One of the benefits of my forays into cycling is the perspective that it brings. Now whenever I head out for a run on a blustery cold day I always think, “Well, it could be worse — I could be trying to pedal into this wind!”
What kind of mindset causes a person to wheel their bike out of the garage once the temperature dips below freezing and the wind begins to howl? Sounds like a question for the Chicago-area blogger who calls himself the All Seasons Cyclist.
As a reviewer of gear, products and bikes many of us have never imagined existed, ASC focuses on product performance and rarely writes about his own exploits and adventures. Nor does he want his name revealed, given that he wants to protect his integrity as a reviewer. He did, however, consent to answer a couple of questions on why he rides in weather only Rudolph and the Abominable Snowman could love …
Q. So what led you to take up cycling?
A. I used to be a morbidly obese workaholic, but ten or eleven years ago I developed several serious medical conditions and decided to turn my life around. I dropped the junk food and took up cycling.
Q. I get that with the right kind of gear you can endure the elements, but how do you psych yourself up to ride on a cold wintry day?
A. I have never had to “psych myself up” to ride in the snow! I look forward to it like a little kid waiting for Santa Claus. A lot of us with “Fat Bikes” (4″ wide tires) think winter is the best time of the year to ride.
Q. Any tips for riding on windy days?
A. I can’t say I look forward to riding on windy days, but since I live in the Chicago area I really don’t have any choice. On windy days I leave home and head directly into the wind for the first half of the ride — that way my ride home will be fast even f I am worn out.
The highest wind I’ve ever cycled in was 41 MPH, and that was just stupid on my part. Not only did I have trouble moving, but the cars on the road had trouble maintaining control as well.
Q. Don’t you ever just want to take it easy and head to the gym instead?
A. I’d rather put a gun in my mouth than go to a public gym! I am not “anti-social” (I am a professional and have to interact with hundreds of people every week). When I see people on a stationery bike in the gym all I can think of is a hamster running on his wheel inside the cage. One of the routes I ride during the winter takes me in front of the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex, a great gym/pool complex near Kenosha, Wisconsin. When I look inside I truly pity all of those poor souls trapped inside.
Q. So do you build your bike workout around your commute to work?
A. I do not commute to work — I have small office in my house and my real office is about 1,000 feet away from my house. Last year I rode over 6,800 miles and this year should come in at about 6,500 (I spent more time on the off-road trails this year).