Monday, March 2, 2015

Giddy - When Eight Wheels Inspires Two

Winter riding attire: down parka, scarf, ear flap hat, and hand warmers inside mittens.
With an injured quad strengthened by afternoon ski adventures, yoga sessions, and lap swims, I took a leap of faith and returned to roller skating after a 25 year hiatus. Wobbly and unsure, feeling stiff, it took a half hour of gentle strides and commiserating with my younger brother, my roller skating companion, before my spirits began to lift. 

I started gliding across the floor. Disco ball lights splattered colored dots everywhere. Years melted away. 80's rock tunes set the mood as I dallied in dance moves, shuffles, nostalgic and revived. I can already imagine more good times at the roller rink, though of course, tempered by an older body. I will no longer be able to "shoot the duck" I suspect, or limbo, but when a sport that I once relished has been offered up to me like a gift, and I have a sibling who's willing to go along, what could be better?

It was inspiring!

Paths are still snow covered and bumpy, but still navigable at slow speed.
Excitement carried over into the following day. With temperatures in the 20s F and ample sunshine, I had a sudden impulse to get on my bike.

My feet stayed toasty warm.
Within 15 minutes, I was dressed, and extracting my bicycle from it's winter quarters. Unfortunately, my chain was stuck between freewheel and frame, an unwelcome casualty due to storage. No amount of back pedaling helped. Frustrated, and unwilling to locate a wrench (rear wheel lacks quick release) I unearthed a screwdriver from my tool pouch, but couldn't pry the chain loose. My husband came to the rescue, sensing my lack of patience and urgency, and performed some mechanical miracle and soon I was on my way.

I set off, dressed for warmth, knowing that I would be pedaling slowly, exploring paths and neighborhoods, my mission to assess a navigable route to work. I also carried a backpack full of swim gear, planning to stop at the YMCA on my way home.

Bike paths were hard packed snow, endlessly roughened, but my 2" wide tires absorbed the shock and made the going manageable. However, there were long stretches of clear asphalt too - more than I would've suspected.

I love discovering local trails.
I located a workable route to my new office until more favorable conditions allow dalliances into a city park and interesting neighborhoods. However, as I looped towards downtown, I discovered an alternative route, suitable to winter's hang-tight attitude. Even better, a local's path that cuts through woods, sure to be a fun rip once the snow melts.

As I explored, clad in parka, jeans, toting a back pack, I pondered how much I'd come full circle, back to the simplicity of commuting. Who needs panniers or tights? Certainly not in the winter. For me, warmth trumps all.


  1. I agree with your last comment about warmth trumping all...... If there's one thing that I can't stand it's being cold..!!

  2. What is it with wheel love. I also love roller skating. Something about that smooth whizzing along feeling.
    Glad you're back out on the bike. I'm due to be induced into labour this week, then the return to my cycle wheels countdown can begin ;-)


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