2014 finally began with 14 miles.

It had been too long, at least from my perspective. Bikejournal.com indicated my last ride had been on December 21. Then, a combination of holiday celebrations—followed by illness, interspersed with snow showers and poor riding conditions—had all combined to keep me off of the bicycle. Until tonight.

Conditions were promising, if still a bit mushy in town: temperatures above freezing, little to no wind, and a thumbs up from Doc Donnenwerth (annual visit, earlier in the day) to ride as my week plus illness seemed to be at its tail end.

It felt good to pull on the two winter cycling jerseys, heavy coat, riding tights with snow pants, balaclava and helmet liner, lobster-claw gloves, and then turn on all the lights.

Just like seeing an old friend after an absence, it was good to be reunited with the bicycle.

Another good omen were two signs along 6th Street I hadn’t noticed before, proclaiming, Bike Route. Hats off to the Pratt Health Coalition for a step, rather pedal, in the right direction.

The evening proved not to disappoint. After leaving town, the roads were mostly dry, with a few patches of snow/ice/mush around the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake, which is currently beautiful in its half-frozen, calm state. Things weren’t as quiet when I made a second lap around the lake 20 or so minute later: a flock of Canada geese had landed on its frozen surface, lifting and honking in flight as my mountain bike tires crunched over the half frozen snow.

All in all, it was good to spin the wheels and make a bikejournal.com entry appropriate for the New Year: 14 miles.