I glanced to my left as I cruised down the street and spied a mockingbird, its long tail feathers canted upward, perched on the edge of a birdbath. Round the next corner, the song of a bright, red, male cardinal cut through the air. It reminded me of the opening of the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique record, “Hey, hey, hey! Ladies!!!” I pay attention to the birds, because I’m like that, although I can tell you they don’t see the future any better than I do. They may be chirping like it’s about to be on, but that is no indication of what the weather will do two weeks out.
Still, by March 3rd, the sun is climbing higher and higher each morning, so bright and warm the snow caked at the road’s edge melts out into puddles, even though the air temperature is still below freezing. The gears begin to tick over in my mind. I should be doing something. The whole world is about to explode with possibility.
There comes a day, every March, here in New England, when the mercury spikes, the sun glows, and though it’s still below 50F, the winter-weary denizens of this region turn out in shorts and t-shirts like a bunch of giggly teens on their way to a beach volleyball tournament. New Englanders have a sort of Stockholm syndrome with weather.
And so, I should be cleaning my bikes. I’m not the most fastidious mechanic. Every bike I rode this winter has some grit caked in its nether regions. I’ll need to use one of these sunny days to set the stand up in the driveway and give each of them a good going over, with soap, water, degreaser, and fresh lube.
And then what?
Honestly? Then I’ll need to bide my time until the streetsweepers come through and clear off the sand/sodium chloride mixture the town has been bombing the pavement with for the last three months, until the trails go from a sort of dirt Jell-o consistency to their firmer, better selves. This is all ok. It’s part of the process. Patience rewards the patient.
And anyway, I can spin the road bike around for a bit, try to amass some “base miles,” and be ready when conditions comes good.
This week’s TCI Friday asks, what are the signs of spring where you are? How do you prepare yourself and your bikes for action? Or is there no difference? Your winter and spring flow together like the Tigris and Euphrates, like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, like salsa and that molten orange cheez in a pile of nachos.