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Dec. 8, 2005

Nine inches of snow: nature's kickstand.

My new fixed-gear performed admirably in her first winter test. She was as fast, stable and fun as I'd hoped she would be. Despite the conditions my commute took only a few minutes more than usual, and I didn't slide once.

Once again my co-workers are amazed to the point of mocking that I ride in this weather, and my stock replies -- "My only problem is that I get too hot!" "You know a way to get around that is quicker or warmer? Pray tell!" "The best part is passing the snowplows!" -- are filled with less cheer each time they are invoked.

One colleague in particular doesn't conceal what an idiot he thinks I am. That's fine. Many, many years from now I will be too old and feeble to ride my bicycle through the snow. He, on the other hand, will always be a dickhead.

Once upon a time, I have read, Chicago was a stormy, husky, brawling city of big shoulders. It was a city proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning. I'm not so sure anymore. Temperatures in the teens and snow barely to the curb now send people into a cowed, trembling tizzy of fur and cashmere.

Weather whiners. The people complaining about the cold now are the same ones who complained about the heat in June. Look, I want to tell them, it's Chicago. Shut the fuck up and deal. Want to spend 15 minutes on a freezing platform so you can ride the train with the flu-ridden sickies? Fine. Want to spend 15 minutes shoveling your car so you can sit an hour in weather-related gridlock? Fine. Me, I want to go as fast and be as warm and as healthy as possible, so I bike. Now leave me alone.

The winter cycling is no longer just about me showing off. It's about me shutting the fuck up and dealing. My way.

Photo taken: Dec. 8, 2005