Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Lawnmower

“Winter is Coming”
Game of Thrones

Oh, if only I could be like my friend Dave who slaps oversized tires on his bike and pedals off each winter into the blizzard; the worse the weather the happier those Fat Tire Guys are. Or like The Frozen Logger, who until the end, was not slowed down by cold and ice:
The weather, it tried to freeze him,
It tried its level best;
At a hundred degrees below zero
He buttoned up his vest.

I am so not them. I am a hunkerer. When the cold weather comes and snow starts to fall, I do not go bravely into it. I hide inside till spring comes. I think of winter the way I think of getting a cold: it comes; you don’t like it but there’s not much you can do; life goes on around you; you wait in misery till it goes away; someday another will come.
Where does this leave me and my bicycle? Well, we are both hung up for the winter. As I write this my CervĂ©lo P2, which so recently carried me triumphantly over the roads of this province, is hanging forlornly on a hook beside my desk, stripped of wheels and pedals, looking like a Mesozoic skeleton. In the wintertime, I stay inside and so do my bikes.

Several years ago I tried riding my bike to work through the winter. I ended up falling more than I cycled, and the constant effort to avoid sliding under moving cars detracted from the enjoyment of the moment. I also find little fulfilment dashing through the slush and snow in my running shoes. I will leave that experience to those riding in the one horse open sleigh (another activity that appeals to me not in the slightest). I like my fitness goals to be about elevation of the mind and body, not about survival from hypothermia.
I do my best to exercise during the coldest months. I run on a treadmill and pedal on a trainer. And I wait out the interminable, dark, northern winter.

Oh wind / If Winter comes can Spring be far behind?
Yes, it can. Here in Canada, it can.

In previous years I have managed to finagle a trip to warmer climates at some point during the winter. Not so this year. Because I am one or all of a) retired b) laid off c) unemployed d) a bum, we haven’t the money to gallivant about the continent in search of better riding and running conditions. This winter my Death Valley adventure will be me sitting on my trainer in the basement watching The Biggest Loser.

But we cannot live if not in sure and certain hope that spring will come again. And when it does, my lawnmower will be waiting in the garage, just where I left it, ready to start up for another summer of activity. It always has been and it always will be.
Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain….
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Likewise my bicycle will feel pavement beneath rubber, and chain on sprocket. My running shoes will bounce down the path and slap through the puddles. My winter body will lose the extra poundage it acquired while I was cowering in my basement beside the space heater. Everything will be waiting for me.

Until someone irrevocably ruins the world’s climate, our boreal seasons are a cycle, which I respect. My life is a cycle. I live, therefore I cycle. And I will again.