Each year I wait patiently for March 21st to arrive.
Like most everyone else, I endure January. I tolerate February. But it's March that vexes me. Toss a coin - it will just as likely be another full month of winter as it will be the start of spring. Maybe we should move Groundhog Day to March 21st and let that furry little fellow predict the next six weeks of weather that actually matters to most of us...
This year - for a much welcome change - it appears to be looking up for outdoor enthusiasts.
All day Friday and Saturday I chatted with dozens of enthusiastic cyclists who were just as in tune with the next week's weather forecast as I was. One young woman I met named April planned to hit the streets - and the trails - with a new cyclocross bike. Another young woman named Natalie was hoping a new fitness hybrid would allow her to move from the spin bike to the great outdoors. A young graduate student was excited about being able to join her aunt on a series of charity rides atop her first real road bike.
On and on it went with each new person I met - a fast hybrid to keep up with a significant other, a cyclocross bike to commute to work, a first road bike to ride with work buddies, the addition of a dedicated triathlon bike, a carbon race bike upgrade. Each of these budding, improving, or experienced cyclists was willing to brave Friday's cold temps and Saturday's strong winds to test ride the bike of their respective dreams.
Christmas came early for each of them.
A lot of people are anticipating 2012 to be their summer of cycling. For some, it's the fulfillment of a New Year's fitness resolution. For others, it's taking their fitness to the next level. Some have vowed to get themselves, their spouses, and their kids out on the trail to truly experience a Midwestern summer.
Some expressed their concern about $5 per gallon gas. For many of the young people I met - and I met a lot of them - it was simply a no-brainer to use a bike instead of a car.
While their ages and their specific needs varied by individual, there was one common theme that was expressed or implied in our discussions; each was anxious to experience bicycling.
Had I not been so busy helping each of them select the right bike for their aspirations (and budget), I might have been envious. Each of them refused to miss out on a single day of spring weather and the opportunity to welcome the new adventures they would soon be experiencing by bike.
While I had a busy day planned for Sunday which included picking my son up for the start of his spring break and making a big family dinner to welcome him home, I still managed to squeeze in my first real ride of spring.
I experienced it behind the bars of my new bike.
Both spring and Christmas arrived for me yesterday...
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Keep riding and be safe!