Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Bark is Worse Than Bite

Sometimes the perceptions of how things will be are enough to scare a person off. I will be perfectly honest and say that I fall in that camp on many mornings. When I woke up this morning and looked at the thermometer, I thought to myself:

“Just what do I think I am doing?”

We live in an old house with a second story bathroom that truly lacks adequate insulation. I know it’s cold outside when in the shower standing under a steady stream of hot water and I curl my feet on the floor of the shower stall because it is cold. Preparing to head down the stairs, I checked and the temperature on my new little weather station read -2.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

It has been a constant series of experimentation with clothing. Adding and removing layers based on what I find. Today I opted for a mid-weight wool top and soft shell jacket. When temps are around 0, my toes have been getting cold by the time I get to work. Today I opted for some chemical warmers.

Miraculously, I was out the door (almost) on time despite all of my preparations and second-guessing while dressing. Once under way, I varied between being too hot and too cold, depending upon direction of travel and level of exertion. If working hard, I would find myself breathing through my mouth and getting too warm. Too warm = sweat, sweat = too cold = bad.

By the time I arrived at work, my head was covered with frost, I had a large icicle hanging from my chin, and my zipper on my jacket was covered with ice. All of which explains the strange looks that I would get from people in their cars who were looking at me. I looked cold. If not prepared to be outside and not somewhat conditioned to being out there, it would probably feel cold. But, this morning I was very comfortable and once again I found the experience of riding and adventure and invigorating.

The sound or sight of seeing the thermometer reading below zero might seem like it would make for a miserable experience, it is not so bad.

Just as I was thinking this morning that I hadn’t seen another cyclist, someone rolled up behind me at a stop light. I glanced over, muffled a hello and “cool bike.” It was a cool bike made by a now defunct local builder. I found it interesting that his response was “makes a good commuter.”

I went through my mental checklist and found that entertaining as the bike looked more race-ready than commuter and he seemed to be riding unencumbered. (No apparent backpack, messenger bag, or panniers.)

Yes, the beginning of yesterday’s post was a joke, for a number of reasons.
  • If I had $7k to drop on a bike, I’d certainly pick a different bike (or several.) I saw one of the new Felt bikes at the local bike shop and thought it quite unique and certainly a very dedicated machine.
  • I find the idea of putting a bike in the car to go on a bike ride ironic.
  • I’m a car guy and think a Porsche is a very desirable car, but if I had the $100k, I certainly wouldn’t pick the Cayenne. If I did have a $100k, there's NO WAY that right now, I could justify spending it on a car.
  • I could imagine someone shipping clothing back and forth to home to save the inconvenience of carrying it with.
  • I’ll probably never experience a nearly $600 jacket. (Let alone the luxury of owning two in the event that one were dirty.)
  • As one who travels with one whole extra pannier full of clothing, tools, and extra supplies each day, I’m not exactly the type to travel with a C02 instead of the more reliable and dependable pump.
  • I’m just happy to make it to and from, not one to push the pace unless I am trying to meet a deadline.

Interesting story from today on Minnesota Public Radio:

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/01/15/morning_commute_london_on_bike/

1 comment:

Jman said...

I admire your commuting dedication and look forward to your daily adventures. I live in Minneapolis and have come up with every excuse in the book not to ride to work this winter (though have not problem knocking out rides on weekends) You had me going yesterday with your all things elite rant. Loved it.

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