I got a gearache

Where the hell is the snow? It’s January, and as much as I love my bikes, I miss my skis. When I’m out running or riding the trails, I find myself daydreaming about moving through snowy woods in a different, more graceful way. Getting out for hours, pushing through untouched powder and enjoying the snow’s blanketing silence refreshes the soul. But those skis are sitting high and dry this year.

Still, biking on 40 degree days in winter is nothing a New Englander dare complain about. We know worse. In other years, we’ve prayed for 40 degree days in April so we can break the bike out of the garage for the first ride of the year. In other winters, we wouldn’t be out running in a single layer of Techwick in January. Right now, it’s different: I’d love to retire the bikes and running shoes for a while.

When I’m able to set my bike aside for a few months of skiing, it’s like new when I go back to it. Sadly, it’s difficult to get excited about either of them these days. Familiarity breeds contempt: I chuckled at the irony of using a battleship chain-like Kryptonite cable to lock my 20-plus-year-old Cannondale up at the trailhead while I ran today. I could probably leave the bike leaned against a tree and nobody in this town would look twice at it, I thought. As much fun as they are, my bikes are best described as “classics” — more than a little dated, and showing some wear.

can't be too careful with this gem

My Giant has been a war horse on the trails for months longer than it really should without a tune-up. When is there time? It’s on the rack and back out for heavy use again and again, now with mismatched tires (I am not a purist) and other semi-malfunctioning-but-not-quite-broken components. In past years it was fun to bust it out midwinter to try riding on the snow (mixed success and some spectacular spills). This year, after adding so many more weeks to the usual riding season — as much as I love it — it’s beginning to feel a little like work.

January in New England shouldn't look like this.

I don’t mind the shoveling. A few days of snow might be enough to quench this need. Without snow, I don’t know what I may do. God help me, I could become a climber.


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