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Bike Rides: Winter Winter the Big Fat Whimper

The snow blower, the shovel, the big mittens and waterproofed boots are all still lined up and ready to serve like an infantry battalion waiting for their orders to arrive.

Constantly checking the long range forecast like a nervous farmer before spring planting begins, I’m still waiting for that colossal snowstorm to hit.

Perhaps it’s the lingering sting of fresh wounds opened during the horrific winter of 2010/11, or maybe it’s the deep scars left after enduring a lifetime of harsh Minnesota winters, but somehow I’ve been unwilling to accept the fact that winter never really came this year.

That’s not the warrior of all seasons that we’ve come to know and loathe over the years. Jet stream schmet stream—a true Minnesota winter never relents or retreats without making you swear you’ll move south before you face a single flake the next year.

As a child I remember fantasizing when winter came late that maybe it wouldn’t come at all this year and we’d finally skip the harsh and frigid season completely. Over the years my ridiculous optimism has been snuffed out again and again by an inevitable arctic blast of one form or another, if not in December than certainly by January. No matter how tardy winter may be; surely one would have to move south at least a dozen zip codes before they could enjoy a complete winter season void of extremes. That was until this year.

At one point in December, following a modest snowfall, I did put the summer bike away and broke out the old winter Raleigh figuring it was finally time. But by Christmas it was all melted and I had swapped rides out again. I repeated this scenario a time or two in January and February but for the most part the winter bike hung on the basement hooks all year.

With May’s arrival maybe it’s okay to plan for a bike ride without worrying about receiving a climatic smack down from the neighborhood tough guy.

In fact old man winter is positioned so many city blocks behind us now it’s probably even safe to start taunting him at this point:

“Nah nah nah nah nah nah, you can’t get us!”

Or Pitying him:

“Poor winter, I remember how lengthy and robust he was back in the ‘70s.”

Or humiliating him:

“I’ve seen bigger snowballs forming inside my refrigerator.”

I’ve always been a summer guy I guess. It just feels more natural to be active when there is so much other vigorous life dancing about you. Much activity gets suspended in the winter or at least goes soft, including my own.

But with spring’s arrival new wings are spread wide and before you know it, it’s time to get your summer freak on again.

Of course with that notion still in mind a giant mosquito just landed on my knuckles while typing this column from my front deck in late April. Some things are better left dormant I guess.

Anyway, there goes another bike ride, shorter than most. In fact we never really left the porch. Thanks for riding along.

Traffic Tip: Finally! The Shooting Star Trail reaches Rose Creek, MN.

Let’s get that thing to Austin now before I retire already. Pave it right to my driveway and I promise to serve free lemonade all summer long.

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