Yesterday the temperature was maybe in the low teens as I took my bike out of the shed for the first time in maybe three weeks to ride to work. Leah suggested I take the car, but I told her I wouldn't miss that ride for the world. I like the cold! I also very much enjoy cycling, but apparently that enjoyment doesn't extend to riding when I don't need to do it to get to work. At least not over Christmas! (in my defense, I didn't have a tremendous amount of free time). And when I'm not riding, I'm not doing bike maintenance, so my poor machine was just as I left it weeks before—with the addition of all that time sitting damp and salty.
Surprisingly, it was in pretty good shape. I even took off without feeling like I had to lube the chain (though the clock also had something to do with that decision). But "good shape" for any bicycle of mine is pretty relative. This particular bike currently has a bent front derailleur and two bent chainrings, a rusty stuck spring on the rear derailleur that keeps it from tensioning the chain most of the time, and rear brakes that offer the faintest hint of stopping power when applied fully (which, now that I think about it, didn't apply on this particular ride as the lever was frozen—or maybe rusted!—solid). Also something is going on with the freewheel: the last few times I rode in December there were moments when I found myself able to freewheel in both directions, the pedals spinning wildly without propelling me forward. That was kind of worrying. But then the pawls caught again and I was off, so never mind!
Even with all that in the back of my mind (the way back) yesterday morning I just hopped on and hit the road. That says something about my personality, I think: that I'm a joyful optimist, trusting in God and my ability to deal with problems as they arise, and not willing to let anything get in the way of an adventure (or at least a fun ride to work). Also that I'm lazy and unable to do proper preventative maintenance, and that even when things aren't working it takes me a long time to work up the will to fix them. Leah would agree strongly with both points, I think... if she read them. I really hope she doesn't, though, since she doesn't like to hear about me riding into the city on broken bicycles. Shh!