My fish pond still hasn’t frozen. That’s probably a good thing. Hillary hasn’t rescued our goldfish yet, to transplant them to a larger pond. All this means winter hasn’t hit yet. The snow from a few weeks back was a joke. A cruel joke, celestial humor is rarely actually funny. I for one, am ready for it to dump some white on us. I want to wade to the alley in 4 foot drifts and break out my snow bike. I didn’t spend hours with a huge box of screws, a drill and a tire, not go ride in some snow. I want my nose to hurt and my lips to crack and my feet to lose so much feeling that entering a shower post ride feels like a quick dance on hot coals.
The last snow of the spring saw the Bike Doctor Frederick crew out on a road ride. We headed to Middletown and luxuriated in the Main Cup’s warm embrace. Double Espressos and toasted bagels and warm leather couches. No one wanted to get up. But our masochistic side is more powerful than our logic side. Actually our logic side is more of this thing we keep in the corner in an old cardboard box marked XXX do not disturb. So. Into the cold.
Toe warmers and thick wool socks and double tights and balaclavas held the cold at arm’s length. Layering, always the key. Get something that doesn’t stay warm when wet next to your skin and it’s over. Cotton is grown in the south for a reason. We trudged toward the mountain. Cold leaden legs. Breath crusting facial hair. We climbed Crow Rock, passing over the trestle bridge, the edges of Middle Creek frozen, lacy ice hugging black slick stones. Our tires crunched and sucked up Rum Springs, thick dark gray mud clinging to tires and drivetrain, tights and shoes in a crust of cold funk.
I had a suspicion that certain roads in the Shed remained unplowed. Actually, it wasn’t a suspicion, I reconned the site a day earlier, and saw that Delauter and the dirt part of Gambrill Park road were not plowed. But I didn’t tell anyone. Bad to ruin a sense of adventure. We crested the ridge and started down Delauter, the beginning of which was plowed, imparting a false sense of security. Quickly the mud gave way to snow. Uncut, undriven, unplowed. Maybe 4 or 5 inches of it. Fluffy, no ice, no crust. The road curved down into silent waiting woods. I felt like I was entering a Russian epic novel. I looked back at the others, did a quick check for Siberian wolves and rode in.
The tires sliced through, bit against the gravel. Brakes basically useless. Occasional over steering led to forays into the raised banks flanking the road. Fast, scary, and fantastic. I bonded with Tullio Campagnolo while skipping across S bend turns. I was winning the 1927 Giro. We came to the stream crossing. The water was high with snow melt. Plow on through. Water turning shoes into little black leather swimming pools. Toe warmers rendered useless. I stuffed my hand-warmers into my shoes. The ride home was fast and wet and miserable and euphoric. We’d done something really stupid and won. The perfect end to a long winter.
* * * * * * *
We like riding in the cold. We want you to, as well. The air feels painfully fresh, the simplest ride is an adventure. It’s not torture, if you dress right for it. Stick toe warmers in your shoes, get some wool socks and some shoe covers. Wear some really warm gloves. Protect your neck and head. Layer up. Wear a sweater, its ok. Just skip the cotton. We have loads of good winter gear, warm gloves, balaclavas, wooly caps. Stop by. Everyone here rides in the cold, and everyone except Jason likes it. So we can all help point to what will work for you, if you run hot or cold.
Frederick is a great city to check out some Christmas lights in. The best way to do it, clearly, is on a cold bicycle, with a thermos full of cider and perhaps something else. On the 14th, which is a Wednesday, we are going to do a shop Christmas lights ride. I figure a Wednesday, because the weekends are filled with parties, and family. We’ll leave from the Bell Tower at 8:30 pm sharp. Figure on riding about an hour around town, getting really cold, and then repairing to a warm place of spirit, and drinking Hot Toddies with extra lemon. Super casual pace. Possibility of Brandon singing carols in German: High. If you wanna come, awesome. Just bring a front and rear lights, and hopefully a bell, so we can make lots of noise when we see people. Again, we’ll leave at 8:30 sharp, so be on time. That basically means a little early. No one likes standing in the cold waiting for someone because they forgot their X or Y.
* * * * * * * * *
One more bit of news, then the ride thing. I promise.
We’re going to try a post Black Friday holiday sale out. Hopefully it will go well. We have some great stuff in the shop, and it would be nice if people would check it out, and tell us what they think about it. The sale is going just be one day, December 3rd, which is a Saturday. It’s sort of our tent sale, but only for a day. Good time to get some socks for your wife, or a set of tri bars for yourself, or a new set of bikes for the canal, or whatever. Everysinglethingisonsale. All of it. 15% off all the stuff in the store that isnt a bike. All the bikes are on sale. 10% off bikes under a grand. Pretty big savings. We’ll have some cool stuff on a really good deal. Don’t know what yet. Might be pedals, definitely some shoes and helmets and summer clothing. This is in stone. It is happening. We’d love to see you. No holiday music, we promise. We’re going to be open late that day, until 9.
If you don’t know already: current paying members of the Frederick Pedallers, the Frederick Tri Club and the Frederick Bicycle Coalition get 15% off 99% of all the accessories we sell, always. That’s not bikes, and it’s not labor, but it is $22.50 off a new road chain and cassette. Not bad, considering most cost 20 or less to join. All of those organizations do good things for cyclists, so find one that fits you (maybe all 3) and join up. Then just tell us, before we ring you up. Simple. Please tell us before though, its hard to redo the transaction and all that.
* * * * * * * *
The ride thing, for the week of the 28th.
Sorry about the lack of news letter last week, I injured myself, Brandon was all tired, and John was off playing in a Yahtzee tournament. He didn’t win, so don’t ask, its a sore subject.
We’re riding Tuesday, building some base miles. We’ll leave from the 7th street Starbucks @ 8 am. We’ll do between 50 and 70 miles. It will take a good part of the day.
Thursday remains the early morning ride. I wish more people would join this one. It’s really laid back, despite the hour. We almost always stop for coffee and a bagel in Middletown, and then head over the mountain and we’re home and showered before 12. A good program, all around.
Right now, everyone’s schedule for December is wonky, so no Sunday rides unless you get an email directly about those.
December is wonky, so no Sunday rides unless you get an email directly about those.