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Friday...45 degrees, rain and 50+ mph winds...yeah, I rode my bike to work.

Posted Oct 03 2009 10:01pm
Friday morning I woke to the sound of wind beating against the windows. I looked out to see horizontal rain falling. Then, while eating breakfast at 6:30, the tree in front of our home came crashing down. It has been weakened for some time. We notified the city back in June that it had split down the middle and wouldn't stay standing for long. It was located next to the city street, thus it's the cities responsibility. They did nothing. Today it came down, we called the city and they came and took down the rest and cleaned up the yard.
So, many ask how I motivate myself to get out on a bike on a day like this. I've had to give this a lot of thought. I've come up with some answers for you.

Number one, I sold my truck 7 years ago. A bicycle is how I get around. I never wake up on a morning like this and think whether or not I should ride my bike or drive. Driving isn't an option. I get up and I already know I'm riding the bike to work. The question I ask myself is, "What should I wear for today's weather and which bicycle would be most appropriate?"

Number two: It's a matter of perspective. I need to clarify that I love being outside, every single day, no matter what the weather is like. Riding a bicycle for transportation gives me the perfect excuse for getting outside. On days like Friday I always think of the story John Muir told of climbing to the top of a tall tree during a terrific thunderstorm just so he could experience the full fury of the storm firsthand.

Number three: More perspective. Specially on rainy days. As a backpacker, I've been on trips when it has rained for three to four days at a time. Every piece of clothing I have is wet or damp. I start each day by putting on a wet shirt. I'm wet all day long. And I survive, every time. When I ride my bike to work in rain, I start out dry from a warm house, ride 7 miles and arrive at a warm workplace where I change into dry clothes. Hardly an inconvenience compared to being wet in the wilderness for four days. I also backpack into the remote Boundary Waters Wilderness every year in the middle of the winter. We've been out in -20 degree weather with nothing more than a winter bivy sack and a -20 degree sleeping bag. Twenty four hours a day in sub zero conditions for four to five days and no shelter other than the bivy sack and sleeping bag. And I not only survive every time, I have the skills to know how to stay warm. I rarely find myself cold during those trips. Compare that to a bicycle commute in -20 degree temps where I start out from my warm house, ride 7 miles and arrive at another building that is kept at 70 degrees. Man, what's so hard about that?

The bottom line may just be the ability to think positively about any situation I find myself.
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