Ready for Winter

It’s time to prepare for winter cycling again.  This past weekend was our first real taste of cold weather.  Thursday and Friday were both rainy and wet, which means I was riding my old mountain bike.  It was good to be back on a bike with flat handlebars and low-pressure tires.  The bike is heavy and slow, but solid and easy to control.  I had a good time bouncing off things on my way to work: curbs, dirt piles, rocks, slopes.  I’m excited for the first real snow storm.  Riding through snow can be a lot of fun for the first few days – it’s like an urban (and wintery) version of mountain biking.  
My wife convinced me to buy a new winter coat on Saturday.  We happened to be at the Mall of America returning a pair of pants that was a little too snug for my expanding waist (actually, I like to think that my waist has been shrinking for the past month – but the pants were still too snug).  Initially I resisted her encouragement to buy a new coat, it cost more than I would normally have spent..
“Isn’t Land’s End a fancy company?” I asked.  “Couldn’t I buy the same thing at Target for less?”
“Probably.” My wife responded.  “But we’re still just shopping at Sears.  It’s not like it’s a high-end store or anything.  This same coat would cost twice as much at some other stores.”
“Oh.” I responded.  My wife knows better than anyone that I can’t tell the difference between any of the department stores.  My brain fails to remember any significant differences between stores like Mervyns, JC Penny, Sears, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Kohls, or Nordstrom – they’re all the same to me.  I have no idea what brand names or price ranges I should expect to find at any of them.  
I took her word for it, and come Monday morning I was pedaling along the trail with the temperature in the mid 20’s in a brand new green coat.  Since it was dry, I was back on my favorite bike – a light blue Schwinn Traveler from the mid 1980’s.  It was a good ride.  On my way home, I’ll get to try out my shiny new headlamp.
I’m excited for Cedar Lake to freeze over so I can ride across the lake rather than around the lake.  Since the trails are plowed, I’m sure it would be quicker to stay on the trails than to create my own path through the snow across the lake, but that’s not the point.  Anyone that regularly rides a bicycle isn’t really concerned about travel time – the experience is worth the time it costs.
So for now I say, “Winter?  Whatever….”  But ask me again in a few months when the temperatures drop another 40 degrees.  Right now, I’m going to go ask my wife which department store will sell me wool socks for cheap.

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