It’s a beautiful day for a bike ride. Sixty three degrees Fahrenheit and sunny. I wore long sweatpants, a t-shirt, a jersey, and a windbreaker. That may have been one layer too many but I was comfortable. It’s only the middle of March and I know to beware the weather in the ides of March so I wasn’t going out in only a t-shirt just yet. Things can get cold quickly in late winter.

I had a weird experience with things getting cold quickly already this winter. It was one of the only warm days back in February. I think it was in the mid fifties and sunny. Since I had been riding a lot this winter when the temperature was in the mid twenties the mid fifties was like summertime. Except it was a little windy.

The odd thing was that even though it wasn’t a cold wind sometimes it became that. There were still a couple to three feet of snow on the ground so sometimes I was riding right next to a lot of snow. When the wind came across the snow it would chill the air. If the wind came from the road it was warm again. That was a strange ride.

Today’s ride was pretty well wind free. Except for the wind of riding itself. The roads were rough though. I was back on my summer route out on the main streets rather than the neighborhood ones and there were some substantial pot holes. Some had been fixed with “Cold Patch” and that can cause problems on its own. Cold patch is the stuff they throw into potholes cold. It is a temporary fix and has a lot of loose gravel and asphalt chunks that come with it. All that loose stone can make for some rough riding. I’m extra careful when I see cold patch.

It must have been a nice day out there today because they had the road crews out using some “Hot Patch”. At least I think that’s what it’s called I know that cold patch is called cold patch but I’ve never seen hot patch referenced. Either way there were guys with a big truck and hot tar and asphalt sealing up cracks in the road. I only mention this because I got to one part of my ride and started running over some freshly patched cracks. I was hoping it wouldn’t gum up my bike and it didn’t. But it was unnerving. In a small way.

This week I got my first flat tire in a month and a half or so. I walked out to ride on Wednesday and my back tire was flat. It’s always the back tire. That’s where a person’s weight sits. I fixed it of course. What’s weird was that I couldn’t bring myself to use one of my new tubes. I bought two new tubes after my last flat but I still had an old one with many patches on it. I put the old one in. It still holds air and was fine but I don’t know why I didn’t use a new one. I still wanted to have two new tubes and not one new tube. The quirks of the human mind are odd. Either way the tire works.

I think I know when I got the flat but it was a slow leak so I’m not sure. On the Tuesday I was out riding and on one of the final turns towards home I my back tire felt funny. When a bike’s tire pressure is low and you go around a sharp turn at high speed the tire can buckle and turn. It then pops back into place as the bike straightens. I thought I felt that happen a little but I looked down at the tire and it looked to be holding its air. I wrote of the buckling feeling as a slip on the thick paint of road lines. That happens sometimes and can feel similar. The next day as I saw the flat I figured the tire really did buckle. It must have gotten punctured just before that.

It’s interesting riding this late in the winter because I can see more than when the trees have their leaves in the summer. Most of the time my eyes are on the road but occasionally my line of sight goes left or right towards the many houses. But with the leaves gone I can see many more houses. I saw a whole neighborhood that I hadn’t noticed before. Its road ran parallel to the one I was on and it was a half mile away. I could never see if the trees had their leaves. The everyday things we don’t know are there.

When I’m out on my bike is the only time I can tell that the streams are running high around here. They’re only small streams but with all the rain and snow melt in early March they became raging rivers. It’s a thing to hear the water, that I barely notice all year, roaring by like the force of nature it is.

My favorite part of my ride is near a little stream and a reservoir. As a matter of fact it’s called Reservoir Road. What’s neat about it is that its a good sized downhill that immediately becomes a good sized uphill. Going up a hill can be tedious but in this case I have so much momentum that I zoom up most of the hill. I think it’s the fastest I’ve ever gone uphill. There is also a nice curve in the middle. That’s fun but I have to be careful. It’s easy to get out of control on that bend.

One part of that Reservoir Road run that rarely happens right is the approach. I come down a big hill, cross a busy road, and then I’m at Reservoir Road. Except to cross the busy street I need the traffic light with me. It rarely is. The light is only green for about ten seconds. It’s a quick light in that direction. It takes maybe a minute to come back around to green.

The odds are that the light will not be green and I’ll have to stop. But when the odds are with me that one out of ten times the light is green I can fly across the busy road, zoom down Reservoir Road, and zoom up the other side. That is fun stuff and when I have to be most careful on the bend that transitions from downhill to uphill.

I still have plenty of fifty degree days of cycling left this spring and I’ll enjoy them too but these mid sixty days are nice. Last year it got into the eighties for a few days in April. I cycled those days and remember the shock of going back to spring riding after a week of summer temperatures. That was something. So go on; have a good ride out there.