While winter is not my most preferred cycling season, it does have its perks. Fewer people are out, making the city a more contemplative place, and non-cycling friends and colleagues regularly give me props for riding in less-than-inviting pedaling conditions. (“You’re so tough, MG.” Ha ha ha ha, we know the truth.)
In exchange, I go through lengthy preparations for the outdoors – donning multiple base layers, the always-fashionable balaclava (or other face covering of choice) – and endure stiff toes and the occasional hand throbs as I face the elements each day. It makes me appreciate warmer days when I can launch outside in a t-shirt and shorts.
It’s still better than a car or Metro, though, and this year I’ve felt an even deeper connection to my environment. Perhaps that’s because this is one of the chillier winters we’ve been handed in recent years, at least so far. Oh, and because my commute is like three times as long as it used to be. That could be part of it, too.
The entire city shows some effect of the frigid air – from the crabby geese who persistently try to wage a takeover of this town, to the very focused tourists who have no time for getting lost when it’s 18 degrees outside.
The Potomac has already iced over this month, and the river’s fluctuations have transfixed me. Cold grips the river, seeping in from north to south, and the frigid air ices the water inch by inch.
Last week we enjoyed unusually warm temperatures (in the 60s!) and fog wafted off the Potomac all day. It’s the first time I’ve rolled to work in the fog and rolled home in the same conditions.
Those who ventured out were hopelessly drawn to the clouds emanating off the water’s surface. It’s a great day when nature commands so much respect and attention.
The warmth did not last and what has thawed is freezing over once again. What will tomorrow look like? This dynamic season lures me outside in spite of myself. The layers go on one by one, and I prepare to meet the cold and satisfy my curiosity. If the streets are clear of ice and snow, why not go see? See you out there, friends.