I cannot ride in weather below 30 degrees. I tried. Despite everything I said before about good gear and all, well, that was naive. Fixing a flat, distance riding, trying to lock up to a post, all painful to me in 10 degree weather. After a ride like this, I have struggled to get warm for the rest of the day. My riding habits can’t withstand constant sub freezing temps and wind chills. I wish I were stronger. I certainly have enough fat stores, but, dangit, I’m cold. The local news did a story on getting outside in the cold and decided that biking was out. Not exactly the push out the door I needed, but maybe common sense has to win over the will to be a superhero, which by the way, I realize I’m definitely not. Speaking of superheroes, My buddy Rob leads the charge. He is a cyclocross nut and is out it seems most days a week practicing and making a party of it. One post of his explained earnestly that really cold, windy, wet weather was really perfect for cyclocross, so come on out. I must be getting old. I can’t keep up.
So it saddens me to say that while my 6 months of bike-centric existence was successful and life, spirit, and attitude altering, in the hard winter of ’10, I am showing my true colors as those of the fair weather rider.
But my thoughts about bikes haven’t stopped. I’m excited by all our local bike activity–cyclocross, community bike programs, new bike stores. And the headlines today were about gas prices rising. People will be forced into alternatives. This leads me to wish for better, more direct bus routes, bus stops with protection from the elements, more car pooling efforts in our communities, and tax credits for alternative transport. Bicycles have been ubiquitous in the news this year, but when the temps go south, cities depend on the infrastructure to support them, and this means getting them where they have to go cost effectively and conscientiously. Reflection is good. Action is better. I’m left wondering where to turn.