11 December 2016

Does That Thing Have A Heater?

"Do you have a heater on that thing?"

So shouted a random stranger as I rode by.  I simply smiled and winked, though I doubt he saw the latter under my shades.

If I had stopped to talk to him, I might've said something like "This weather brings out my natural glow."  Of course, he wouldn't have known that I might not have a natural glow.  But that'll be our little secret, dear reader.

Anyway, I just had to get out for a ride.  December and May are for college instructors what March and April are for tax accountants.  I feel like I'm in that scene from Fantasia in which the brooms multiply.  The difference is, of course, is that instead of brooms, the papers are reproducing themselves everywhere I turn.  And, although I'm always learning something new (or so I hope), I am not an apprentice.  At least, I'm not considered one.

Back to the ride:  The gentleman who wondered how I could ride in the cold (about -2C or 28F, which is the coldest it's been so far this season) was walking his dog along a block of houses that are more expensive than they seem on the South Shore of Long Island.  I was, again, riding to Point Lookout on a day when about the only people walking along those streets or on the beaches were accompanied by dogs, mostly big ones.

I guess today seems polar to some people because we've had a mild fall:  In fact, I don't think the temperature fell below 5C (40F) before this week.  Interestingly, we had strong winds, sometimes as much as 80KPH (50 MPH) the other day and last weekend.  But today's air was still, which may be the reason why the weather didn't seem cold to me.

It was also probably the reason why, without any unusual effort, I kept a good pace along the flat route.   Interestingly, the only climbs I encounter are near the beginning and near the end of my ride.  Neither are long, but both are fairly steep, or seem so as they seem to erupt from the flat stretches that precede them.

The funny thing about today's ride--which left me invigorated and refreshed after 105 kilometers--was that, as I rode, I saw winter more than I felt it.  I mean, it was a bit colder than it's been and I was wearing more layers than I wore, say, a couple of weeks ago.  And I could feel the chill on my face. But, in spite of the fact that I haven't ridden much during the past couple of weeks, I wasn't feeling the cold or even a nip in the rest of my body and I felt supple, in spite of how little I've ridden during the past couple of weeks. 

The signs of the coming season were in the clouds, in the light of this day, and in the graying waves that receded into the horizon that offered a hint of a distant sunset.

I love riding under this sky, with the first hint of winter, because they are somehow intimate to me in ways that the summer light--as much as I love that, too--is not.  Perhaps it has to do with the fact that so few people are out on a day like this, and those who are--by choice--appreciate the austere beauty of such a day.

The snow that was forecast has begun to fall.  It won't last, and it won't accumulate, at least not in the Five Boroughs.  But the northern suburbs of Westchester and Rockland Counties and Connecticut might get a layer of frosting on the cake while we get a dusting, perhaps a coating.

Tosca, my Mercian fixed gear, does not have a heater, in response to the man's question.  And I'm glad she doesn't.    I wonder, though,  whether this guy (or girl) has a heater:


  1. When people tell me it's too cold to ride I always tell them that I notice the faster I pedal the more it seems to warm up outside. Conversely on a hot sticky summer day I notice that the faster I pedal the more the breeze picks up.

    My real life gauge for winter is my water bottles. If they start to freeze up in the first ten miles I go home. I've never yet encountered a summer day too hot to ride but I have encountered some that were too hot to ride FAR.

  2. Phillip--I generally don't mind the cold, as long as it's not accompanied by precipitation or high winds. I feel as you described: "The faster I pedal the more it seems to warm up outside." Yes!

    When the weather outside is frightful, a little bike ride is so delightful...