Friday, February 1, 2013

asphalt dreams

I'm trying to remember what it feels like to ride my bike.
since last november 12th I've attended 66 indoor sweaty spinning (grinding, grunting, groaning) sessions, and ridden outside only 4 times.
the last time I rode outside was almost 9 weeks ago, and my bike has been resting, dejectedly, against my garage wall since that day.  sigh.

during these winter weeks I've been paying close attention to all of the bicycling commuters I see out on the roads:  some of these people are almost impossibly committed to their programs.  we've had mornings of 10 degrees, of 8 and 5 and even a few at 0.  we've had mornings where neither road nor sidewalk is plowed and the snow sits 6 inches thick.  we've had mornings where there is nothing even close to a bike lane or a shoulder and there's barely enough room for two cars to pass by each other.  it's been icy, slushy, frozen, snow-packed, glacial.  and the intrepid cyclists pedal on.
my guess is that there's a thrill in it, somewhere, that must outweigh the drudgery and difficulty.
some are likely so determined to honor their commuting commitment they will put up with whatever they have to;  some may have no other acceptable form of transportation.  some might not have licenses or own cars, like my bike shop boy jared.
but some, I believe, like the challenge.
they like overcoming what the world decides to throw at them.  they know they can tough it out; they get a kick out of the adrenaline spikes as they slip, slide, overpower the impossible.  they are fueled by the satisfaction of reaching their destination via a path full of mental and physical challenge.
and maybe, just maybe, they like the quiet inside their skull caps and neck gators and face masks and helmets as they pedal their fat tires through mute piles of fresh white snow.

I'm not this tough.
my joke is that I commute to work, getting up early in the morning for my 23-mile ride before settling into my work day at home.  but I don't do this during the nasty weather, the extreme cold, the wet, the snow and sleet and hail and ice.
and I intensely admire those who do.  my jaw dropped as I watched a cyclist come spinning down our street two mornings this week when I didn't want to let my daughters even take a car out on the terrible roads.

today the roads are wet, drenched with meltage from four days of snow earlier in the week.  it's warm enough for a chilly ride, but the water is keeping me from feeling excitement about hopping on ruby and heading out and about.  I'm dreaming of asphalt--dry, smooth, dark--and accepting the fact that I'm not quite tough enough to go out there and take it the way it is.


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