Getting Greedy

Winter arrived (officially, at least) in Omaha on Thursday. Even though just last weekend it hit 54 degrees on Sunday. Next week’s highs could potentially be 45 or warmer each day.

With the exception of a weeklong stretch earlier this month, we’ve been fairly free of winter weather so far at Velogear headquarters. And even during that stretch, it was nice enough outside that a cyclocross bike with good, knobby tires and a set of fenders could pretty easily handle the snowy terrain.

But that snow was gone after a day or two of rain, leaving the landscape brown and ugly. The roads, however, are now a thing of beauty — they’re dry. Not clean — the aggressive salting and sanding of local street crews will assure a dusty film on everything through March — but dry. (How salty is it? On certain roads, when a car passes you can taste the salty cloud on your lips for a few seconds.)

After resigning myself to riding the ‘cross bike for the next two months to better handle road gunk and snowy terrain, I found myself elated to be rolling down the driveway on skinny tires. And after that one ride on the road bike last week, I’ve been jumping at any opportunity to get out for just a few more miles — as if road-bike miles are a precious commodity and I must get as many as I can before it’s too late.

I think that feeling comes after the mental (and physical) preparation for plodding through winter on a ‘cross bike on gravel roads. To suddenly be able to get out on a road bike without fenders feels like a stay of execution. It’s something we take for granted all summer, but the weak December sun shining down on a clear, dry road is a reason to try to duck out of work early to take advantage of something that surely will not last.

That same frame of mind caught my son last weekend, too. Though he was initially bummed out about his snowman melting, he quickly ran down the sidewalk, looking down at his feet the whole time. “There’s no ice or snow!” he said. “I can ride my bike again!”

And so he did. And so he has, almost every day since — if only for a few minutes. I think he realizes how rare it is to be able to ride deep into December. He asked the other day if he could ride on Christmas, too. I chuckled a little bit, and told him he was lucky to be out in December, period.

But as I take another look at the forecast for Sunday, a ride may well be on the agenda. Though getting gifts is fun — especially for bike guys — a better present is spending time on two wheels with your favorite people.

Happy holidays from our families to yours. Have a great weekend.

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