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033 Freezing It Off 2009-01-16

Town biking in the cold

It’s turned cold this winter in Tennessee. I don’t mean cold like Canada or Alaska cold, I mean 10 to 15 degrees with a breeze. You won’t die doing things outside but that breeze and temperature will let you know where your underwear comes to.

I have chosen not to drive since I quit work. After all, I am unemployed I might as well live conservatively. My choices for transportation are basically walk or ride my bike.

Needing a hair cut I was trying to time my visit to the one seat barber shop. The dilemma was if I arrive at the wrong time, the wait could be over an hour. I was late for walking to the shop, so I decided to bite the bullet and ride. It was almost fifteen degrees, and even though I was still probably recovering from pneumonia, I thought I would be okay if I dressed well.

Layered and over layered I did the Frankenstein shuffle toward the garage. I mounted my trusty one speed Panther and headed down the driveway. Stopping at the house, I took off a few garments so that I would not break into a sweat rolling downhill. Finally after adjustments I left the house, went to the end of the street and turned into the breeze. Shuddering from a chill I stood to ride faster, generating heat. The faster I rode the more heat I generated but the wind chill also increased. I tucked my chin into my jacket for relieve and continued pumping. My skin was freezing and my bones were aching. My muscles had decided not to work at all, preferring to save their energy to fend off the cold. I hadn’t worn enough clothes.

The rest of the way to the barber shop I lost my thoughts to solving the winter biking quandary. At the shop I jumped off my bike and ran inside. The barber looked at me and exclaimed, "why on earth did you ride your bike? Don’t you know you’ll freeze it off!"

I smiled as I took a seat in a chair positioned near a sun filled window. Patiently I waited thirty minutes for my haircut and to re-warm before my ride home. It felt good to have been noticed and to reaffirm my position. I was riding my bike to keep from driving. Suffering a little for a principal brought a warmth to my soul.

Feeling good I quickly rode home. Along the way I passed a young boy and girl on their bikes. I wondered if they felt good suffering for a principal or were they just having fun and didn’t care that it was cold. Hmmm.



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