Big Chill

Big Chill

We've had a good run of weather this fall and early winter. When I look at the weather app on my phone and see 30 to 35 degrees on a Tuesday--or any other day I have off--I know it's going to be a good day on the bike.

Riding this time of year does take a little different mindset. I start pedaling later in the day and, of course, wear more layers of clothing.

There's something spiritual about the cold. Maybe it's the angle sunlight hits the earth or the absence of agribusiness. Time slows down. Two hours seems longer. On a solo ride, just blissing out to nature, I feel like I'm the only person around. After awhile, my head clears of all the crap life has been throwing in the way.


I wish the water in my bottle was this cold in the summer.

I'm looking to stay fit too. This carcass is about to hit the half-century mark. I'd don't want to be the guy 30-year-olds have for lunch. That day will come, but I'm making sure it doesn't come too soon.

Winter riding makes everything that comes after that much better: the hot bath, the soup or whatever went into the crockpot to simmer hours ago, my wife's homemade bread (and it's still warm), a cup of red tea or Zion coffee, Alwan and Son's fried turkey breast, a Horsey Beef sandwhich from Pottstown. I love food as much as riding. 

Then there's curling up in the covers to watch a James Bond movie with my wife, son and dog, moving from an endorphin high to drifting into a nap, waking up to dinner if it's Sunday, enjoying the honey goodness of a Drambuie or Barenjager.

Life is good on winter ride days. I'm passionate about living in Peoria, its rich cycling past, the riding and the wonderful family business we have.

How could it get any better? Well, I'd love some company on a ride. You know where to find me.

Just keep in mind I'm not getting any younger.



Robert is the head bicycle mechanic here inside Bushwhacker. His knowledge of parts both past and present paired with his uncanny ability to lead you on a two-hour ride over cobbled roads, up back country hills, around corners with gravel so loose you'll swear under your breath and then at him when he darts through them with the grace and agility of a cheetah on the prowl, will make you realized he is a man of a unique breed. At the end a "Robert Ride" he may just let you in on a little secret, that within the terrifyingly brilliant 120 minutes spent in the saddle you never left the city he grew up in.