Winter Commuter Guest Post: Lab Rats Can Ride in the Cold Too

Last week we had two goals, salute those who ride their bikes every day through the winter, and try to encourage new people to give it a shot.

Today we bring you the story of one person who fits into the latter category.


Lab Rats Can Ride in the Cold Too. By Ellie C.

For reasons I may expand upon in a later post, my doctor might not be so pleased that I chose to ride my bike to work on Friday… I just won’t tell her.  Probably shouldn’t mention I had just done the winter bike pub-crawl several days prior either, huh?

For several years, I’ve been a fair-weather bike commuter – the upper 20s had been my absolute limit – but decided to suck it up for this event.   The free coffee (from my favorite coffee company) was enticing but the perceived challenge was the true draw.  My hubby, a gifted bike mechanic, had helped me get my bike outfitted for the terrain and I dug through winter gear to find the appropriate layers – good thing we had a spare balaclava!

From my days of working in a laboratory, I swear, I have a pair of clear sunglasses-style lenses packed away somewhere.  However, a much less desirable alternative to eye protection was necessitated, nope not a ski mask, I wish…full on lab goggles.  Of course, I had ridden in the dark before but an early February pre-dawn trek was a whole new experience and a poorly plowed ally was not an ideal beginning.  But once on the roads I felt much more sturdy and tentatively confident.

Now, as a scientist I had to take a couple of physics courses in college and casually consider biking-related principles from time to time.  The one thing I most quickly came to appreciate this morning though is that light doesn’t bend on its own.   Whatta genius, right?  Allow me to break it down: sans ice and snow, taking a corner in the dark is generally no big deal.  When you have to take a turn at a much slowwwwer rate and you care a whole lot more about what is rolling beneath you, you wish that beam from your headlight did indeed bend so you could see what the heck the light would otherwise reveal for you.   Luckily, coasting blind for only a few moments didn’t turn out to be a serious problem.  Light seriously redeemed itself though when hubs (no, not my wheel hubs) and I got to experience the first inkling of the sunrise just over Minnehaha Falls.

Once at Peace Coffee, my sense of accomplishment was enhanced by the other faithful riders who rolled in.  Most of them were clearly regular winter commuters, but to me, inspirational to boot.  Briefly made me wish I could grow a beard too.  The second leg of my route to work took me to the Greenway, which was eerily and yet comfortingly serene.  That my place of work lies a block North of the Greenway and that I got there easily leaves me with few excuses to make this the last time I commute to work…until the Second Annual Bike to Work Day (and granted I find less nerdy eyewear).

Ellie Watches Riders Arrive


Thanks Ellie!

Was anyone else riding for their first time on Friday?  Let us know in the comments.

This entry was posted in Events, Profile, Salute to the Winter Commuter, Twin Cities Cyclist and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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