The weather, lately is so unpredictable these days but one thing that seems to be a constant is the wind. It’s strong, usually cold and often damp or even wet. On Day 20, it is no exception with gusty winds around 25-30 km/hr. But work is over and it’s time to head out for today’s bike ride.
It’s getting easier to choose a location. At the beginning I would agonize over where to go. Now it’s almost like doing improv. Today I think of the lake. If you crane your neck in our living room window you can see a little bit of it from a distance but it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed it. I did ride by it on a ride a few days ago – but that day I was too busy dodging pedestrians and cyclists to really appreciate it.
When I get out the door it’s even windier than I expected. At first, though, it’s mostly behind me and I appreciate the assistance. Normally I maintain about 18-20 km/hr on my heavy steel touring bike. Today, though, 25-28 km/hr is a breeze. (See what I did there?) I wonder if this is what it feels like to ride a bike with electrical assist.
All is great until I reach Cosburn avenue and have to turn into the wind. Now the joke’s on me. I’m making 15-20 km/hr but not without significant effort. Even with a headband on to keep my ears warm, the sound of the wind is so loud. Three kilometers later I get a little bit of a reprieve, turning south again on Woodbine. Now it’s downhill and the wind is mostly to my back. My speed goes back up and I’m zooming down to the lake like I have a motor again.
I lock my bike up and walk down to the water. Today, thanks to the wind it looks more like the ocean than a lake (the thirteenth largest lake in the world, mind you). There are a few people out walking, some with their dogs, others alone or in pairs. A few very intrepid souls are out on the water kitesurfing. It’s a beautiful scene.
The ride home is much like my ride there in reverse. For variety I take a different route home along the Martin Goodman trail – the east branch of the same one I was riding on a few days back. Today, though, I’m one of the only people on it. And again, as I’m headed southwest my ‘motor’ is back. I’m being pushed along seemingly effortlessly. But all good things must come to an end and today that means turning back north into the northeast wind and a hill. A few years ago, I’m not sure how, but I came to an understanding about hills. They’re just there doing their own thing. You have to deal with them and then they’re done. And if you’re lucky you get a downhill afterward. (I took my downhill first – spending my gravity before earning it). Along the way I notice that despite the single-digit temperatures, mother nature is still on their schedule.
At the end of today’s ride I think I may be coming to an understanding with headwinds also. Up until now I’ve taken them personally. They push back as much as any hill, and unlike the hill, they shout in my ear the whole time. But at least when riding about town, they are manageable, often give back a boost later and create some nice waves. (But talk to me again after the next time I am on a tour and pushing through a headwind for 80 kilometres in one direction)
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