Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why You Should Ride in Early Spring

1. Smile like you're having a good time, even if it's through gritted teeth. Don't let on that anything hurts, not the butt, quads, or that special spot between your shoulder blades. Holding a permanent smile (but don't forget to breathe) alerts automobile drivers, even other cyclists that you are confident, fit (fake it), and having the time of your life. Smiles are infectious. People will wonder what they're missing by driving a car.

2. Get your butt out the door and ride when it's cold. Grab a hat, warm gloves, dress in layers. If you don't own adequate clothing, raid your kids' crayon colored hand knit mittens, that raccoon or bunny eared hat. Long wool socks can double to look like leg warmers. Riding in cold weather isn't as bad as you think. I know from personal experience that I can ride for 20 minutes and have warm feet. Most commutes are no longer than that.

3. Drivers are more tolerant in early Spring. It's true. Practice those lane maneuvers, pace line riding, or short trips to the mall when drivers are more patient and give you a wide berth. Later, as bike handling skills improve you'll assert yourself and hold your head high—and in a better frame of mind to handle irate drivers.

4. Coast all downhills. What are you trying to prove in April?

5. Don't let uphills get you down. Shift early, spin a few revolutions then stand in the pedals before you crest the hill. A little oomph outweighs that steady thigh-burning early season angst. Plus, you can see over the hill a second earlier than if you remain seated. It's better for your psyche.

6. Shape up those legs before short's season begins. Do yourself a favor. Toned muscles are less embarrassing on pasty-white legs because—let's face it—someday we have to wear shorts. Better muscle definition will be easier to tolerate when that awful (but welcome) transition occurs.

Put your head down, carry on. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

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