Crazy Talk

If you spend even a moderate amount of time on a bike, you have at some point — or maybe at regular points — heard this: You’re crazy.

I’ve heard it upon arriving at work and upon leaving work. I’ve heard it at hardware stores, grocery stores and — inexplicably — a bike store. I’ve heard it in hot weather, cold weather, rainy weather and windy weather.

I’m not alone — you’ve heard it too, right? And I’m not crazy, either. I’m motivated or dedicated or maybe, juuuust maybe, kinda tough. But crazy? No, I’m not crazy. I just like to ride my bike.

The latest bit of crazy talk came on Saturday morning. Chill north winds ripped through the day before, turning my “I’m leaving the office early for a few extra miles” ride into an “I wish I’d driven to work today” ride. The wind chill upon my arrival: 8. As in 8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things weren’t much better the next morning, and after my wife walked the dogs around midday, she declared to me (and to our kids), that if my friends and I still planned on riding, we were all completely nuts. Insane. Crazy.

Because I’m not decidedly crazy, and because I now took that as a challenge, I kitted up and rolled down the driveway. The conditions upon departure: 14 degrees, but with a wind-chill factor of 5. Why? I don’t know — why not?

Both my buddy and I had all morning to think about it, so we’d each dressed in our absolute warmest gear. It goes like this: Grab all of the very warm things from your closet and wear them all at once. Put charcoal warmers in your gloves and shoes and heavy lotion on the exposed skin on your face. And then you’re ready to go.

We aimed for the nearest gravel roads on our ‘cross bikes,  hoping to stay hidden from the still-fierce winds among the hills and small groves of trees. And with the exception of two or three miles, it really wasn’t bad.

That doesn’t mean we were warm, though. It just means we weren’t frozen. My fingertips and toes got pretty cold in the last 30 minutes, despite my preparations. I suppose that’s to be expected, isn’t it?

We finished with about an hour and 45 minutes on the clock. And on the way back to my house we took a quick turn though some of the neighborhood singletrack — yes, my neighborhood has singletrack — for kicks. Why? Why not?

One cup of coffee later, we were planning the next day’s adventure. Crazy? Nah. In love with the bike?


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