Tom LaisTom Lais

Winter Storm

Last February I rode to work as usual. The weather was getting warmer and the sun was supposed to shine all day, so when I left for work I skipped a layer or two of winter cloths.

My workday ended later than normal and when I looked out it was snowing and blowing. A check of the temperature and it was definitely going to be a cold ride home.

I decided to take a route that would bring me near coffee shops, my favorite refuge if I get cold.

I realized I was under-dressed but had to make the 18 miles from Minneapolis to Woodbury. I was worried as it was dark and the streets were empty. People had been going home early to avoid the winter storm.

My route took me over the Ford Bridge and up Ford Parkway where I turn left on Snelling and then right on Randolph. As I crested Ford parkway and Snelling the wind was whipping and the snow coming down fast. I kicked it into my fast pace and headed down through what was the most beautiful ride I had ever experienced. The wind was pounding at my back, pushing me along, like a firm hand on my back. The snow was blowing all over the place swirling in front of my tires in patterns that were indescribable.

The silence was incredible as there were no cars. I had the street to myself.

The houses I passed look so warm and comforting. I kept thinking how lucky I was to be able to ride through a city when it is at rest.

I was fascinated by the way my bike tires cut through the snow and how I glided over the icy patches on the road. It was so quiet... So peaceful. I never felt alone or in danger. In fact I felt invigorated and empowered as I knew I couldn't run out of gas and the more I pedaled my bike the warmer I became.

When I got home, I dried off and went back out to get a cup of hot coffee at my local coffee shop. As I drank my coffee I thought how interesting, four years ago I would never have gone out in this cold and snow, not even in a car.

We are hardy creatures and much more durable than we think.