Blowin' in the wind

I don't mind the wind where I live.

The wind reminds me I am outdoors. Air conditioning aside, the interior life in buildings, malls and automobiles is windless. The advantages of this arrangement are numberless—better looking hair among them.

Outside on my bicycle working the pedals on my Rocky Mountain into a gusting from the northwest at 50 kilometres an hour, I am in another kind of place.

It is a landscape of action and reaction, give and take. I feel very much a small element in a larger equation where the wind is strong enough to make demands. I make concessions. The wind hits me in the face, and I add seven teeth, switching to an easier gear to keep my legs turning at a comfortable speed. This is what gears do, of course. They help bicycle riders like me speak back to the conditions, and keep going.

Keeping going is the job. Keeping going in the little picture means shifting to an easier gear to get to the right turn onto 91 Ave without grinding to a stop. Keeping going in the bigger picture means using the right gear to not strain my knees. Keeping going in the even bigger picture means demonstrating to myself that the conditions outside this morning, -3°C, wind, frozen puddles, skiffs of snow on the pavement, are okay to be outside on a bike in.

I make it to the 142 St bridge over the MacKinnon Ravine in about 8 minutes and 20 seconds. Normally, I would get there in 6 minutes and 35 seconds. Normally is the wrong word. When there is no wind, I get places a little quicker than when the wind is there. That's a better way to put it.

Outside, on good days, I feel I am with the wind. No matter which direction it hits me from.


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