The line on the cover of the magazine said, “Winter Riding Basics.” I was on my way to a sandwich shop across the street from my office, and needed something to read, so I tucked the December issue of Bicycling under my arm.
I was curious to find out if the magazine’s staff actually had any tips that would be useful for those of us who ride year-round in Alaska. I realize that most of their readers deal with much milder conditions, so I didn’t expect much. I got even less.
Prepared for a chuckle at overpriced jackets and riding boots that leave wallets lighter and toes frozen, I plopped down at a table, bit into my lunch and opened the magazine to find the “winter riding” story, which was full of advice on … riding an indoor trainer.
Sorry, folks, but spinning on the hamster wheel is winter training, not winter riding. If some dumb schmo like me can ride through an Alaska winter, I’m sure a good portion of Bicycling magazine’s readers could ride all year in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Colorado, etc., especially if they found some useful articles on how to do it.
Riding in winter is easier than it looks. Believe me, I’ve been doing it for years but still sometimes find myself looking through my car windshield at someone on a bike as I think, “Damn, that looks cold!”
Pedaling to work last Tuesday, I stopped at an intersection where a cluster of campaign volunteers were waving signs for their candidate. One of them asked me if I ride all winter, and then told me she was impressed. “I’m a wimp,” she said.
This from a woman who was standing virtually motionless on frozen concrete, in 15-degree air, at least an hour before sunrise, to wave a cardboard sign at passing cars. And she thought I was the one suffering.
If the editors of a leading bike magazine don’t get it, how can we make that woman on the corner understand?
As the light turned green, I assured her that I felt great, and was surely warmer than she was at that moment. It’s all a matter of the right gear, I told her.
From the look on her face, I’m pretty sure she didn’t believe me.