If you read this blog, you probably already recognize the benefits of biking and bike commuting, and want to see bike infrastructure in Jacksonville improve. (Or come into being, as it were.) This blog has always been and will always be 100% pro bike. However, I think we all experience times when biking is not fun at all, when biking is not so much a fun way to get around as it is a miserable chore. This doesn’t stop us from biking; the benefits of biking will always outweigh discomforts, and we grit our teeth and keep pedaling because we like burning calories instead of fossil fuels.
But some bike bloggers are sickeningly positive about everything, and put a pretty spin on even the worst biking conditions. For instance, they might ride on a gray, wet Monday morning and instead of complaining like normal people, they call it “refreshing” and “magical” and yap for 400 words about how great it felt. I don’t doubt that they are genuine in their sentiments, but I do think it can turn other people off to biking. Some people hear that message and think, “I hate rain. I hate snow. I’m never going to be that person who rides a bike in rain and thinks it’s magical. Maybe I’m just not cut out for biking, period.” And you know what? You can be committed to bike commuting and still hate biking in bad weather.
I think there needs to be an alternative to the cockeyed optimist, all-weather-is-biking-magic way of looking at things. For me, a better way of looking at things is, “Biking is good for me but sometimes it sucks. I will bike in bad weather but reserve the right to hate every minute of it.” Maybe it’s ironic but, for me, reminding myself that I don’t have to enjoy biking makes it easier to keep pedaling even when I really don’t want to. Actually, maybe it’s not so ironic. It’s not realistic to expect people to “enjoy” pushing against heavy wind gusts. And anyone who write rhapsodic poems about saddle sores is wacko. So while biking through rain is a blissful, cool shower for some, it’s is a miserable experience for the rest of us — and that’s ok.