Many bike commuters and recreational riders (myself very much included) are debating whether to ride in the cold, snow, sleet, slush, and so on. Many beat themselves up when they opt not to do so. For example, msdottie sums up the matter brilliantly: “… I never regret a decision to ride my bike, but I often regret a decision not to ride my bike.” Rapid Transit staff are hashing out the issue right now, also.
Guilt, guilt, guilt! Good grief. Where does it end? I don’t know how to answer that, because I’m not even sure where it comes from. But here’s what I’m thinking: there’s a catch-22 for those who love bicycling. On one hand, we don’t want to be guilty of advocating this alternative only when conditions are favorable and we’re feeling at our very best. On the other hand, we want more people to ride, yet we realize that what keeps many people from riding is the feeling that they’ll be poseurs if they only do it once in a while. The thing is, notwithstanding all the marvelous benefits that cycling provides everyone (i.e., whether they are riding or not), at the end of the day we each ride for ourselves and because we want and choose to do so. I know there’s a lot to be said for doing what’s right even when you don’t feel like it. Absolutely. But riding a bicycle is, and must always remain, about personal choice, about seeing the world differently, about thinking differently. That last one, in particular, means not letting someone or something else dictate the terms of your identity as a cyclist.
The folks at Let’s Go Ride A Bike are making a pact to ride their bikes at least three times next week. I’d like to get in on that. I’ve already bottomed out entirely on the commitment I made just a few weeks ago to ride a 30-minute, 6.5-mile loop near my house every day, and to ride indoors on the trainer on days that I absolutely could not ride outside. (Note: the point here was to ride every day because doing so would be good on so many levels. The addition of the trainer clause had only to do with trying to lose a few pounds.) I gather that the pledge is to ride to work, they didn’t say so directly. Therefore, I’m going to take advantage of the ambiguity and simply commit to be on my bike at least three times between Sunday, January 18, and Saturday, January 24. The extended forecast shows a high of 35-degrees on Wednesday, and a high of 41-degrees on Saturday, with plenty of sun both days.
Meanwhile, on bicycling.com there’s a really lame video of Lance on the training bike, gearing up for his first multi-stage race since returning from retirement. (Aren’t the rest of us trying desperately to get to retirement?) What gripping footage. My regret is that I watched the stupid thing. It’s actually funny, in it’s own way. Then again, I may well have been laughing at how pathetic I am to be watching a clip like this. Don’t get me wrong; Lance is awesome. But while it’s a total rush watching him carve up stages of the Tour de France, seeing him sweat in the gym while trainers prick his fingers to get lactate readings and photographers dart around to get just the right shot fails to produce the same level of excitement. The only thing worth looking at in this video was the wicked cool vintage Hincapie long-sleeved wool jersey one of the trainers was wearing. Pity I don’t have an extra $130 in my pocket. That might be just the thing on a six-degree day like today. And I’d look so hip wearing it (well, save for the fact that I have a gut and no chest). I want so badly to look hip. Alas, some things were never meant to be. Maybe that’s what really bothered me so much about the video.