Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wind Blows

Three weeks ago I moved out of the suburbs and into the city. I have a new residence in West Seattle. It has made me a full time bike commuter. That leaves me a lovely nine mile ride every morning. That is if it is lovely out. Which in Seattle it often is not.

The first week it rained almost non-stop. One day it even went from sunny to rain to wind-driven snow. This meant that each morning I arrived soaking wet to work. I do have a place where I can shower and get changed though. I have even started to keep spare clothes and a dry pair of shoes in my desk. (I know that I could wear thick protective rain gear, but my experience is that by the time I have enough to keep the rain out, I arrive so sweaty that a shower and change of clothes is necessitated anyway.) In the evenings I would change back into the soaking wet clothes and shoes for the ride home.

This last week was a little different. It only rained one day. The biggest problem was the wind. Most evenings I would push my way though the soup on my way home. On Wednesday I was struggling to maintain 12 mph while watching guys go the other way at double my speed. It brought back memories of days in Iceland and Morocco. It couldn't help but remind me that "wind blows".

Why do I mention my travails? I do so, not to tout my own rugged demeanor, but to acknowledge my compatriots who are out riding every day. It is these inclement conditions that separate the hardy cyclists from those who like to bike only when the weather cooperates. It takes a tough person to get out on two wheels no matter what is going on outside.

These all weather cyclists are elite group. I have ridden through rain, wind, hail, and snow. I have pedaled through temperatures over 110° F. and below freezing. You don't have to travel the world to be one though. There are are riders out there from Fairbanks, Alaska to Key West, Florida who ride in conditions most others wouldn't dream of. To all of them I say "bonne route", and I will see you down the road.