At some point, you just have to learn to laugh at the weather. You're certainly powerless to change it...
After fourteen straight days of obsessing over the forecast and checking hourly updates, I think I'm starting to crack up. 38 degrees? Ha! 20 mph wind? Pfff. Sleet? Seriously, is that all you've got? Mother Nature's attempts to ground this petulant child are feeble at best.
I'm starting to think of myself as Forest Gump's best pal, Lieutenant Dan. I've hoisted myself up to the crow's nest and I'm challenging the weather gods to bring it on. "I'm right here!" If you want to keep me off my bike this April, you're going to have to try a lot harder than this.
Accepting the 30 Days of Biking challenge has taught me a thing or two about myself.
The first and most obvious revelation is that up until now, I have been a total wimp about the weather. That old cliche "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing" is not just a too-cute tagline overused by bicycling apparel companies. It really is true. When layered properly with the least amount of skin exposed, human beings are fully capable of weathering sub-freezing temperatures while pedaling a bicycle.
The fact that we're riding in April at temperatures hovering around freezing is another story...
If the average postal carrier can't be thwarted by rain, hail, sleet, or snow, I don't see any reason why I can't hold myself to the same standard. Yes, precipitation is annoying. Without good gear, getting soaked will chill you to the bone. Visibility drops. Roads get slick. Trails get muddy. Finding a safe route can be challenging. Getting caught out in a downpour, driving sleet, or rush-hour snowfall can be dangerous and should be avoided if at all possible.
But the threat of precipitation at some point during the day is no reason to scrap a ride altogether. I just take my bike to a local bike path and endure 30-minutes of discomfort to get my daily ride in. The exhilaration I feel afterward is worth the suffering.
And that's one of the other things I've learned - every ride has its reward.
Physically, my body is more relaxed after a good cardio workout and cycling is one of the best exercises for the heart and lungs. After a ride, I become reinvigorated. I feel relaxed. I have energy to take on my next task. My mind is more easily focused. In short, I feel more alive.
Beyond the physical and mental benefits, there is also a strong feeling of accomplishment. There's something rewarding about setting a goal and sticking to a commitment. Overcoming obstacles. Succeeding in what you set out to do.
In the grand scheme of things, riding a bike every single day may seem like a very insignificant accomplishment or no real achievement at all. But it really is more than what it appears. There's a multiplier involved. It's synergistic. Cycling is the catalyst for a productive day. A more purpose-driven life.
While I've not given up on obsessively checking both the short and long-term forecasts, I have resigned myself not to let the lack of ideal weather dampen my outlook for cycling every single day in April. This is no longer a quest. It's not just a pledge that my pride prevents me from breaking. Bicycling has returned as part of my daily routine.
Cycling's back! I'm back! Wherever, whenever, and however I ride today, it will be great!
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Keep riding and be safe!