Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dear Winter

Dear Old Man Winter,
We've had some good times over the past season. The other weekend I went to Ottawa for the Winterlude festival, and enjoyed a skate on your world's biggest outdoor skating rink with about 100,000 other folks that had the same idea.

Now of course you had to subtly (or not so subtly) remind me that you, Winter, are more powerful than mere man-made plastic:

You may be able to break my skates, but you can't break my spirit.

Along the lines of trying to break things, I'd appreciate if you'd leave my bicycle alone. Yes I know, it wasn't you, but silly humans, that thought pouring tonnes of destructive salt was a good way to make the roads safer to travel on. And salt-a-plenty we've been doing in this doozy of a Toronto winter you've thrown our way. The salt managed to seize up my rear brakes so well I took them in to the bike shop for some new ones. But I wasn't about to let you win twice with the front brakes. Fortunately I was able to remove them, clean and gob up some fresh grease on the posts, and presto magico working brakes (and no randomly leftover bits, an always disconcerting experience of crazy biker chick bike repair experimentation projects)

However, I have to suspect that my violent lurch into my saddle today did had something to do with you, dear Winter. Apparently the bitter cold weather can make an already suspect freehub function even worse. And yeah to us wimpy Torontonians I think -15C with -25C windchill counts as bitter.

But not bitter enough to take the smile out of my morning commute. You'll have to try really much harder for that one. Fortunately the Arctic chills seem to come along with clear skies and sunshine, and I thank you for that. To my neighbour that suggested "today is not a good day to be on your bicycle" I think I mentioned "What do you mean? Its a bee-yoo-tee-ful sunshiney day" I now appreciate however why I see some other cyclists wearing ski goggles when they ride. You did manage to rip the wind right through my useless winter cycling three fingered gloves on the way home though, but my commute is short enough that I could escape to warmer air before frozen became frostbitten.

Through icy roads and fierce wind and freezing rain and chilly temps and fresh falling snow and blizzards I've attempted to beat everything you've thrown my way. With a smile of the simplicity of the bicycle, the warmth created by the engine, and dreams of tea on the other side. You narrow the road space with mountains of plowed snow, but it just makes it that much easier to find space to occupy. The joys of cruising down the middle of a bustling city street bundled against the elements, knowing the onlookers have no idea why I'm smiling madly.

Occasionally when the snow piles deep and the four-wheeled boxes are sliding about at randomly I decide its not worth it and have to abandon the bike. But those are the fun days for giddily trundling with boots through the piles of snow, or grabbing the toboggan and making my way to Riverdale Park to fly my way into the Don Valley.

So yeah we've had some pretty good times. But you know, I'm about more than ready to say so long, farewell, adios, until next year... I know you are officially scheduled for the next three weeks. But I'm dreamin' of spring, and if you could just maybe uh step aside and make way? I'd really appreciate it.

Dreamin' of pansies in the milk crate on the Twenty, trading in the balaclava for hair blowin' in the wind, a skirt instead of wind pants, sandals instead of boots, bright blooming flowers, waffle cones, bikey traffic jams, good mood breezes, daylight long into the evening hours, fresh asparagus, deck lounging, barbequed portobello mushrooms, and of course crazy-long-bike-ride season vs. short-enough-to-avoid-frostbite-bike-ride season.

Yours truly,
Crazy Biker Chick