Through the holidays, through travel to warmer climates, through sheer determination (and doggedly tweaking my attire), I have pushed the limits of my denial about riding in the Winter, but now we’re really in it. We don’t just have cold and darkness. We also have snow. And ice. The jig is up. Am I going to ride?
I look at the street. It does not look inviting.
As a matter of fact, just the other day I came across a fellow in Riverside Park on a road bike. His tires had zero tread. He was riding on packed snow (pretty close to ice), going slowly. Sometimes he had to paddle, or dismount, but mostly he rode. And he made it to the Hudson River Greenway – which was plowed. Well, why can’t I do that?
Janet (my road bike) didn’t sell, and to be honest my heart wasn’t in it. She’s a great ride and the things I loved about her - especially her hydraulic disk brakes - I still love. So a month ago, I had her outfitted with winter tires and fenders hoping I might use her as an all-weather bike. And today’s as good as any to try her out.
We carefully make our way towards 7th Avenue.
The horizon is beautiful, dark and moody.
Ah well, it’s washable.
The path to the Lower Promenade is plowed, but the through path isn’t. If I want to make it to the tennis courts, I'll have to retrace my steps, back to the Greenway. There’s some hairy navigating (nothing I haven't seen before but a little scarier downhill).
I love going to new places – it’s one of the best things about riding. But no matter where you ride, eventually you know all the paths. And that’s what’s great about riding in New York because not only do we have real seasons which change everything; we also have a constantly shifting landscape of people - and they’re always up to something. Like these kids:
Up the Promenade we go. The path is clear until we approach the tennis courts.
1. No one is playing today – this wasn’t such a surprise (though I wonder whose footprints those are?).
When I get back, I do a search for customer reviews of this product. The news is not good: everyone has had the same experience as I did (and many have worse). Looks like I’ll be going back to those clumsy socks. But they’re reliable and they do work.
Meanwhile, I warm up my toes (no damage) and bask in the glow of a good ride. An exercise bike doesn't come close to giving me this. The breathing isn't the same - and it doesn't take me anywhere.
So. Was my friend right about Winter riding? At the moment, we’re headed for more snow and a real deep freeze, and I can certainly see his point. But as for me, as long as I'm properly dressed, I think I can actually have a pretty good time in the Winter. I may not ride as often as I’d like - and I certainly won't ride as fast - but I’ll keep riding.