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.
Hello Friends. It would seem we all made it through another work week. Congrats. If you’re still feeling a little tense – up here in Canada our election is about to wrap up, and in the States’, well, it’s the States – I have a couple of options to perhaps ease your woes.
If you’re Canadian and voted already, good for you, your mind is probably clearer than those who haven’t. If you’re still hung up on which box you’re going to check, maybe give one of these a try.
You could hop on your cruiser bike and head to your favorite coffee spot, maybe meet up some with some friends. Take your time getting there, nod and smile at passersby on the way. I suggest you do as my buddy @spoke_n_words likes to say and, “let the breeze blow through your brains nicely.” I can think of no better way to sort out your thoughts.
Or maybe the slow roll ain’t your thing. Maybe getting out and getting the blood flowing is more your style – hopping on your carbon-go-fast-bike and hitting your favorite loop at 80% of your FTP is the best thing to clear your head. Remember what our mutual friend Tim Krabbé said, “On a bike your consciousness is small. The harder you work, the smaller it gets.” Kind of the Road Cyclist’s version of “free your mind, and your ass will follow.” I should think afterwards as you’re sucking down your powdered drink mix of choice, things might seem a bit clearer, or at the very least your head and pores will be.
Don’t let The Politics – mess you up kids, look past to the Big Picture. There’s no partisan way to ride a bike – it’s all the same action – corrective action. The bike is a simple machine that solves complex problems. You just have to ride it.
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.