Lessons on a Bike

This past week has been quite frigid. The icy feeling in the air is bone-deep, making my joints ache a little. Every step is almost agony, every movement in and out of a seating position is kind of like the moment of truth.

I sound like a really, really, really old person right now.

WABA’s Cider Ride (that I wrote about) left my body creaky and stiff in the joints. The cold temperatures surely aren’t helping. Surprisingly, I’m not sore like I thought I’d be. My skin is still suffering, and it seems no amount of “emollient” lotion is helping.

But all of that is an aside.

The D.C. area just got a nice dusting of icy snow (and more is coming this weekend… supposedly), and has brought on a new challenge to my winter riding goal.

It’s my second winter, and I’ve figured out that my winter biking apparel needs attention. What I didn’t realize, until Wednesday morning, was that Roccinanté needs some winter upgrades. (Roccinanté is my bike, by the way…)

I waited two days after the ice-snow mix passed through, thinking my commute to work will be just dandy. Cold, crispy, and a wee-bit snowy but still a good ride.

No. That is not what happened at all.

My regularly 25-minute commute from Silver Spring to Bethesda on the Georgetown Branch Trail turned into a 45-minute almost nightmare.

I was tempted to turn around and go back home to change and catch the bus, risk being late for work. But in some weird way, I was determined.

crunch crunch crunch crunch Sounds like something is being shoved into a grinding machine…

The commute was really slow. It was cold. It sucked.

My tires are not equipped to handle the stiffness and slickness of the ice, especially on a trail as poorly looked after as the Georgetown Branch Trail. It I wasn’t making a ruckus over crunchy ice, I was slipping in mud pockets. My tires were getting caught in already-frozen tire tracks.

I had to experience this at some point, I guess. I grumbled to myself a lot going into work that morning, and aside from realizing that I should maybe invest in some winter tires, I learned that pedaling does help you keep your balance, even when you’re slipping across the trail in comically zigzag fashion.

You win this time, Winter. But I’m coming for you.

clker.com

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