Do you remember when the first snowfall fell, when summer barely had a snowball’s chance in Hell?
Husker Du – “Celebrated Summer”
It hardly seems real, or fair for that matter. Another summer has come and gone, and fall will have passed before our next issue comes out. With the rainy days and cold nights come feelings of apprehension, because the days ahead promise an ever-increasing threat of harsh weather and difficult riding conditions.
I tend to welcome the fall, but I enter the winter months with a pang of regret. No matter how many miles I log over the summer, I always wish I had ridden more while the weather was nice. That I had taken one more road trip. Ridden in one more alleycat. Played one more game of polo.
That’s not to say my riding season is over, though. The cold-weather months are long and hard, but the body adapts. The waning weeks of October feel like February at first, but I’m back to wearing short sleeves on sunny days in mid-November.
And then it’s time for Saturday morning cross-bike rides through the park. Cruising under a canopy of red and yellow foliage, slicing through piles of crisp, golden leaves. It’s time for brisk morning commutes where the sunlight sparkles as your breath clouds the air before you.
Eventually winter is upon us and it’s time to enjoy the sublime privilege of cutting fresh tracks in the snow. Or following the first tracks of the day and trying to guess who got up earlier than you did. Climbs that you dread in the summer become welcome opportunities to generate body heat, and modest downhills conjure streams of icy teardrops.
Winter bike commuters deserve recognition, but seldom ask for so much as a pat on the back. It’s satisfaction enough to know you’re among the hardy few who braved the cold on two wheels. And like memories of summer make winter riding seem arduous, memories of winter rides make summer seem that much more special.
Was this your celebrated summer? Was that your celebrated summer?
Urban Velo issue #10, November 2008. Dead tree print run: 2500 copies. Issue #9 online readership: 40,000+