I grabbed my first ride of the year yesterday (daily commutes aside). I’m so glad I did, and I can’t wait to grab another today.
Prior to the ride, I was pacing my apartment like a caged animal. I was cranky and cantankerous, a right crotchety curmudgeon. (Not that I’m not often like that in general, but it was especially pronounced on this particular morning.) Once on the bike, it felt good to be riding, but I was a bit sluggish and it took me a while to fully warm up. Afterward, I was hungry and chilled, calm and collected, relaxed to the point of feeling sleepy (but not exactly tired). It was beautiful.
The temperature was in the low-30s and the sky was grey, but the wind was calm. I wore a fleece cap, long-sleeved base layer, jersey, jacket, gloves, shorts, knee warmers, tights, and booties. I may have appreciated another thin layer on my upper body, but I certainly wasn’t uncomfortable. All that really bothered me were my toes, which were pretty cold by the end of the ride. Next ride, I’ll try a better pair of socks.
I wasn’t quite ready to challenge the hills and whatever else the open road might bring with it. Moreover, I wanted to focus my attention somewhat on some recent changes I’ve made to the bike (saddle, pedals, etc.) and on how well my cold weather riding gear was performing. Lastly, after having not ridden in two months (save for the commute), I wanted to give my body time to find its way back into the swing of things. So, with all that, I opted for a couple of there-and-backs on the bike path for a total of just under 27 miles. (I was hoping for 30.)
It was great to see so many other folks out on the path walking and jogging. I encountered only one other group on bikes, however, but it was a good one: a family of four. Mom and dad were maintaining a gentle pace as their two young boys pedaled double-time to make sure they and their twenty-inch wheels stayed at the front of their little peloton. I love to see families riding together.
The ride left my bike filthy, not to mention my shoes, tights, and the backside of my jacket. So I had some cleaning to do when I got home. Say what you will about fenders, but they sure make a difference.
Update: while killing time waiting for Ms. McCaskill to return home from running errands so I can go on this afternoon’s ride, I stumbled upon this picture of “Dirty Betty” on a flikr photostream I was surfing.
What a great idea. Do you think I could get away with doing this? If not, “Bathing Bicycles” illustrates a variety of other options.