Emotional Weather Report

Let’s face it: Winter is a tough time. I appreciate the milder, wetter winters of the Pacific Northwest vs. the colder, snowier, saltier winters of the Northeast. And I’m not one to be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, at least that much, but I do admit that sometime winter can get to me. While the snow we had over the weekend was a welcome change from the typical weather pattern of the area, it didn’t take me long to get bored of it. And get bored of being cooped up.

And I have to admit that my mental health has not been 100% for awhile. The break-up was a big deal, but even before that the two years of stagnation got to me. I don’t feel like I’m over the hump yet, but I feel like I’m getting there.

And what gets me out of a funk? Movement. While the treatment is simple, sometimes I’m too thick to figure out what I need. The big problem is that I have a long list of stuff that I want/need to accomplish. So I try to devote my free days to checking off the items on the list. Seems pretty simple, especially since I’ve had a string of days off as of late. But it’s not so easy: I get distracted, bogged down in minutiae, procrastinate. Rather than try to do something different, I’ll still stay indoors in a vain attempt to “get shit done”. I feel like going outside is a cop-out and will delay what I need to get done.

But getting outside clears my head and helps me cope. It makes me think positively again. And it’s fun. So on Wednesday, despite my long list of shit to do, I went out and rode my bike for a bit. Nothing serious, just a ramble. But a ramble with a purpose, as I have a Three Speed Ride in March that I need to plan. I had done some preliminary routings at home. And while I’m confident enough in my abilities and knowledge of the city to make a route map via something like RideWithGPS, it’s still good to get out there and “ground truth” it. Because usually what will happen is I’ll go off on a tangent, remember some little nook and cranny that would be an interesting part of my ride, discover something new, etc. And these are the types of rides I want to lead, vs something dry and boring.

Somewhere in The Cully.

Somewhere in The Cully.

And it was a good day to be outside. While it drizzled off and on through the day, the temperature stayed closer to 60F/16C. Compare this to last Thursday when it was 20F/-7C, windy, and snowing. Of course now there was little evidence of snow anywhere. The “Snow Event” a memory.

It was also good to get out on the Raleigh Wayfarer three-speed again. I hate to admit it, but it’s been months since I really rode this bike. Why? Well, I did new things to the XO-3 and Crested Butte, so I was more inclined to ride them. And the Wayfarer got a flat a few weeks back, so because I’m lazy and had two other functioning bikes, I didn’t get around to fixing the flat until last week. Then the snow came, and the other two bikes were more appropriate for the conditions. But Wednesday? No excuses. And it was really good to be back on my faithful steed (especially when I got the hub adjusted right!) It made me wonder why it had been so long.

And the best way to beat winter blues? Think about summer. Nothing speaks summer to me these days than bike camping and touring, and there was a lot of thinking about that today, as there was a Cycle Wild planning meeting for this year. Over a couple hours a group of about a dozen people hammered out a tentative plan of fun bike trips for 2014. Of course, this is for Cycle Wild. There’s still my bike trips. I’m looking forward to the Three Speed Tour around Lake Pepin in May, and hopefully a tour of Central/Eastern Oregon in September. In between will be plenty of shorter trips. I’m feeling the itch for a big grand bike tour at some point, but that’s not in the cards for 2014. But we’ll see what 2015 brings…

Only 59 miles? Let's go!

Only 59 miles? Let’s go!

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One thought on “Emotional Weather Report

  1. I always seem to forget how much of a cure-all a bike ride can be. Granted, more pleasant weather always helps, but at least you aren’t limited to 3 hours of daylight like the Seasonally Affected residents of Fairbanks, AK.

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