A word my wife spoke not long before we parted ways on the north side of Iuka kept rattling around my head on the bicycle ride back into Pratt on Monday night. Idiotic. My wife had opted to loop back to Highway 281 and head home, rather than to continue riding with me north and […]

A word my wife spoke not long before we parted ways on the north side of Iuka kept rattling around my head on the bicycle ride back into Pratt on Monday night.
Idiotic.
My wife had opted to loop back to Highway 281 and head home, rather than to continue riding with me north and east of Iuka to a turnaround point we call the 'evergreen rest area.'
She would be there well ahead of me, in a warm house where she could thaw out, whereas I was miles from home with very cold feet. That's the hardest part of winter riding: even with shoe covers and wool socks on, feet attached to metal petals simply turn below a certain temperature.
Idiotic or fun? Sometimes there's a thin line between these two adjectives, particularly in the winter. Dark thoughts entered my mind, at times, on the return trip. 'What if I blow a tire?' That could lead to a case of frostbite, simply in the amount of time it might take to put in a new tube and fill it up with the mini hand pump. Or, even worse, I could crash the bike and end up lying on the ground in the freezing cold until a motorist is bold enough to stop and see what the flashing red light and headlight pointing at the ground are all about.
It was almost worth it though, cold feet and all, just to ride those five or so miles from Iuka back home on 281 with stout tail wind.
In retrospect, it was a bit of idiotic fun, this ride that started with a 25 degree drop in temperature with bone-chilling 23 degrees at its end, not to mention that north wind. Two bonuses were hearing and seeing a large flock Sandhill cranes, north of Iuka on the return trip, and not getting sprayed by a skunk foraging along the roadside on the way out.