Since the beginning of the year I’ve ridden to work every day. I gotta say it feels good to get back into it. The Rooster is performing flawlessly, I’ve had no problems (beyond a flat tire story I don’t EVEN want to get into).
The only thing I can say about winter riding is – its hard to climb out of a warm dry fartsack to go and ride in the cold (and usually wet) Seattle winter morning traffic. Admittedly my ride isn’t that long at 3 miles, but its all downtown start and stop traffic – non-stop short distance sprinting. Its not as if you can settle into a good rhythm or anything. You get up and for the next 10-20 minutes you’re doing short hard sprints all the way to work. Bleary eyed Seattle-ites in half-fogged windshield morning car traffic means you can’t slack either. I mean lets face facts – the laws of man don’t stand a chance against the laws of physics. And all the auto/health/life/home/ insurance in the world is little comfort in the face of knowing that theres almost no such thing as a minor wreck for a cyclist when automobiles are involved. Big bright blinking lights and a willingness to be vocal helps, but is no substitute for attentive riding.
Other isms related to winter riding aren’t really winter riding things of course. Theres the standard sneaking by security to get my bike upstairs (no I’m not locking it up on the rack outside kthx). Or having to do the whole change clothes thing without a shower at work. Its a hassle but not the end of the world. I carry a lot of clothes and deodorant in my messenger bag these days.
Where it gets awesome is the ride home. By the end of the day I’m ready for a good hard ride. I might come to regret saying this later but I’ll take after work traffic over morning traffic. In fact I’ve decided my ride home is too short and starting Monday I’m going to start on a route that extends my ride home from 3 miles to 10 miles. We’ll see how well I fare, but I’m excited.
Other things like the cold and the rain are survivable. A good thick waterproof windbreaker, fenders , some gloves and an ear warmer/balaclava go a long way. The more I do this the more I remember why I like it. Maybe eventually I’ll start doing .83 rides once I can get my endurance past something embarrassing.