The tail of today’s journey really starts with Mohamed, not the profit of Islam but rather a bike mechanic who works at the D&D Bikes in Berkley MI. Mohamed never has owned a car. He rides his bike to and from work every day 12 months out of the year. According to him he has known no other way and at 60 some plus years he is as fit as fiddle and ready for action.
Long before REI came to town and graced us with the awareness of all weather gear, Mohamed was riding his bike form Wayne Mi to Berkley Mi every day. He had long ago silenced the conversation in his head about what was reasonable or possible with respects to riding, weather conditins or gear. He in turn became my inspiration to take on whatever was left inside my own conversation and join him in the ranks of weather? Who cares!
I spent the 60 bucks on a studded front tire, split my left thumb putting it on the rim, filled it up with 45-50lbs of air, got on my gear and headed out once again. It was 17 degrees when I had left but with the Northwest wind at my back it was like setting my sail and catching a bit of a ride on down. For those of you who ‘clip in’ always winter snow/ice ridding is not for you. Ditch the clips as the metal to metal surface interface transfer the chilling energy directly into your shoe and into your foot regardless if you are wearing a ‘booty over cover’. I recommend you change your peddles to a BMX platform and put on some -40 hiking boots that are waterproof and thinsulated. That way when the slip and slid happens you extend your leg and slid stiff legged until the curvy-survey is over. (For the men from Beat The Train, this is why I ride in sandals).
It was crisp to begin but I warmed up well by the time Oak Park was upon me, the roads were good all the way through Ferndale and down back across 8 mile and into Sherwood Forest. It was a little tough at first but the road cleared up after a few blocks. Once I crossed over Six Mile this is where the fun really started. No plows no salt except for a few hit or miss intersections were the salt did nothing but make it marblely. I picked a car tire track and held it true and for the most part that new front tire worked wonderfully. A few times I came close to going down and out but that quick release to a stiff leg slide worked! No garage sale, no salt stains no bruises just fun and challenging as you have to pull on those handle bars to rip it!
Snow riding is sort of like sand trap riding, for those of us who mountain bike you know what I mean. The sand grabs you sucks in your front tire in, survey curvy as you quickly step up on the peddles in an attempt to get out of the trap before you fall on down and in. I imagined that I was on a trail again as there were no people to be found. All the way down Third Ave I turned left on West Grand Blvd and made my way East to Cass Ave. From there it was a quick right and a sprint the rest of the way down to Canfield on over to Motor City for some more Cider and good conversation.
Once again, as Jim Senska aptly put it the day of our Tour Detroit ride the ‘Church of the Rolling Wheel’, continues to be an inspiration. When the conversation in your head is silenced what more is the excuse to stay stuck in the life that you invented? End the conversation in your head and realize you are the Architect of your experience and whatever you truly believe is what is possible.
J. Meyers bike explorer