My bike makes terrible noises whenever I shift.

That wasn’t a problem back when I rode a bike that made terrible noises all the time. They had a tendency to drown each other out in a cacophony of semi-brokenness that never really changed, so I never really had to worry about any of them.

This year, though, I started with a new bike that was quiet all the time, so now I have to worry when it makes noises. The jury’s still out on whether the performance upgrades are worth the lost sleep.

Also my bike shoes are getting pretty beat up, and they smell terrible. I’m not sure how a whole family of wild pigs managed to crawl into them and die, but judging by the stench, that’s what happened.

My helmet visor is mostly broken off. So I’ve taped it back on at a jaunty, or maybe janky slant.

And my bike gloves, don’t get me started. More holes than fingers, and they smell like Indian food since I’m an idiot and spilled camp curry all over them.

But like, who even cares, right? Because ski season is just around the corner. We had plenty of good riding all summer. Now it’s time to wax skis and tell tall tales around the fire of how cool we are. Right? Plus, you wouldn’t want to risk a season-ending injury right now.

That’s why I didn’t ride my bike this morning. That’s why I sat around and scrolled through Instagram again, and then ate some cake, and scratched my butt, and told the dog to go poop in the yard, instead of putting on my helmet and riding the two blocks it takes to get to the city bike park. It’s all those super good reasons I stated above, not laziness. I’m not unmotivated right now, I’m just discerning. Or maybe I’m full of what just came out of the dog’s butt.

I woke up this weekend desperate to ride. New trails and camping in the middle of 700 high school mountain bike racers will do that to you. So I braved snowy trails and biting wind and rode my butt off all morning.

And then I rode the next day too, because that contagious youthful energy hadn’t worn off yet. But when I got home I put my bike in the garage with a sort of frustrated snort that made it incredibly clear I’d rather not look at the thing again until May.

This morning broke clear and cold. My water bottle was frozen in the truck, and as I dumped my trash my bike fell over and rang its own bell.

If life was a kids’ film I’d have taken that “ding” as a sign that my bike was lonely and needed to be ridden. Instead I remembered how terrible my curry-flavored gloves smell and went back inside to work.

At lunch the dog stole my bike shoe and charged around the house waving it. She finally ran into a door, and it went flying, only to land on my pile of bike clothes. If life was a Disney movie I’d have known she was desperate for a ride, and I would have headed out with her instead of kicking her out into the yard to chase magpies when she got restless.

Midafternoon I went looking in the cupboard for a snack, but all I could find was the Gu, gels and bars and that are specially reserved to be consumed while riding bikes. But instead of taking the hint I ate a couple of really stale corn chips and went back to mouse-clicking the day away like my life depended on it.

But now the workday’s over, and it’s time to catalog my excuses, file them carefully away for future use. It’s cold, my bike makes noises, my helmet smells bad, my riding shorts are filthy, I was skiing pow at this point last year, I don’t feel like it.

But the dog is restless again, and the light is golden and the aspens still have their leaves, and I know the dirt is tacky, and I could wear warmer gloves that don’t smell like curry, and I probably ought to get over there and get started on digging that new jump line I’ve been dreaming about.

Excuses can wait. Skiing can wait. Fall’s given us a brief respite. Get out there and ride!

Cy Whitling writes every other week on living and playing in the mountains. Contact him via

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