I #LoveMnWinter! Today, I love riding in a snowstorm.
By Claire Milldrum
This is my first full winter in Minnesota. All my friends from other cold weather states questioned my logic, but as we know, they were very wrong. Minnesota is great in the winter, in that there is both no expectation you have to leave your home but there’s enough to do that you choose to lose your toes anyway.
For about a month, I didn’t really bike. The logistics of getting to work that way were terrible, so I drove. And to be honest, biking should have taken precedence. Biking is the way I connect back to myself, and set my priorities for the day. So when I did start biking, I was totally unprepared for how different and exciting winter biking is.
I think my favorite day was the snowstorm on January 22, which revealed to me both how ridiculous but also how strong I am. Without consulting the weather, Frankie (my bike) and I went out to my office job. It was fine, beautiful even. Snow quickly began falling after this, and my boss sent me home at 2 p.m. Excited to try snow biking with no fat tires, I borrowed some cash from a friend in case I needed to get on a bus.
"Stay loose, flexible but firm," kept going through my head, from the wisdom of Grease Rag(gers). That trifecta got me through a terrifying but thrilling ride. I kept stopping as the car ruts I biked in would get turned into curves at intersections. I was cold, but not that edge of frostbite that I normally feel.
At Franklin and Park, my glasses got decrusted, and “what is wrong with me” went through my head, along with “I am a badass with a very cute butt.” I was about half of the way.
My commute usually takes 16 minutes; this took 32 minutes. Yet, I instinctively knew this. When at Marquette and 7th my bike chain gave up, I pulled off the road for the last time. I walked the rest of the way, just a couple of blocks. I put Frankie to bed in the apartment’s bike room, and imagined all the ice melting off of my trusty steed. I took a selfie, changed, and got a couple beers with a friend. Those two beers were some of the best I’ve ever had, as we watched the snow get deeper.
While I’m a summer kid through and through, I have learned a lot about myself in terms of how to handle tough situations like poorly maintained icy roads with no lights, or how to yell at people parked in my lane. Each day I don’t get to ride is a real lost opportunity, as each ride is precious. I will put away Frankie in a couple of months and take out Delores, my soulmate bike. But I’ll still miss Frankie and our struggling successes.
Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and sign up to share a post in 2018 here. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.