Last year’s Valley Granfondo, held on a distinctly non-freezing July day. (Langley Advance files)

Painful Truth: Season of ice, season of puddles

Waiting for good cycling weather is a long process in a cold winter.

I’ve been getting back on the bike lately.

Which, given the time of year, means that I’m climbing aboard an exercise bike in my condo complex’s gym.

Every weekend starting around the end of January, I start glancing longingly outside and hoping that it will be an unseasonably early spring.

This past Sunday, I was awakened by the sound of ice crunching under car tires outside my windows.

So I spend my time “cycling” indoors. It has its advantages. I can listen to music or podcasts. I don’t have to oil my bike’s chain or adjust the tire pressure.

But after an autumn in which I did not ride nearly enough, and a winter in which I did not get out on my bike at all, I’m eager for the seasons to change.

For a cyclist on the Coast, there are probably four seasons, though not the ones everyone else is used to.

First comes the Season of Ice and Salt. Roads are coated with grit and brine where they aren’t slick with black ice. This will play merry hell with your bike’s delicate bits, if you are brave enough to head out. (I am generally not.)

Next we get the Season of Puddles. It’s going to rain. If it isn’t raining, it will rain soon, or it has just finished. You will either fit fenders to your bike, or you will spray water everywhere – including onto your own back as far up as the nape of your neck.

Finally, there’s the Golden Season, the time when the days grow longer and longer, and rainshowers become rarer. Rides after work can stretch out, instead of turning into panicked sprints to get back home before dark. Weekend rides can start early amid warm winds. This season is all too brief.

Then there’s the Season of Retreat, in which the sun slowly vanishes, the temperatures drop off, and we get our second round of rain.

Each ride in this season is snatched from approaching winter.

Maybe I’ll manage to get out of the house for my first “real” ride of the year this month, or maybe it’ll be another couple weeks of staring at the wall and pedalling to nowhere, before the Season of Puddles begins.

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