Outside is Possible


by Carolyn Johnson


Photo by Chris McIntosh


We can't lift the curtain on adventure season without mentioning what just happened. Boston has had a historic, soul-crushing, fitness-killing, toe-numbing, roof-collapsingly cold winter. We fought snowstorms with fun adventure rides in the snow! Winter dumped more snow on us. We rode our bikes inside -- including first-time successful trainer rides on Inside Ride rollers! Our sense of achievement and hope was rewarded with more snow. We shipped our bikes south hoping for a fun gravel ride. A historic blizzard turned trails into a dangerous ice luge.



Photo by Chris McIntosh


We reach a switchbacking suburban road that has a punishing 15% grade. It's brief, yes. But it's also still very early in the season. 


All of which is why, when we saw a sunny Sunday with a high in the upper 30s looming in the forecast, we were all so very ready to ride outside. The idea that bike rides would ever happen again had begun to feel like a trick our imaginations were playing on us. But after months of feeling trapped by absurd weather, we're even more excited than usual to make the most of every single day of adventure this year. We're so lucky to have the generous support of our sponsors, especially Cuppow, Trade, and Pedro's again, giving us the faith, the fuel, and the essential bike cleaning supplies after this grindingly dirty season.



Photo by Milica Wren


We decided to ease into the first real ride of the season by seeking out all the hills in the vicinity, borrowing a route designed by Pamela Blalock. We convened at Darcey's house and then climbed to the Arlington water tower. And down. Up a different hill. Down again.



Photo by Milica Wren


At some point, we reached a switchbacking suburban road that has a punishing 15% grade. It's brief, yes. But it's also still very early in the season. After a few more hills, we saw one that we had skipped and backtracked to give it a try. It was an absurd and comical wall and the broken up pavement, a turning car, and a man warning us about the road forced us to lose momentum. We pushed our bikes up the last bit.



Photo by Milica Wren 


This ride didn't venture far from home. The scenery wasn't much to look at. That wasn't the point. These aren't the long, distractingly beautiful climbs of Vermont or meditative mountain passes. They are the punchy, suburban climbs that mean we'll be better prepared for our summer adventures. Oh, and the other reason to ride: adventure sustenance, in the form of delicious, garlicky hand-pulled noodles.



Photo by Milica Wren


By the time we were done with lunch, the temperature had climbed to an unimpressive 41 degrees. Still, the sun felt surprisingly warm. My legs had that going-to-be-sore later twinge. We were riding together really well -- down to groaning in unison when we saw the next hill looming in front of us. It felt like we had finally escaped winter's trap.



Photo by Milica Wren

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