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Best Ways to Enjoy the Offseason - Commuting


Best Ways to Enjoy the Offseason - Commuting
Published on December 15, 2012Email To Friend    Print Version

Wint_img_0462.jpgSteve Hall  
You’ve had a long, sweaty summer of amateur cycle racing or whatever takes your fancy, but now as you open your door of a Saturday morning, you’re greeted with an icy blast, while a glance at the calendar tells you that it’s time to take a break. But don’t despair...

Fellow blogger from across the water BikeSnobNYC has a line in wacky and caustic posts about, well everything you might think you’d write about as a nuts New Yorker cycling beast. But even BSNYC mourns the offseason. In a recent article for Bicycling, they mourn the disappearance of a season when it was ok to not take cycling too seriously.

wint_tumblr_lyw72vdQjd1r5xmbj.jpgIt’s a good point, of course; the offseason is an idyllic time of falling leaves, fat tires and fatter jackets. Time for the amateurs to stop calorie counting and clocking the wattage and start working out the best pubs to visit after a winter jag on the bike.

Let’s celebrate the offseason. It’s not a time to put away our toys, it’s a time to let our hair grow long, sing our songs louder and come together to confirm that we’re all nuts for freezing our faces off riding around in conditions that would have had Vikings cowering in their furs.

winterhead_web_KirkJohnson.jpgYou’re still out there
Doesn’t sound like much, but being on the road and braving the conditions underlines how brave you are. You don’t give up because of a little weather. Don’t believe me? How about some Marcus Aurelius: “Outward things cannot touch the soul, not in the least degree; nor have they admission to the soul, nor can they turn or move the soul; but the soul turns and moves itself alone” (from Meditations). If you can master an arctic blast through your gentlest areas, you know you have a cycling soul. And possibly frostbite.

Let it hang out
You need a paunch – "there I said it"! A little bit of extra girdle keeps you warmer and if you’re wearing a huge winter jacket, who is going to notice anyway. Which is convenient because it’s just the season when half the population drinks themselves into a stupor to stay warm/avoid having to walk home alone in the cold. Beyond that, everyone looks good in a massive jumper: fact. You even finally have a good excuse to wear those tights for commuting purposes (may apply to English commuters only, I’m not sure).

Light at the end of the tunnel
One of the best things about any ride is the refreshments and the tall tales after. Well this, my friend, is the season of the fireside yarn. Is there a better reason to ride than to return to a good pub to share a few jars? Not at this time of year. Dogs are shaggier, meals are heartier and rides can be more dramatic (fun?) in the rain and snow.

There are those desperately hanging on to their pre-winter form and donning the kit that looks like something from a Disney movie about cycling ninjas from the future – they deserve encouragement in these hard times. For the rest of us, let’s get on with enjoying the season. It’s not really an offseason; if you like the more absurd side of riding a little more, it’s really the on season.

Steve Hall
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January 13, 2014