Welling eyes involuntarily yield droplets of semi-frozen liquid, cascading down bare cheeks, descending rapidly in a semicircle before dropping into the wind. The flowing wetness brings forth lost emotion as tears of hardship, tears of trial and tribulation, tears of triumph over despair.
Those forced tears of winter cycling draw attention to one’s corporeality. Sudden awareness of a heart pumping in a broadened chest, legs churning in infinite circles, fingers gripping hardened steel. All reminders of mortality.
Winter riding compels one to challenge the elements. It requires quickness, agility, fortitude. And the bicycle trudges along. Snow crunching under slipping wheels, rubber squeaking, squealing on icy puddles. The brisk wind whips unbridled hair while penetrating chills slice through thick layers of clothing.
Hands charge out front, bravely facing frigid wind, growing more rigid by the minute. Shaking out hands, wiggling fingers, searching for one drop of blood to carry warmth to throbbing fingertips. Muscles protest the force of motion. Joints ache and grind while puffs of smoke escape a mouth warm with saliva as arctic air insults a throat increasingly dried with each labored breath.
Nose hairs, whiskers and eyelashes cultivate crusted icy particles. Toes lose sensation as feet grow numb with pedaling: too much like pushing lead weights against unrelenting stone. Propelling a heavy rolling steed through a glacial ambiance knowing that warmth waits ahead with just a few more strokes, and a few more dreaded inflexible bumps sending shocks through taut limbs. Such trials renew the tears of winter cycling. And the cycle of weeping begins again.