When it comes to the bike life, there are days to be savored and days to be endured. Which is which depends on your perspective more than anything.
I woke up this morning to temperatures in the low 40s and steady rain…the kind that’s going to hang around all day. I checked out the forecast and the radar. It looked like a hurricane was spinning over Ogden. The mountains were getting snow. I checked the rain gauge. Three inches with more on the way? Yep, definitely a day to be savored.
I’m not kidding. I got to get muddy. I didn’t have anywhere I needed to go but I’ve been putting in some serious miles for the last little while and the thought of not riding at all was something that simply was not going to happen. so I found the base layer, hat and gloves and suited up. No, none of it helped. It was teeth chattering freezing. It was raw. Man, it was fun. In case you’re wondering, fun is what it’s all about.
There’s this story about what’s possible on a bicycle that has stuck with me all these years. It’s 100% true. I remember it as if it was yesterday. Jan and I had just moved to Minnesota. It was the start of our first winter there. We’d been warned about Minnesota winters and sure enough, it was nasty. I’d driven into St. Paul’s Midway from our rented townhome in suburban Woodbury. The plows had been out but it was still snowing hard and they couldn’t keep up. Interstate 94 was treacherous. Temps were well below zero and it took longer than normal to get into the office.
After parking, I set off to cross busy University Avenue. The snow must have been six inches deep on the pavement. It was loose and slushy and nasty from all the chemicals that had already been put down. I could barely walk without slipping. What do I see coming up the street but a guy on a bicycle. He was doing something that, at the time, I didn’t even think was possible. His eyebrows had an inch of ice on them and his hat was frozen to his head. He had this big old goofy grin on his face…or maybe it was a grimace. Either way, he became my hero in an instant.
I think about that guy often. He helped me grow even though that wasn’t his intention. He made me see the world differently and I liked what I saw. The bike life is about doing your own thing your own way. The fact that maybe you help other people break down the false constricts that have been built around their lives is just sweet icing on the cake.