Thursday, December 25, 2014

In Which The Sun Shines At Christmas

Me and my son, ready to ride. I have new Christmas vest on, son is borrowing the old one.

It’s been a bit of a dull, grey December in Iowa—not terribly cold, in fact warmer than November, but we have seen a lot of rain, drizzle, sleet—dull, grey weather.

So it may be a bit unromantic that this year we didn't have a full white Christmas, even if there was a light dusting of snow early in the day that the sun quickly burned away. But we did have sun, and warmth. It was a Christmas fit for bicycling and I had a new bike vest to wear anyway.

Around noon, my wife, youngest son and I set out of a walk after our morning brunch and gift opening. The stroll was terminated a bit early for the best of reasons—a daughter from England called and wanted to Skype, so home we went.

It's not often in Iowa on Christmas Day to encounter a caterpillar while you are out on a walk, but we did. Air temp is only in the 30s, but even the weak winter sun must warm the pavement up a bit more.

We had a nice time seeing her and another daughter who is visiting across the pond and the grandkids and son-in-law. By the time the Skyping was done, it was getting well into the afternoon—and the question was, what to do?

I suggested I might, instead of napping, go for a bike ride. My wife wisely suggested I invite my youngest son. It all worked out. My oldest son’s bike is being stored here for a few months while he is again out of the country, and needs to be ridden now and then, so I greased its chain (and mine) and pumped up the Fancy Bike’s tyres. I did not bother to swap pedals—the bike has those pedals meant for shoes with bike clips, but the youngest son has sturdy shoes and I figured he would be OK without “normal” pedals.

He was.

We headed over to the Cedar River Trail in Hiawatha, then turned south, going down the trail to Cedar Lake. By the time we rounded the lake, it was getting well past 3, and we didn't want to be out in the dark, so we cut through Noelridge Park, a slightly shorter route than the one we originally took to the trail.

What Cedar Lake looked like this afternoon. Sun sort of looks like Christmas star, no?

I used some WD-40 on my rear derailleur, and it seems to be functioning now, so I had fast gears on Francis.

Not that Francis can compete with Fancy Bike. For a time, on the way south, I let the young son go ahead, knowing that it was hard to ride at my pace on that fast bike. Still, even I was moving OK on the slow bike today—it was a gorgeous winter day, a sunny Christmas in the 40s. Cedar Lake, which had almost frozen shut in November, is open again. We don’t have trees blooming as they do in England now, and much colder weather is expected next week—the lake will probably be frozen by New Year’s.

Francis casts a long shadow at Cedar Lake. We paused for a quick snack of nuts and then headed home. I'm using new Canon camera we got as a sort of mutual Christmas present--my wife will take it to England this January..

Days like this are precious to us. No white Christmas? Brown was OK and better for biking and it was good to see some sunshine. The ride was around 15 miles, and the time was well spent.

And finally: A Christmas song first posted for me by my sister Cate on Facebook. It seems like a good way to wish all you bikers out there a Merry Christmas:

No comments:

Post a Comment