I am really no longer the Robot, but changing a silly pen name a decade later seems like more trouble than its worth. The initial idea, the joke that birthed my by-line, came from riding through Boston winters and being confronted continually by co-workers with the question, “Don’t you get cold?,” to which I would reply, “Robots don’t get cold.”
That was then. This is now. It was 14F this morning with patches of ice and encroaching snow on the roads. I drove my car and listened to a podcast. It was very civilized. And comfortable. The Robot abhors comfort. No, that’s not right. The Robot doesn’t consider comfort. It does not compute.
And for someone who isn’t a real robot, but only a joke one made of flesh and blood, that’s where things fall apart, because I do compute. Quite how and when the calculus changed, I can’t say, but I blame my kids. Children squeeze your time and limit your brainspace, so that the prospect of packing and managing extra clothing as well as keeping your bike winterized and rolling, becomes just that little bit less appealing and practical, and before you know it you’re sitting ten cars back at a light wondering why you’re not the person (or non-person) you used to be.
Last week I ordered a set of studded tires for my 29er. Whether that’s a reflexive purchase, based on past glories, or a sign of better intentions, remains to be seen. I did ride through some nonsense last year, but I probably spent more days at the indoor cycling studio my lady robot gives me access to, sweating through a cycling kit that didn’t feel somehow like the appropriate attire. I only recall two days when I was desperate enough to force myself down the basement stairs to set up the trainer there in the space between the kids’ XBox and the laundry.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what is your winter riding plan this year? Are you in or out? If out, how are you out? Just with more layers, or do you need studs and fenders and a grappling hook, too? Do you basement, with electronics or out? Do you spin in a studio? Or do you just get fat(ter)? And how is what you do now different from what you did ten years ago?