Today was the day … finally.
About three weeks after shelling out big money for a set of studded bicycle tires, I finally worked up the courage to ride to work this morning. It's been really cold lately. And, like a chicken, I didn't want my first "winter" ride to be completely miserable. Once I hop on the bike, it's at least eight miles to work. So I kept putting it off. Single-digit temps and winds out of the north driving the wind chill below zero kept me in the car.
But this morning the timing was right. Temperature: 17 degrees. Forecast: No snow, light wind.
So after dressing a bit like the Michelin man (three layers on the bottom, four on top, two pair of socks and mukluks), clicking on five lights (three flashing lights and two headlights), it was time to go.
And it was great.
Not first-ride-of-the-spring great or summer-70-degrees great or fall-leaves-covering-the-trail great but great. A snow-packed trail in nearly complete darkness was a new biking experience for me. Once I even stopped to admire. About 5 miles into the ride, I was along the Campbell Creek Trail, and it was completely silent. I stopped the bike, clicked off the lights and just enjoyed the scene for a moment or two.
Winter riding is a lot more difficult than regular riding. Lumpy, snow-covered trails don't make for smooth, quick rides. You have to be extra-sure that drivers see you. They don’t expect bicyclists in the winter.
But the first ride is down – without incident. Now I'm ready to try a single-digit day.