Monday, January 15, 2018

The Evolution of Accepting a Winter Without Riding

Groomed ski trails in Finland.
Photo credit: Timo Newtom-Sym on Wikimedia, and converted to black and white by anniebikes.

This Phase Cannot Last
Between cycling for the last time on the solstice, sitting and visiting relatives over the holidays, and frequent precipitation, I figured the snowfall was too good to be true. It wouldn't last. The 2016 winter had prolonged dry spells where, sporadically, I rode on dry pavement for errands or round trip to work once a week, just enough to get my cycling fix.

Frustration & Denial
Then just before the new year, a 7-10 day deep freeze descended upon New England. Below zero and snow fell! It was too cold to go outside. I was stir crazy from lack of exercise, though yoga helped loosen stiff joints and protect my sanity. A gym membership is lost on me. I want to be out doors. I sat near the window, reading, watching movies, trying to absorb daylight. It was the first time in a long time that I considered buying an indoor bicycle trainer. Instead I gazed outside.

My heart hurt when my husband removed my son's and my bicycle from the garage to open up space for our vehicle.

Once the terrible weather spell passed, frequent precipitation is the new normal. I have resigned myself to leaving the car at home during the work week and despite my dislike of the bus, I've re-calibrated my mindset, using the bus as link to more exercise. I walked the 4.5 miles one way home and fell once and nearly slipped numerous times due to icy paths (not to mention arriving home late), so the bus allows me to shortcut the miles but still get exercise walking on plowed and salted sidewalks - as much as I need for sanity.

The transition feels complete. I've shoveled driveways, embraced the beautiful powder snow, and adopted a new elderly neighbor's driveway as my new project because, sadly, another older gentleman who we've helped for many years, had recently passed away.

This past weekend I brought out my cross country skis for two days of local skiing: through backyards and shushing in an unplowed cemetery beneath tall evergreens heavy with snow, plus a lovely sunset ski with my husband along the waterfront path. Ice is forming on the shoreline. Surprisingly, I kept warm in single digit temperatures, donning a down parka, wearing winter weight bicycle tights, and the warm mitts I'd purchased last year for cold weather riding. The irony, of course, was that cycling garments were also great for skiing, on the same waterfront path that's my favorite place to ride.

When we returned to the car after dark, I looked up and smiled at a sky full of stars. The transition was complete. I'd come full circle, from angst, frustration, to acceptance. Though cycling is never far from my mind, I've decided to embrace winter while it's here, in whatever mode of personal transport gives me peace of mind.


  1. Annie I am sorry for your forced hiatus from the bike but it sounds like you have a great attitude about it -being flexible is a great asset to have, and btw that picture is gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Ryan. It's difficult this winter to safely ride but still beautiful in its own way. The photo is lovely, but it's not mine. I will give credit to the photographer.

  2. Your said "and fell once and nearly slipped numerous times due to icy paths"
    You can also get snow chains for your shoes which you can slip on/off as needed.

    1. I have traction devices for my shoes - I just plain forgot them! They now live in the bottom of my backpack so they're handy.

  3. With flu season and more extreme cold in N. FL, I'm making adjustments but if it's in the high 40's I'll venture forth to ride, though at a slower pace.


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