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Column: Gone stir crazy in a rainy spring

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opinion Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

I feel like it's been a long time since I've used this space to talk about biking. Maybe you're OK with that. Maybe you've noticed, and you were keeping quiet because you thought I'd forget. Maybe you hoped, somewhere deep down within yourself, that I'd take up a more sensible hobby, like knitting or water skiing or riding a balloon up to space and skydiving out.

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I won't do any of those things, though. They're too dangerous. Especially knitting. Those needles are huge.

So, biking it is. Although, this year there hasn't been much of that to talk about. Heavy snows continued far enough into what would in any ordinary year be considered spring that it has apparently inspired scientists to think about cloning a wooly mammoth.

Snow-covered roads and skinny-tired bikes don't mix. Nor, now that I think about it, do bikes and mammoths. They'd be more dangerous than an SUV with a driver who's texting all their friends about how unsafe it is to have bikers on the road.

Even now that the last drift finally melted, persistent rainfall has made finding dry times to ride an exercise in faith. I set off on a ride earlier this year at a time when one weather website promised there was 0 percent chance of rain for the next two hours. The first drops started to fall before I had gone 10 miles, and I rode part of the way home in a rain so hard I could only just make out the road in front of my wheel.

I'm starting to think meteorology is a less exact science than I have been led to believe.

All of which is to say it's been an inconvenient spring at best for anyone who likes to ride a bike and dislikes being pelted with water in any of its various states.

Yes, even vapor.

It all adds up. Or, rather, it doesn't. At the time of this writing, I have put roughly 430 fewer miles on my bike this year than I had by this point last year.

That is problematic. My entire fitness regimen is based on eating whatever I want, then riding my bike a lot to burn it off. All this bad weather has put me at risk of having to exercise self restraint. It's terrifying, and it doesn't bode well for my waistline.

There are just two reasons to ride a bike, so far as I'm concerned: staying in shape and wearing stretchy shorts. And if I can't do one, I really probably shouldn't do the other.

On the bright side, I've been able to catch up on the last eight years of Doctor Who, a show that until a few weeks ago I had managed to avoid for the entirety of it's 50-year life. Now I'm just a few more rainy weekends and I might be tempted to go all the way back to the beginning of the series in 1963. If I understand it right, it's basically Quantum Leap but with aliens, right? And attractive redheaded Scottish women instead of Dean Stockwell?

It's possible I have misjudged my audience with that last paragraph.

This is what all of this bike-unfriendly weather has done to me. I don't think straight anymore. If I can't think about average speeds and hills and tailwinds I think about venerable British science fiction shows and rubber-masked aliens and attractive redheaded Scottish women.

OK, I might think about the Scottish women no matter what the weather's like.

The weather forecast for the immediate future isn't encouraging. It's supposed to rain again this weekend.

Time to see what's on BBC, I guess.

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