Cycling controversies and cabin fever: I just want to ride!

Cycling controversies and cabin fever: I just want to ride!
Warm weather riding on the Des Plaines River Trail

Old Man Winter has got my tongue.

Not to worry, I'm not stranded at the foot of the driveway, stuck to the light pole, fending off hungry coyotes. It's more like a case of laryngitis. As winter wears on, I seem to be losing my voice. Or my desire to use it.

It's not that there hasn't been anything interesting to speak about in the world of cycling.

The pro peloton of the recent past appears to be imploding before our very eyes. Fingers are pointing. Confessions are being made. Denials are fewer. Riders are actually testifying in-person. Even Lance Armstrong has shown a willingness to talk to authorities. Cycling fans just need UCI, WADA, and USADA to quit worrying about their own fiefdoms and start doing something about cleaning up the sport.

After writing extensively about the Lance Armstrong Controversy for the past year, I no longer care about the day-to-day drama.

I just want to ride.

I'm aware that locally, good ole IDOT has taken on the de facto role of blue ribbon fact-finding commission in the imaginary war on cars. Again, the agency's attempt to ban the installation of protected bike lanes is yet another example of an intransigent body trying to protect its own fiefdom. A defiant stand against the changing will of the people it is mandated to serve.

I could rail on about the success of protected bike lanes in other cities. I could cite statistics. I could - once again - lay out the case for reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality, relieving congestion, and improving individual health for all citizens. But I won't.

I just want to ride.

It's no secret that I'm a fair weather rider. It's not really the cold or the snow that bothers me, either. The bike industry has great equipment to compensate for nearly every perceived discomfort or inconvenience related to winter cycling. But short of wearing a hunter safety orange jumpsuit and riding a federal safety yellow bike with enough led's to be seen from space, I just don't trust suburban drivers suffering from SAD and chronic cranial rectum disorder.

I don't own a fat bike to tackle the unplowed trails of my local forest preserve, so I'm stuck riding inside. I have a health club membership and a pretty nice trainer to use at home. But it's just not the same.

Sure, I can simulate the experience of pedaling. I can chart my stats - calories burned, watts generated, heart rate, and average speed - all while listening to my iPod or watching TV. I can even sit on my own bike and pretend that I'm riding outside.

I don't want to pretend. I just want to ride.

I want to breathe fresh air. Feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. Smell the scents of the season. Battle the wind. Grind up hills and fly back down. De-stress my soul as I stress-out my body. I want to pedal to places I've never been before. I want to bike alongside my friends.

I just want to ride.

So forgive me as I take a break from writing about all things bicycling while I cocoon myself inside and daydream about actually bicycling. I have a long list of new products I want to try for 2013. I have another list of rides typed into my calendar - some short, some long, but all of them epic. I'm waiting patiently for that first 50-degree day to arrive and officially kick off the season.

I just want to ride!

Filed under: Bicycling Story

Tags: Winter Cycling

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