I knew it was cold, and was probably going to rain, and I was not feeling very hot and I really just wanted to skip it and go back to bed. But this ride was a reschedule from last week, when I had to cancel at the last minute for reasons I’d rather not elaborate on (but it was the day after Halloween, if you’re looking for clues). We were supposed to ride to Coeur d’Alene and back, but I knew that was not going to happen so I called to ask if we could start later and ride shorter. My riding buddy, as expected, was cool with it.
I made it to our rendezvous point downtown late, and he was cool with that, too. We were both freezing, and had no plans to ride very long. We decided to ride as far as Sullivan and back, and we could always turn back early if we felt like it (which we were both pretty sure was going to happen). We headed out, complaining about cold feet and riding a leisurely pace to minimize the wind chill.
We talked, mostly about riding next summer, and in the quiet spots I thought about what I was going to write this blog post about. I had all kinds of ideas – what to wear on a cold ride, etc. – and before we knew it we were at Sullivan, where we decided to take a warm-up break.
The rain finally came as we headed back. I pulled my helmet cover out of my bag and didn’t worry about it too much. In a flash we were approaching Mission park, where I had decided I was going to bail since I live way north of downtown. I thought I could save myself a couple of miles of cold, wet ride by picking up my usual commute route home. We caught the light funny and I awkwardly split off mid-sentence (I was clipped in and trying not to fall over, truth be told). I picked up the pace heading home. I think my legs have my commute route memorized; they seem to know just what to do without me telling them. I thought more on what to write this post about as I trucked it north on auto-pilot (by the way, any good ideas on keeping your feet warm? I had wool socks and neoprene booties and still had Popsicle toes). I was almost home in a flash, and honestly I was sad about it. And then it hit me.
It isn’t about the cold, or the bike, or the rain. It’s about the time I got to spend with my friend, sharing stories and planning all the rides we are going to do when the cold and the rain have passed, and rehashing adventures gone by. I spend most of my time riding alone, to and from work. But my best rides have always been the ones I shared with someone else, even when they were the worst rides ever.
So, if you wanna know the best way to handle a cold, wet ride – it’s easy. Get yourself a buddy and get out there, even (and maybe especially) when you don’t want to.