38 tagged with #pedaling

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Hard Rain


Right before I drifted off to sleep, a sound like pebbles thrown against my window roused me; I sat up and watched pellets of ice tinkling against the glass, melting on contact, then freezing in place. The pattern of rain splatters froze like a photograph, like footprints of the storm.

I pushed through four inches of hardened slush, the bottom of my bike's frame grazing the ice before my wheels found traction on the pavement. A woman stood in the street with a bright yellow bag of road salt in her hand, loading it into her car. She waved and gave me a thumbs-up; the grin on my face must have been visible even through my balaclava, goggles, helmet, and hood.

"I just sent my husband off in this! What do you think?"

I stood up on my pedals, pushing my wheels even deeper into the ice so they'd bite down on the ground. "I love winter. I love winter so much."

Her cheers followed me down the road.

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05 February 2014 16:50


-1F


It was below zero when I left the house this morning, bundled in layers of wool and down and leather and nylon and cotton and plastic. The ride was not unpleasant, somehow, even if I had to stop twice to scrape out the inside of my goggles. At the first stop, it was condensation from my breath, carefully controlled in little puffs that still wasn't enough to keep the hot steam from sticking to the inside of the cooled plastic. At the second, it was frost, and my fingers were already too numb to be bothered by touching ice.

My thumbs were the coldest part of my body, separated furthest from my central source of heat by virtue of their opposibleness, their one virtue that makes them such a special appendage. My other fingers implemented the buddy system, bound in pairs inside my cycling gloves to minimize loss of heat while still retaining some amount of dexterity. Together, all of my fingers were the vanguard, the forward-most part of my flesh and blood perched on top of my bicycle. The faster I dared to ride through the slush and slipping cars, the more my fingers suffered, but I knew that it meant less time in the cold.

When I got to my building, I dismounted and walked my bicycle through the first floor hallway, dripping salted snow onto tile floors that are impossible to keep clean in this season, numbly opening doors by inserting my hand up to the wrist through the pull handles. I punched the elevator button with no regret; I felt that I earned my ride of two floors down into the basement.

A man stopped as he passed me and watched as I impatiently peeled off layer after layer; the heated indoors air was warmer than the bubble of cold now trapped inside my well-insulated attire, and I was desperate to thermoregulate again.

"I normally bike to work, but today I was afraid of frostbite."

"Well, sure. It wasn't that bad out."

I smiled and gave him a nod as the elevator doors slid open. He was only passing through to the next building.

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22 January 2014 19:40


Attention Cagers


I can tell when you're coming up behind me. I can hear the roar of fire from your internal combustions, the clank of gears and belts spinning faster than my legs can ever go, the thumping of rubber against the pitted asphalt. If I were deaf, I could still smell you, hot metal and burning exhaust streaming around you. If not for the smell, I could feel your approach; your sealed box of engineered metal and safety glass creates a bubble of pressure that disrupts the wind pushing dropped autumn foliage along the path, pressing up behind me even though, safely ensconced in your cage, you cannot feel the effects your machine has on the outside world.

This, friends, is why we call you cagers. I assure you, I know you are coming, and when you honk your horn at me in an attempt to, whether politely or aggressively, indicate to me that you are passing, all you are doing is letting me know that you know I am there.

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26 September 2013 15:51


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