Beware the Rides of March

Responsible Prep for Spring Biking
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The makings of spring fever

I remember the first time it happened. I was out in the backyard walking with the heavy step of winter. All of a sudden, a deep primal urge to run made my mind go blank. I don't recall how long I ran, but I can still feel the incredible lightness that swept over me until I finally fell on my back exhausted and looked up at the sky, my breathing a roar in my ears.

"Spring fever," my mother said when I told her about it later. "It always hits this time of year."

No matter what your age, spring fever still strikes. For those of us who find its cure riding along backwoods roads and trails, spring can be the best of all seasons. The kinks in our muscles from spending too many hours curled up on the couch get a chance to work themselves out. Our minds once again wander and marvel at the rebirth of the world around us.

I was reminded of my first bout with spring fever this week as I climbed on my mountain bike and rode up the trail behind my house. After a long winter of ice, snow, and periods of suffering when it seemed more likely I would sooner become an astronaut than ever ride a mountain bike again, it felt good to make my way into the forest on two good knobby tires.

It would have been easy to forget all the winters I've seen and blindly hammer up the hill like the kid I felt inside. Biking has an amazing redemptive capacity to make us feel young again, no matter how old or out of shape our bodies are. But I controlled the urge, knowing my muscles would remind me tomorrow of what my mind would like to forget today. I also thought I heard the wind whisper,

Beware the Rides of March!

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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