Why, oh why?

Over the past weekend, I texted an acquaintance, telling her I would furnish some requested information after my bike ride. She replied, "I got a Peloton (indoor trainer) and tried it yesterday for the first time. It's a little too cold outside for my blood. You are amazing!" In my response to her, I answered, "No. I'm just stupid and stubborn."

"One" is a lonely, cold number.

Our brief exchange got me thinking — why, for heaven's sake, do I choose to cycle outdoors when the temperatures are well below freezing? I never see anyone else pushing the pedals. Shouldn't that serve as an indication as to how most sane people treat such chilly conditions?

But you know, there are actual health benefits when experiencing some "brrr" action. I uncovered eight perks during my in-depth Google research. Honest! Cooler temperatures do the following: boost your brain, increase brown fat (cells that burn energy and produce heat in your body), improve allergies, reduce inflammation, lower risk of diseases and infections, help you sleep better and burn calories, rejuvenate skin, and better your heart.

So how cold was it when I went riding? On Saturday, it was 12 degrees and I managed to spin my wheels for 12 miles. On Sunday, it warmed up to a balmy 16 degrees — with a "feels like" 9-degree reading — and I registered 20 miles on my Garmin bike computer.

For me, a primary reason for putting all those clothes on — yes, a drawback that I've moaned about in the past — and going outside, is that I find cycling indoors on my stationary bike extremely tedious. Because of icy roads this winter, too much time has already been spent in this fashion.

The simple truth, in a nutshell, is that I just enjoy riding a bicycle ... no matter what. And if that entails a little discomfort, so be it. The outcome — both physically and mentally — far outweighs anything else. Besides, with all those layers of cycling kit combined with the cranking motion, I really never even notice how cold it is most of the time. The only parts of me that usually cry out in protest are my toes and fingers. It also helps when you don't go too fast, thus diminishing the windchill factor.

Call me crazy, if you must, but I love being out in the crisp fresh air and on two wheels. Stay safe!

'Thought for the day'

"As a kid I had a dream — I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed." — John Lennon

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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