Something about the cooler weather seems to prompt me to think more about the small pleasures of ordinary cycling. Perhaps it's because bicycling in cold and wet weather was an acquired taste for me. As an undergraduate, I had my share of long bike rides to work on rainy nights with inadequate gear. Once I discovered wool clothes and warm scarves and mittens, bicycling in the autumn and winter became something I actually enjoy.
I've started jotting down some of these small pleasures to share here. It's interesting to me how different ways of getting about create some kinds of experiences that might not otherwise emerge.
Consider the unique type of hand-holding that Big and I have discovered this season. On these crisp autumn days, the front of the bike can feel a few degrees cooler than the back. While Little is snuggled cozily into my back, Big -- who rides up front with me on the kid saddle of our Workcycles Fr8 -- usually wears mittens so that he can hold onto the center of the handlebars comfortably. (The center part is metal, so it would feel quite cold to rest your bare hands there on a chilly day.) Sometimes, though, Big doesn't put his mittens on for one reason or another, and we don't want to take the time to stop and put them on.
On these days, I get to be his mittens. He puts his hands on the handlebar grips, and I place my own over them to keep the chill off. I have to admit that I don't really mind it when he forgets to put his mittens on. I sometimes wish he would forget them more. Especially as I watch him growing by leaps and bounds in his first year of elementary school, I savor these moments when I can warm his hands with mine.