It was a night to feel lucky. We worked late, in the city, talking bike building with a small group of interested cyclists over pizza and cooler full of cold drinks, one of those nights where the conversation just flows, bike people talking about bikes, none of us in any rush to be anywhere else.
When we finally packed up and left the sun still hung above the river, gauzy cloud muting it and giving it color. People ran and walked. Sailboats cut and darted on the water, and cyclists pedaled past in every direction.
Probably every night is a night to feel lucky, but last night, as we wound our way back down the river and out of the city, struck just the right note, the right scene, the right pace, the right temperature and distance, everything falling into place in just the right way.
It’s overwhelming, Spring in New England. The flood of riding possibilities that come with better weather leave you wondering what to do first, how much to do, which direction to ride. It’s like a starving person confronted with a Vegas buffet.
And in a minute, it’s summer. The riding becomes regular, more regimented. You know where you’re riding, when, and who you’ll ride with. You start to feel fit, maybe you even are. It’s hard to tell. Everyone else is getting fit, too.
Then the heat sets in. You pay more attention to your water bottles, spend more time, off the bike, making yourself drink water. If you set goals, you begin to know whether you achieved any of them, even if they only amount to riding more with friends.
Although it’s still warm here, the factory’s big tilting windows channeling in whatever air is available, we can feel the change to Fall coming. Conversations leave the road, turn to cyclocross, mixed-terrain, Fall mountain biking. Someone says the words “fat bike.”
If Spring is a beginning, then Fall is one, too. We start to dream about cool temperatures, wondering how much faster and farther we might go. There is an urgency, too, in Fall. Winter is coming. We will ride straight through it, but certain places and certain ways of riding will be less possible. Fall is the time to cram in the good stuff, the things we missed during the Summer’s high heat.
It isn’t summer yet, just April’s end, but there are buds on the trees, the sun rises higher in the sky every day, and we can begin to see all the riding options summer will give us. Our New England trails are drying out. The sunrise is early enough to get out on the road on a Saturday before the cars have woken up. The options are nice to have, though they sometimes necessitate more than one bike.
Flat bars or drop? Skinny tires or fat? One seat or two? In summer, it almost doesn’t matter what you choose.
July of 2013 will go on record as one of the hottest months in Boston (and Watertown) history, a fact that didn’t escape us as we spent the month building bikes at full tilt and trying to fit rides in before and after work.
Hopefully August will see temperatures, inside and out, that are a little more conducive to hard work. We are, gratefully, very busy and sending out orders in our own record numbers.
Until it cools down, we’ll just have to keep the freezer, cooler and fridge stocked with the sorts of things that help busy bike-builders stay cool on the job, and sometimes off it.