This Is Going To Be The Best Year Eve…Oh Never Mind.

Greetings from the City of New York, where it is currently very cold:

(Hey, at least it’s sunny!  Mostly.)

…aaand cue the Minnesota Humblebrag:

(“Wow, 16 degrees?  Which bathing suit do you recommend for those conditions, regular bikini or full-on thong?”)

Of course, cold is relative.  That’s why when people ask me* at what temperature it becomes too cold to ride I always answer, “Exactly one degree below the temperature at which you still enjoy riding.”  Some people enjoy riding so much that they’re willing to deal with the slings and snotcicles of outrageous temperatures, while others are like “Okay, I’m outta here” the moment it’s too chilly to ride in open-toed shoes.**

*[Nobody really asks me this, it’s called a rhetorical device.]

**[I fully endorse riding helmetless in open-toed shoes while listening to headphones, though obviously if you fail to align your tire label with your valve stem you should be condemned to Hell for all eternity.]

Consider this past week, when I headed out for a chilly jaunt to burn off some of that egg nog (which didn’t work, probably because I’d put egg nog in my water bottles):

The snow was beginning to stick and it was cold enough to flash-freeze your perineum, and shortly after I took this photo I encountered a runner with a white beard and a fleshy, windburned face who resembled Santa Claus chasing after his own sleigh.  As we passed each other, here’s what he said:

“Who’s crazier, you or I?”

I was too busy puzzling over whether or not his grammar was correct (I think it was) to respond, though obviously the correct answer was “You are, Santa.”  After all, this was a clear-cut case of “If you have to ask…”  As for me, I was merely engaging in recreation, and if at any point doing so had seemed crazy I would have said “Fuck it” and planted my ass on the couch.  If I think it’s too cold/wet/rainy/whatever to ride then I don’t ride.  And I certainly don’t ride on the trainer.  Now that’s crazy.

Anyway, if you keep it short and stay out of the wind it’s not too tough to get through the winter around these parts:

(“Excuse me, did you just call your slight regional temperature variations ‘winter?'”)

To that end, lately I’ve been scampering into Highbridge Park, which is the place I wrote about in my last Outside column:

It takes me no time to roll down there, and while portions of the park are quite technical there’s a smooth, flowy section of it that, while quite compact, is more than sufficient to keep you sane:

It can even be rather contemplative:

Indeed, over the break I also ventured down to Cunningham Park in Queens, and I have to confess I fell in love with both New York City and singlespeed mountain bikes all over again:

I used to ride there all the time when I lived on the same landmass, but now that I’m on the mainland I head north to more technical terrain instead.  It felt great to go back for the first time in maybe a couple years, because I’d venture to say that riding a singlespeed in Cunningham Park is the most fun you can have on a bicycle within the city limits.  There’s no picking your way through anything here.  It’s basically six or so miles of smooth, twisty, up-and-down singletrack with the odd log crossing or rock to keep you on your toes:

There are also a couple of dirt jump sections if you’re into that sort of thing, though I am decidedly not into that sort of thing.  

Oh, and some of the rocks have farters on them:

So yeah, that was my break: short rides, close to home, mostly in regular clothes.  I also tried to keep my distance from the Internet, and when I went to get caught up a few days ago I immediately regretted it, since the bike-haters of the world apparently decided to spend the last week of the year all simultaneously vomiting up bile, which I’ve duly summarized on the Bike Forecast:

I eventually had to mute the muter, but apparently she’s still muting people even as I type this.

There’s a song in there somewhere:

Finally, while my blog birthday isn’t until June, inasmuch as it is a new year I feel it is recumbent upon me to point out that 2018 will see my 11th year of blogging.  

Now I shouldn’t have to remind you that over that time I’ve gone from making jokes about fixies to becoming perhaps the world’s foremost authority on all things cycling, which is no small accomplishment:

I am no exception, and all of this is by way of formally declaring something you’ve no doubt noticed by now, which is that given the lofty status I’ve attained I now feel free to take certain liberties.  Do those liberties involve flinging feces at my audience?  Not yet, anyway.  However, as I strive towards an aloof state of entropy you should probably expect me to follow an increasingly informal posting schedule.  Hey, when you’re young you hunch over the bars and hammer, but when you’re older you adopt a more upright posture and pedal with a bit less urgency.  So while I haven’t yet attained the “shit-smeared corpse in a coffin” phase of my career I’m also not going to break out in hives because I haven’t posted something by lunchtime.

Or, if you prefer the short version, 2018 is the year I reach total enlightenment: