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.



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