“It just annoys my feet when I can’t ride my bike”

There are many different reasons to ride. Last Wednesday was one of those cold February winter days where the temperature never rose above freezing: my morning ride to work started at 28 degrees and my trip home ended at 22 degrees. My 8-mile commute, from the south side of Prospect Park to Soho, was cold riding in and even colder riding home.

A week later, I still have the head cold that I attribute to riding through sub-freezing temperatures last week. I’m sure that continuing to ride hasn’t helped it go away.

At 66 you’d think I’d have gotten smarter. The funny thing about being 66 is sometimes, hopefully not too often, you have the understanding that you are much closer to the finish line then the start line. This gives way to a feeling of carpe diem – seize the day! And that’s when, regardless of the temperature, I find myself pulling on wool socks, waterproof shoes, heavy long pants, a base layer, a thermal pull over, a reflective jacket, a balaclava, warm gloves, and a helmet.

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Charlie’s first bike selfie, taken during the snowpocalypse of early 2015.

The reason I ride today is the same reason I started riding 47 years ago: even in the freezing cold, it’s fun. And there are many other reasons: the environment, climate change, to make New York a more livable city, to save money and time, to conserve natural resources (why is conservation a four letter word in politics when fracking and oil drilling aren’t?). But mainly I ride to keep my mind alert, my body active, and my heart beating. I know that if I do not ride at 66, I know I will not be able to ride at 80. I ride because the downhill is worth the uphill, the wind on my face is worth the occasional fly in my teeth, because people watching is amazing from this side of the handlebars. I ride because I ride and it is fun.

A bike dealer friend from Hub Cyclery sent me this note:

A young boy of about nine came in with his mom to check on his bike’s service progress. First he wanted to know “Did I get it in on time?!” (like is it going to live?). His mom says, “He wasn’t too happy because he had to walk home from school rather than ride his bike,” to which he says “Yeah, it just annoys my feet when I can’t ride my bike!”

What a great definition of fun. Just like that boy, on freeing February days, I’d still rather ride than take the train. And, yes my cold was worth the ride.

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Charlie

Owner, Bicycle Habitat

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About bicyclehabitat

New York City's neighborhood bike store since 1978
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