I #lovemnwinter! Today, I love difficulty.
Last night, my partner and I got two rather ominous fortune cookies:
- A dose of adversity is often as needful as a dose of medicine.
- All things are difficult before they are easy.
Biking in winter is a challenge, it takes preparation, fortitude, and a certain level of physical well-being. Early this winter I suffered an embarrassing short-term injury (unrelated to biking) that required time and rest to fully heal. Often seeing cyclists while making trips across the cities by foot and by bus made me feel so jealous and impatient for my body to heal. My internal monologue was overtaken by shouted “Should” phrases when I saw cyclists:
I should be on that bike!
I should be able to do that now!
I should be moving my body staying warm instead of waiting for this bus in the wind!
Getting back on my bike after I healed felt both like the light at the end of the tunnel and the beginning of a whole second tunnel. Often the hardest part of winter biking for me is deciding to do it-- getting dressed and getting out the door with enough time to make my trip without feeling rushed and panicked. The difficulty, both of the deciding to do and the actual doing, is part of what makes winter biking so much fun. I’ve heard this is called Type 2 fun, fun after the fact-- fun to accomplish. Watching cyclists push through and often walk through my forever-unplowed bike boulevard street during the last 1-foot snowfall reminded me that everyone shares the difficulty and the joy of accomplishment.
Winter is a great teacher, and this winter is teaching me that the difficult things are always going to be there, and they often become easier with practice and patience.
I #lovemnwinter! Today, I love winter wear.
I grew up in a warm place. A very warm place. And I am a cold human. A very cold human. Some have gone so far to wonder if I'm a snake or some other animal unable to regulate their own body temperature disguised as a human. So when I thought about continuing to bike through the winter before I moved to the Twin Cities, the idea seemed foolish and impossible. But then, through posts on Grease Rag, I discovered it was something Actual People Actually Did. In an effort to prove I am the badass I imagine myself to be, I started my quest to bike through a MN winter by gathering clothes that made me feel confident.
First came a few that were legacy items:
- My mom's snow pants from the 80's! She gave them to me when I was 12, and is shocked I'm still using them.
- A bright yellow and reflective engineer's jacket from when I lived in Eastern Oregon, and my boss throught it would be funny to get a jacket for the AmeriCorps volunteer that shivered working inside all day. (Jokes on you, Bob! I still use the jacket.)
- Yellow snow boots with furry tops that keep my toes warm and block the wind. A Christmas present nearly 10 years ago, they still haven't gone out of style. Minnesotans routinely ask me if they are Mukluks, and no, they aren't, because I don't know what those are!
- Child's ski goggles from my dad, that one time my family ventured out of the South to go skiing when I was 10. I love the red lens!
Then came some less-obvious-to-the-outsider items I found in Minnesota:
- Fleece-lined leggings! Bless you, oh toasty leggings.
- Balaclava! Props to the fine folks in Midwest Mountaineering that helped me find one when I came in on a particularly cold and windy day exclaiming "MY FACE HURTS!"
- Choppers! Thanks to whoever left these on the campus connector... (you'll be glad to know the forces of public transit karma took these choppers from me on the Green Line a year later.)
Some may say that I look a little overdressed in all my layers, perhaps like the michelin man or that kid from A Christmas Story. "Don't you get hot and sweat?! EW!"
Well yes, I do get toasty, covered in a fine layer of my own breath, and it is GLORIOUSLY WARM. My personal bike-powered sauna! I love wearing all my layers not only because they keep me warm, but because they remind me of all the friends and family that helped me be the badass I am today. Thanks, Grease Rag!
Read about last year’s collaborative challenge [http://greaserag.org/user_blogs/lowrah/29-days-of-loving-winter-2016/] to love one thing about winter everyday in February of 2016. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.