Your bike is a great way to get around to parties this holiday season. (Image: Flickr user Morten Elbech S?rensen)
Standard time. It’s the ?fall back? time change that makes short, dark days of winter even shorter and darker. North of the Sun Belt, it steals away any chance at sunlit post-work rides and foretells of days, weeks, or even months of icy pavement and bitter-cold winds. Then the holiday hustle begins and days seem even more ephemeral. Holiday dinners, bag loads of pretty packages, and fancy holiday clothes deliver a burlap sack full of very good reasons not to ride, complete with a fancy bow. It’s a trying time for cyclists that don?t like the cold, short days.
As easy as it is to put the bikes away when standard time arrives, there are plenty of reasons to suck it up and brave the elements.
1. The Love: Ride to your next holiday gathering and enjoy the warmest hugs this side of Rio. Your crazy aunt will think you?re crazier than her and your mom will worry about you (what’s new?), but everyone at the party will know you braved the elements to be there with a warm dish and holiday cheer, and they?ll love you a little bit more for it.
2. The Respect: Do you live in a town that’s not so friendly to cyclists? Well, be ready for the friendliest bike ride outside of the Italian Alps. Motorists will yield, pedestrians will cheer you on, and every pasty face behind the warm glass of basic shelter will smile, grimace, or shake their head in amazement at you. Added bonus? Karma seems to love a standard time rider, often delivering weather that cripples motorized transportation on the one day that you decide to ride your bike to work regardless of what the weather shamans have to say. Enjoy counting the number of cars you pass on the way home.
Biking to work in the snow has many benefits, including deserted streets. (Image: Flickr user DewCon)
3. The Gear: If you love to have the right gear, standard time cycling is for you! Make it rain Benjamins at the local bike shop and then roll around in your new pile of reflective, lightweight, studded, waterproof, carbon fiber, gold-anodized, waxed cotton, LED, thinsulated goodness because the best way to master the cold dark of standard time is with the right gear. And this reason to ride isn?t just for those who love to melt plastic at the cash register; a versatile winter kit can also be assembled economically. Even DIY enthusiasts can enjoy creating sweet gear for standard time riding from a cheap anorak over layers of thrift store merino sweaters, plastic bags over your socks, and a homespun lighting system.
These compelling reasons to ride may not move you to saddle up and challenge the darkness, but successful standard time riding is all about perspective. Cold only seems colder when you avoid it, and short days only shorter without a couple of dozen lung-fulls of fresh air. Making that extra effort to ride a few miles to the grocery store or a dozen blocks to your buddy’s basement creates instant adventure and a dose of self-satisfaction, which is what many of us need to overcome the long, cold darkness of standard time.
Why do you ride through standard time?
Coming up with outfits to bike in the winter can be really fun and creative. (Image: Flickr user Mr. T in DC)