We didn’t need anything in town but it was like 8°C so I went anyway. And took the long way.
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.
I’ve launched a new project. Full details are on the actual website, but in short:
I think more people should be riding bikes. In my many years of riding bikes one thing I’ve learned is the best way to get more people to ride bikes is to – wait for it – ride your bike. What people respond to is truth. All you have to do is ride your bike and be honest about it. Tell about it. Be the living embodiment of what riding a bike does for you. That’s enough. People can see that, it’s genuine. You don’t have to beat them over the head with it or rattle off stats or talk smack about cars. The riding itself is the corrective action for so many of us. That’s what non-riders need to see and experience.
If’n youse are into bikes, perhaps give it a look-see. And perhaps even if you’re not, we might be able to bring you around.