23 October 2009
Time to adapt again for cyclists. Those cyclists, that is, who cycle year round.
Looking outside the window from my comfy rooms, I see cold drizzle, trees turning color and shedding their foliage, people getting on the bus wrapped up in thick clothing, and a cyclist peddling by.
The cyclist is one of the “hardies”. He rides that bike to work and everywhere else year round. It's not because he's poor. He's not. It's not because he's a drunk and lost his driver's license. He obviously has his license to drive. As a matter of fact, he has 6 cars sitting in his garage, some of them called “classics”. Why would a guy do that? Ah, he's a cyclist, a dedicated cyclist who understands that the human body is to be used—hard. That's what it was made for—hard work, not sitting for hours glaring at a boob tube in an 8 by 8 cage, otherwise referred to as an office cubicle.
He's fit. He's healthy. He's slender as a reed bending against the cold, wet wind. And he feels good and successful. Successful? Yes, he's beating the system that produces members whose obesity numbers grows daily, which is accompanied with increased disease and hugely growing medical costs.
He is not part of this group.
He is part of the group of cyclists who resent having to cover up those tan-lines at mid-leg and put on the protective winter gear. Time to adjust that saddle height because of the additional layers on your fanny. Time to switch the tires out to knobbies or spiked tires that will take you through anything. Time for platform pedals so you can cycle in boots and put your feet down fast when you slide. Time for the lobster gloves, neoprene boot covers, balaclava, thermal underwear, hugely increased calorie intake, wet lube on all the moving bicycle parts, and a pugnacious, “I can handle it” attitude. Their fight, that they greatly enjoy because you get a natural high from the continuous exercise, feeling good and being more alert than their non-exercising, sonambulistic work fellows is a fight that will make them fit for the future that appears to be one that will be inherited by the physically able, mentally alert, and those who are accustomed to adapting to a constantly changing environment. He's a winter/all-year-round commuter.
The next time you see a cyclist riding in winter conditions a deer herd would shun, feel a little admiration. Don't assume, as most spoiled Americans do, that he's a drunk who lost his license or he's too poor to buy a car. He/she (Yes, there are many female cyclists too who ride year round.) is a good example of a person who has learned to, and wants to adapt and is prepared for whatever the future throws at them. Actually, it's fun!