TCI Friday

I’m summered out. I’ve pushed and I’ve pedaled and I’ve sweated straight through this season. Gross. It’s gotten so I’m sweating before I get out the door, the perspiration tingling at my temples as I ratchet the straps of my shoes and pull the bike from its rack.

At least the riding generates the breeze that makes some kind of evaporation possible. Then you’re hostage to the ride. You’ve got to keep going or the heat ramps up with no where to go.

Give me the fall, dry leaves clacking and clattering against the asphalt, wind with bite, the first tendrils of wood smoke escaping someone’s chimney. In fall I can ride forever, never overheating. Unless of course it rains. Then all those leaves turn to slimy, brown ice. Don’t overcook the corner. You’ll go sliding into someone’s hedge.

Winter is for the brave, but there’s no one else out. We have the place to ourselves. Ok, it’s icy sometimes. You put on the studded tires. You’re right. It’s cold. Maybe we should be skiing.

But then the spring. It’s green! The days grow warm, but not hot. Oh, but it’s raining again. The trails are no-go. Not unless you wanna be one of those people, and I never want to be one of those people. The spring is a taste of early summer. It’s the sweetest, but it’s over in a blink.

Then we’re back to summer. The trails firm up. Everything gets lush. Even the first days of heavy air, hugging you like a warm blanket, aren’t too bad. It feels good to get a proper sweat on. That’s before things get too salty, bleached out. You wake early to the sound of crickets blaring and the pavement crackling with stored heat. Let it end. Let it end.

This week’s TCI Friday asks what is the best cycling season? I’m fairly certain, back somewhere in the annals of TCIF and/or the old Friday Group Ride at Red Kite Prayer, I have asked this question before. Maybe even twice. But it’s one of those debates that’s never settled. I’m afraid sometimes that my favorite is any one of the three I’m not currently pedaling through, but it’s never so simple as that. I think I’m a fall. I think the relief from the heat and all the other little details of autumn are the ones I like best. A crisp start. A wool jersey. Hot coffee at the end.

Join the conversation
  1. hmlh33 says

    It’s been super humid in Mass (as you know) all week and much of the summer. I prefer road to mtb when it’s like this – for the breeze. But today I broke down and headed for the woods. All clothing became soaked completely through, grips got slimy, gnats buzzed around my face as I climbed. I really did have the thought, “Robot has got to write something about the terrible summer weather we’ve had this year”. And there it was, waiting for me. Thanks and let the crispening begin, please.

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      The “crispening.” Holy shit, yes.

  2. jlaudolff says

    Until recently I would always have said Autumn since I grew up in the Midwest. I’ve lived in the PNW for a few decades now and Autumn is still fantastic though the shifting darkness and occasional stretches of wet weather work against this season. I’ve taken a real liking to Spring. It’s quite an extended season here with many phases of the earth coming to life. Summer is a real conundrum. We have occasional threats of extreme heat and smoke and on top of that, the typical humidity seems to be higher than it used to be. That said, it’s hard to complain about long evenings where it can still be light until almost 10pm. In the middle of winter, I am dreaming about a nice warm, dry bike ride in June or July.

    So, yeah, all the seasons are problematic and awesome at the same time.

  3. khal spencer says

    Spring is the worst here. Spring in New Mexico means high winds and bone chilling cold combined. Or as the joke goes, why is New Mexico so windy? Because Texas sucks and Arizona blows.

    Summer historically was nice but this past couple years its been pretty hot. Hot but dry though, so the sweating works. Fall can be glorious and winter, if its not snowy, is bearable if you layer up. I did Hyde Park Road today and it was very pleasant. A little cool at the top but that meant the bottom was bearable.

  4. maclifer says

    After many years but biking in finally back. Went electric and so far Summer is pretty awful. The humidity here, in Maryland outside of DC, is muggy and sodden. But the evenings are an entirely different animal! Night riding on paved trails has become delightful. I ended up wearing a 3/4 motorcycle helmet and an grateful for the face shield… less protein flying down my gullet. And spiders, my they are such quick builders! Hitting webs nearly every ride with many spanning 12ft it more. Have really come to love the cooler evenings. 😁

  5. southcarolinamtb says

    Fall! or Autumn, if you prefer.
    Don’t kid yourselves. 😉

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