to ride the bike. Crawl out of bed. Check the temperature. It’s actually -12ºC. STEEL YOUR RESOLVE. Do the things. The yoga. The meditation. The coffee. Put on the layers. Take some layers off and exchange them for other layers. Steel your resolve. Get out into the garage to pack the bike. Cold as a tomb. Not to late to back out. Steel your resolve.
Push out the door, it’s cold, but you think you’ve managed to get the layers right. Dark. 2 mins. from home. Shift gears. Drop the chain. Try to upshift and pedal to get it back on like you’ve done 1,000 times before. No dice. Cranks lock. Get off the bike and instinctively lean over to assess the situation. Realize it’s pitch dark and you can’t see a thing. Try to fix it ‘by feel’ with lobster mittens on. Realize you’re an idiot. Take the light off the bars and try to work with one hand – with a lobster mitten. Realize things are far more fouled up than you initially thought. STEEL YOUR – screw it, pull the pin.
Thank you Monday. 5 minute walk home. Realize that taking the other bike is not an option due to time. Unpack the bike. Take off all the layers. Start the car to warm it up. Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’ is on CBC Morning and you turn it up to 11 so you can hear it outside as you scrape the ice from your windshield and accept that perhaps this is right where the Universe wanted you all along.
Psyched to say that thanks to a nod from my solid homie, @ge_willi I’ve been named the Planet Bike Fall 2019 Super Commuter! Very cool to be acknowledged as I’m a big fan of both Planet Bike’s products and their overall positive bike mojo ethos. I look forward to repping the Super Commuter title with pride! Point your electronic smart devices to the Planet Bike website to read about just how much of a nut I am when it comes to getting to work by bike. And while you’re there, pick up something for your commute from the shop. Thanks again to GeWilli and Planet Bike!
There are two free mini-libraries on my route to-from work. Today I stopped for the first time to hit one up. This one on Mill Street – hence ‘The Mill Street Free Library’ – only went up a week or two ago. It’s very well constructed, and I noticed as I opened it up and was sticking my face in it to browse how nice the freshly sawn wood smelled. My score? ‘The Odd Sea’ by Frederick Reiken. Once home I got half-way through it before bedtime. It’s very good. I have some books at home to drop here next time I’m by. Then I’ll have to check out the other free library on my route.