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The best bicycle commute in the world.

Posted Jan 10 2010 10:25am
In Thursday's post I wrote called "Getting it done" may have sounded slightly arrogant or in your face. Really it was motivated by a not so good commuting day. I love my bicycle commute most days, if not everyday. But every once in awhile I get one of those days where I kind of sit up in the middle of the commute and ask myself, "Why the heck do I put myself through this?" That's what was going on Thursday. I had tired legs from riding the Pugsley everyday....not the lightest bike in the world. Thursday morning and afternoon there was no color in the sky from the sunrise or sunset. It was very grey, dark, and the windchills were colder than they had been. To be honest, it was kind of a miserable commute. One of those days where you just put your head down and try to get through it. To top it off, everything about commuting in the winter is harder. The bitter cold makes your legs feel like lead when climbing, breathing is harder, more effort is needed to keep studded tires or fat tires rolling. The process of dressing in the morning takes longer. Then I change two more times at work. Once when I get there, and once before I go home. That takes three times as long as it does in the summer because of all the layers that you need to wear to stay warm. I even have a thought flash through my head that I was just going to give it all up, buy a car and drive like everyone else. Why do I have to be the poster guy for riding your bike to work every single day of the year in one of the coldest places in the lower 48 states?

So there, I said it. I do have thoughts like that. Friday morning was much the same. Cloudy, grey, and miserable below zero (zero Fahrenheit) windchills.

Then I always think back to some advice a fellow, and much more experienced, thru-hiker gave us when we were thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail back in 2001. Her trail name was Rambunny. She told us to never make a decision when going uphill or when it was raining. And it was true. There were times when we were going uphill and it was raining and had been raining for several days. It was absolutely miserable and all you want to do is quit and go home. But if you put off the decision, eventually the sun will come out again. The next day you're hiking along the most beautiful mountain ridge you've ever seen, in the sunshine, and your soul is singing. Well, that happened for me Friday afternnon. I stepped out of work and realized the clouds had cleared. The temperature had risen to 10F (-12C) and the wind had stopped. It had turned into an amazing day. As I rode my bicycle home, I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be at that moment. I stopped many times to enjoy the incredible view I have on my commute (above).
Then I rode up the ridge to get on the snowmobile trails for part of my commute. The sun was setting, the conditions were fast, and I was thinking this has to be the best commute in the world.
The conditions really were the best I've ever ridden. I topped out at 25 mph on one of the downhills. That could be my fastest descent...ever...on snow.

Right about now on this ride I was thinking, "Why would I ever want to drive a car to work when I could be doing this?"
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