Back In The Saddle

Monday afternoon, 2/15

After a week in Florida, it was a rude "welcome home" to sub-zero temperatures. Still, it has been a week before I was back on the Zero.

While I was gone, I had a Road Grimed Astronaut patch installed on the front pocket. Ironically, my suit appears to have been washed during this process. Road grimed astronaut with no road grime! I can fix that. The roads were wet on my first ride home and my suit regains a little of the patina it had lost.

Tuesday morning, 2/16

25°F this morning so I decide to take the long (scenic) route to work. Traveling the winding back roads is rather treacherous this morning. There was a light dusting of snow last night and where there is no snow, there appears to be frost coating the road. s-m-o-o-t-h is the keyword. Traction is better than it appears and I complete my journey without incident.

45 minutes and 20 miles later it is time for a hot cup of tea. A chill has certainly settled in my bones, but I didn't experience any of the painful fingertips that Randy and Kyle did on their sub-zero rides. After experiencing the sub-zero temperatures last week and getting thoroughly chilled, a body gets acclimated pretty quickly.

It is important to have a routine, and especially so for winter riding. This morning, I was a little off my game. Did I buckle my helmet strap? Where are my glasses? What else did I forget? It is so much easier to get my courier bag on before I put my helmet on, but more than half the time I have my helmet on before I remember my bag. How many times have I forgotten to stand my collar up? Riding on the highway with an open collar feels like an ice dagger in the throat. Maybe with more practice I will get it.

Friday morning, 2/19

I have long wanted a bike like this to try winter commuting. So far this experiment has been bearing out my hopes. I notice very little difference between my ride in this morning and my rides in mid November. The cold might be a little more intense, it bites just a little more. But in the end I give no more thought to the question, "Should I ride today?" than I do any other time. Last night I rode home in a little rain and sleet. Nothing was sticking to the roads and it was an uneventful ride home. But I did find myself wondering what the morning would bring--would it all freeze into an ice rink? At this point I think only the ice or heavy snow would cause me to trade 2 wheels for 4. It warmed up overnight; the roads are wet, but not slick at all. Another wonderful day for a ride!

I think the people of Duluth have been taking notice, too. I am seeing more waves, thumbs-up, and friendly honks on my rides of late. The guy pulling out of the Whole Foods does a double take when he sees me and gives me thumbs-up. A van turning on Lake Ave. gives me a wave as he goes by. Just another normal day in Duluth.


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