One of the perks of my employer is that they provide a secure, heated room for commuters’ bikes. The room itself could hold thirty or more bikes, but during the winter months it’s rare that you’ll find more than four salty steeds at their post. The only downside of the bike room is the garbage elevator that takes riders to the basement. Nothing starts the morning off right like the lingering stench of rotten lettuce. Oh…then there’s the rat traps. Still, it beats having to lock your bike up on the street by a mile.
The bikers that do make it to work in the winter are decidedly hardcore. There’s my buddy Marcus, a native of my hometown who urged me to start riding to work again (thanks, man). He rides a spiffy new hybrid Bianchi with a pimped out Brooks saddle. The other day I met Cynthia, a friendly woman with a well cared for Trek mountain bike.
Then there is the undisputed King of the bike commuters, Ernie. I don’t know what Ernie rides because the bike is so dirty as to render it logoless. Apparently his bike’s name is “Derek.” This information came to me via Cynthia, who, when she met Ernie for the first time, introduced Derek before he introduced himself. Next to Derek is Ernie’s Frankenstein backpack. Imagine a pack that has been ripped apart and resewn together by first graders at least six hundred times and you’ll start to get an idea of how well worn it is.
This week we’re just happy to be dealing with temps slightly above zero. It’s funny how relative temperature is. 10 degrees seems almost balmy after -20. Even though I didn’t bike into work at all last week during the horrible freeze, I’ll bet Ernie and Derek did.
Maybe my bike needs a name too? It will be hard to beat a good name like Derek.