Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Desiring to Ride Through the Cold

Once in a blue moon wait for train maneuvers at Burlington's Electric's wood-fired generating plant.
Train delivers wood chips twice a day.
As the days get shorter, landscape turns grey, and colder days set in, I find it odd that for the first time I'm choosing to ride a bike for exercise in place of long walks around city streets. There are two reasons why: I've learned to dress accordingly to extend my riding season plus driving a car is simply something I abhor - at present I only drive to work. There will come a time when driving and walking are necessary to get errands done in winter, but for now, I still vote for two-wheeled commutes.

Intervale kale farm. Owners must be bike aficionados; notice bike frame supporting sign.
Cruising on trails, far from asphalt, crowds and normal walking range, I experience up close and personal things I don't even notice the rest of the year. The adage "can't see the forest for the trees" is suddenly the exact opposite. With trees stripped of foliage one can see through the trees and locate three squirrels at a time, scampering away from my wheel, shooting up tree trunks. Birds roost in trees; my presence scares chattering flocks to leapfrog from tree to tree ahead of me.

Deeper into kale farm (I ride the field perimeter) I find bike forks stuck in stump. Stacked wood is  ready for later bonfires?
 I pedal by a rusted automobile sunk door-deep into the earth.

Near the fire pit, a pile of junked bikes.
Riding when it's 30F has become a visceral challenge. Long underwear beneath blue jeans, thick windproof gloves, scarf, headband, and lightweight insulated jacket are generally enough to keep me warm. But barely. If I stop too long, or snap too many photos, requiring bare hands, my fingers quickly grow cold. I've learned to keep moving.

Drawn to the trails in the Intervale.
I could overdress, start out with many layers, discard as I go. In some respects that would suit my often frigid body temperature much better. Yet, I've come to appreciate the challenge of moving as fast as my feet can turn the pedals, building core heat that eventually radiates to my fingers. Or momentarily dismount, lift my bicycle over a log, or push up a too steep incline, pumping blood back into stiffened feet.

New bike path surface complete with striped lanes
Until the roads are dicey, I choose to ride.


  1. I enjoy the virtual tour of your local surroundings, and your description of how much you appreciate them. That Ross is dialed.

    1. A bit different than the Texas landscape, eh?

    2. Indeed it is. Perhaps that is why it is so much fun to see...well...that plus the personal perspective. Thanks.

  2. Neat use of the old frame and fender for the sign.

    1. And fairly non-descript too. I didn't notice it the first time I passed by.

  3. Interested by the wood fired power plant.Think I better get on the google machine to find more about it!


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