Inhale exhale inhale exhale inhale exhale….Red light. Traffic traffic, cars, buses, people. Green light and off again. Simplicity in motion…a guy, a backpack, a mountain bike. The life of a bicycle commuter. No other means of transportation available…none other necessary.
Close your eyes and picture this person for a second. What do they look like? What kind of bike are they on? What are they wearing? What are the surroundings like? How is the weather? Take a second and picture what your idea of a bicycle commuter looks like. Now…Imagine this person riding in minus 20F and a foot of snow. Crazy isn’t it? Actually, it’s more than crazy…closer to unbelievable.
This may not be reality to most of you, but it is reality to the countess people who survive on a bike during a Saskatchewan winter. Let me tell you right now, I definitely am not one of them. Not even close. In fact the only time I’ve ever gotten on a bike in temperatures under 50F is….well….ummm. Actually, I can’t remember getting on a bike in under 50F. I do love the bike, but I just can’t quite muster the love when I’m out there freezing.
The weather right now isn’t as bad as I am trying to describe here, but the images of riders out there in these extreme conditions is still burnt deep into my memory. When it’s that cold and nasty, I honestly do not leave my house….let alone even think of jumping on a bike.
But I have seen the above scenario many, many times. I’ve even seen people out there in temperatures that my wife likes to call “minus stupid”. Yeah, I don’t even want to tell you how cold that is. But they do it. All geared up and on the streets. Doing it. I’m telling you, man….I absolutely don’t believe it. We give a lot of great riders in the cycling world a whole bunch of deserving credit, and look up to all the amazing things they do…..But, I just gotta tip my hat to riders that get out there in the extremes. Either because they have to, or because they are absolutely committed to the bike. Whatever the reason, I applaud them. It takes an incredible amount of motivation, dedication, and discipline and they’re definitely not doing it for the glory.
These are the people who come to grips with where they are living and aren’t about to let “the elements” stop them from doing anything. Me? Quite the contrary…remember I’m the one looking into anyway out of here and moving towards a life in the hot, hot sun.
I think the next time I’m about to get out on my bike and am thinking that it just might be a little too cold, too wet, or too anything…I’ll take a second to remember these crazy winter commuters and just get out there and ride.
Are you one of these extreme commuters? If so, good job and respect. Enough said.