John F. Russell: Steamboat presents challenges for cyclists committed to commuting

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John Russell

John Russell's sports column appears Sundays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by John here.

— On Thursday morning, commuters in our mountain town were greeted by wet roads and wintry conditions.

But chilly weather didn’t stop local cyclist Matt Pronovost from jumping on the back of his bike and making the five-mile trip to his job at Moots Cycles. He makes the trip the same way most days, and it doesn’t matter if it’s sun, rain or snow.

“It wasn’t too bad,” he said about Thursday’s wet commute. “It was relatively warm outside for the season.”

Pronovost is one of those die-hard cyclists who rides his bike just about every day.

When the sky opens up with snow, he simply changes tires hoping for a little extra grip on the slippery roads. When the temperatures start to drop, he simply throws on a few more layers to stay warm.

But the idea of beating the weather with his Subaru rarely crosses his mind. His reason for riding his bike might surprise more than a few people.

“I’m lazy,” Pronovost said. “I don’t want to clean the snow off my car and warm it up just to get to work.”

No, he would rather grab his road bike, brave the conditions and log about five miles when most of us are sipping on our first cup of coffee. Talk about lazy.

The guy doesn’t seem to care that his choice to ride means no windshield to deflect the splashes from passing cars or that there is no cup holder to cradle his beverage or that he can’t flip a switch to turn on the heat during chilly mornings.

Personally, I admire Pronovost and the many other cyclists in Steamboat Springs who have abandoned their cars and opted to ride their bikes to work.

This isn’t a lifestyle for everyone, and the commitment isn’t always easy to follow.

We all have busy schedules, more than a few of us have to cart our children across town and others need their cars to do their job each day.

But for those who care and those who choose to make commuting on their bikes a daily decision, my hat is off to you.

For those who keep pedaling your bikes in the winter, I have an entirely different level of respect.

This group has made it a choice to ride a bike to work no matter what’s happening outside.

They ride their bikes when it’s cold, when it’s wet and when it’s dark outside. Instead of viewing those things as a roadblock, cyclists like Pronovost choose to see those things as a challenge or maybe an inconvenience.

Sure, the thought that these people are crazy has crossed my mind more than once when I see them pedaling along the road on a snowy day. I feel sorry when I see an SUV in front of me throw a wave of slush and water in a cyclist's direction.

To me, it seems more than a little inconvenient, but for them, it's just the start of another workday.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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