Monday, January 27, 2014

One Winter Day

The winter storm that came through before this last one hit here in Colorado left quite a bit of snow in our area. Fortunately, the sun came out for several days after and melted nearly all of it away, making an unseasonably pleasant small portion of January and cleared the majority of ice from the roads quickly. Because it was so nice, it was difficult not to be out on a bike, so I found myself frequently making trips on two wheels (sometimes, seemingly for no reason at all).
On one of those non-purposeful trips by bike, I came across a downed bike lane sign. My initial reaction was one in regard to some sort of repairs being made, but then as I looked closer, I came to believe that this had actually been struck by something to almost entirely uproot and split the sign: most likely, a car that had slipped on the now-disappearing ice. Because it has been a couple of weeks since that original storm, I'm curious to see if the sign will be replaced/repaired, or if it will be noticed at all. The road is pretty well traveled by motorized vehicle and cyclists alike, so I will be waiting to see what takes place in regard to repairs - or, I may even make a call to the city to see if they are aware of the sign being damaged.
On another day during that same stretch of sunshine and disappearing snow, I tweeted a picture of two bulls butting heads in a herd of cattle.
There was nothing exceptional about the photo (nor the incident necessarily), but it tickled me in the moment as I was riding by to capture a snippet of nature. Not only did I snap a photo of the bulls fighting, but I even managed a very short video of the cows mooing around them.

Just after my few moments with the cows, I headed down the road and spotted some cyclists crossing railroad tracks to get to a portion of trail that is still in tact and usable by those on a bike.
Three ladies were out enjoying their mountain bikes on a beautiful, winter day - enjoying each others' company and chatting away... and there was nothing extraordinary about it.

In fact, there was nothing extraordinary about any of these moments caught while I was riding a bike. However, had I been in a car, travelling at much higher speeds and focused on an arbitrary destination, I would likely have never actually witnessed any of these scenes. None of these moments were life-changing, but they are just three short examples that were enjoyable (for me), or that caused me to stop and ponder some aspect of my community and the people who live within it. I cannot help but wonder how many great moments are missed, or how many opportunities for insight or change are overlooked because so many of us travel by various motorized means more often than not. I frequently find myself lost in thought while riding a bike, and I think this is common for many. It's a wonderful opportunity to witness small moments that provide observations or perspective on my own life, feelings, space, and so on, and I can't help but feel a bit sorry for those folks who don't have the pleasure of engaging in something as simple as riding a bike. They truly don't know what they are missing out on - especially during the often rare, beautiful, winter days.

4 comments:

  1. Photos look like it was a gorgeous day. Certainly one to take advantage of!

    Two things I've found with winter biking.
    1) I do not like icy roads. If the roads are dry, then everything's cool. If there is compact snow, I may ride an MTB with knobbies. But ice and two wheels is a bad combination. The tires can "wash out" from under you far too easily.
    2) With the right clothing, biking in cold weather is no problem. As long as I have the right layers, my head band over my ears and choose the right gloves (I have three pairs of winter full finger gloves with varying amounts of insulation), then no problem. I do go for the neoprene booties for my feet and a fleece face mask if the temp drops into the teens. At those temps, in Seattle, with the downhill runs at speed, any bare skin will freeze.

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    1. I am not at all a fan of icy roads either. I have tried desperately to make my peace with them, but I can feel myself so unsteady when riding across that it causes more tension than pleasure. On those days, I tend to walk more because at least I can generally avoid the super-slippery spots a bit easier. Sam was on a group ride several weeks ago when it had been snowing quite a bit and the roads were just packed down enough that it was like a sheet of ice. I knew better than to even attempt it, but the poor guy wanted to ride so badly that he decided to go (and ended up having his bike slip out from under him). I barely trust myself when I can feel the ground with my feet, so having the tires between myself and the ground doesn't lessen my fear.

      As you said, the cold is tolerable if bundled/layered appropriately, but the ice... well, I know some seem to have a knack for riding on it, but it is not my preference, so if I can avoid it, I will (sadly, this is also going to cause me to miss out on my January mileage goal - but, such is life). :O)

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  2. I love those moments. I call them "the small graces of the bike." When the sun comes out and warms your cold nose, or you see a squirrel scurrying across a yard carrying a twig with three acorns still attached, or the neighbor's dog comes out to give you a woof and a wag from behind the gate, you know you've witnessed what you miss encased the glass and metal of a car.

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    1. Great way to view riding a bike, Kendra!

      I love the friendly dog woofs... we have a few that scare me in the area though as they sound as though they want to take a chunk out of my leg (if they could get to me). I love dogs - all animals - and I know they're just protecting their home, but it can startle me when I'm not aware that there's a dog ready to bark. I'm laughing because I'm also remembering the summer months when cars would be driving past and a dog would stick his head out the passenger window and woof -- scares the beejesus out of me when I'm lost in my own little world. :O)

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