Tomorrow is February 1. If you’ve been cycling, congratulations. You made it through the hardest month of the year across much of North America and Europe. If you haven’t been on the bike yet, I hope you will consider doing so from here on out. There’s something special about cycling this time of year.
The Winter Cycling Congress 2016 kicks off this Tuesday in Minneapolis. The idea behind the Congress is real simple. There’s no reason not to ride all winter long. My friend and colleague Bevin Barker-Campbell of Ouray Colorado will be there leading a breakout session on how to put on a winter cycling workshop. I wish I could be there to see her presentation. Good luck, Bevin. You rock!
Some of you don’t know that Jan and I used to live in the Twin Cities. I worked in the Midway on University Avenue. I drove in to work early, often arriving while it was still dark. One morning not long after we moved there, the temperature was below zero and it was snowing to beat the band as it sometimes does in Minnesota. There was probably six inches on the ground and it was coming down hard. I-94 and the surface streets hadn’t been plowed yet, or if they had it was piling up too quickly for the plows to keep up. The wind was howling. It was a challenge getting in but I made it. I was pretty proud of myself, but as I parked my truck and crossed University, this guy came slogging by on a bike…tough as nails. It was a defining moment. If you’ve never been, you can’t imagine how cold and inhospitable it was, and he was cycling like it was no big deal. I’ve never forgotten.
I rode every day this month. I’m sharing this not to toot my own horn, but to offer encouragement to anyone who thinks they might want to ride along. You can do it! You absolutely can and you should. There’s a special magic that comes with cycling this time of year. I rode on snow and ice and through below zero windchills. I was never alone. There were always other cyclists out and about. Nothing came close to that morning in St. Paul…at least I don’t think anything did.
When it comes right down to it, January is a joyride. I hope you’ll take advantage of the remaining weeks of winter and get on a bicycle. Life is better when you’re in the saddle. Ride on.