I have been sidelined for the last few days with a cold. However, I have been riding in the cold weather as much as I could. The week before I got sick, I managed to ride two days in record cold Seattle temperatures. I feel like a hard ass when I brave the cold temperatures. There are very few other cyclists on the road and everyone I talk to is amazed when I tell them I rode to work. I am also sure that the frigid temperatures make my body work harder. I am in it for the workout after all!!!
I may think of myself as a hard ass when I cycle to work in the cold, but in fact I am a wussie! I can choose to drive if I am not motivated or if the weather does not suit my fancy. Any time I commute by bike, my ride starts and ends from a nice warm location. My ability to choose to ride to work is a luxury I am lucky to have. The real hard asses are the ones who are not afforded that luxury.
I pass literally hundreds of tents, dilapidated motor homes and sleeping bags on my commutes. Seattle has a huge homeless population and the numbers are growing at a startling rate. They don’t get a break from the cold. My temporary struggle against the cold seems inconsequential in comparison. Undoubtedly some of these people have made some bad decisions in their lives and many are addicts. However, that does not mean that these people should suffer. Many more are handicapped, suffering from mental illness or worst of all children. Many of the homeless population in Seattle are children.
If you are tough enough to brave the cold weather much of the nation is facing to ride to work, you should be commended. You are a hard ass! However, in light political and socioeconomic division we face in this nation, I advise you to think of those less fortunate than yourself. Consider giving to a homeless charity. Consider giving a donation, blankets or clothing to a shelter. Perhaps you can give an old bike to a local charity that helps the homeless. If nothing else, say hello to anyone you may run into on the road or trail, even if they aren’t cyclists.
Here are a couple Seattle area charities that help other cyclists.