Bicycle Diaries: Penguins waddle, people pedal

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12.10.06

Penguins waddle, people pedal

It's begun ... outside my window, RIGHT NOW, I can see the first snow flurries of the season. Overnight tempratures dropped to their lowest level in six months. The Farmer's Almanac is predicting a colder, snowier October/November than usual. A new season of Chicago Bike Winter is here!

Folks are gearing up with extra layers, snow tires, mud-flaps, and weekly lube jobs. Tonight at 6 Chicago Bike Winter 2007 will meet at the Billy Goat Tavern to discuss the details and unveil the 2007 sticker I designed (above).
roll·ing
v.intr. Middle English rollen, from Old French roler, from Vulgar Latin rotulre, from Latin rotula, diminutive of rota, wheel; see ret- in Indo-European roots.
1. To move forward along a surface by revolving on an axis or by repeatedly turning over.
2. To travel or be moved on wheels or rollers: rolling down the sidewalk on their scooters.
3. To travel by a paddle wheel boat: rolling on the river.
4.
a. To travel or be carried in a vehicle.
b. To be carried on a stream: The logs rolled down the cascading river.
5.
a. To start to move or operate: The press wouldn't roll.
b. To work or succeed in a sustained way; gain momentum: The political campaign finally began to roll.
6. To proceed in time: The days rolled along.
7. To recur. Often used with around: Summer has rolled around again.
8. To move in a periodic revolution, as a planet in its orbit.
9. To turn over and over: The puppy rolled in the mud.
10. To shift the gaze usually quickly and continually: The child's eyes rolled with fright.
11. To turn around or revolve on or as if on an axis.
12. To move or advance with a rising and falling motion; undulate: The waves rolled toward shore.
13. To extend or appear to extend in gentle rises and falls: The dunes roll to the sea.
14. To move or rock from side to side: The ship pitched and rolled in heavy seas.
15. To walk with a swaying, unsteady motion.
16. To take the shape of a ball or cylinder: Yarn rolls easily.
17. To become flattened by or as if by pressure applied by a roller.
18. To make a deep, prolonged, surging sound: Thunder rolled in the distance.
19. To make a sustained trilling sound, as certain birds do.
20. To beat a drum in a continuous series of short blows.
21. To pour or flow in or as if in a continual stream: tourists rolling into the city.
22. To enjoy ample amounts: rolled in the money.
23. To assemble a marijuana or tobacco cigarette: rolled a joint.
24. To engage in rambunctious sexual activity: rolling with a cajun queen.
25. To travel by bicycle: rolling in a Winter Wonderland.
Michael Burton
announced the get-together with the following article from Chicago Bike Winter 2005.
Penguins have much to teach the urban cyclist. Unlike more fickle birds that flee to warmer climes or bears who lazily doze away the winter, penguins embrace their Antarctic habitat with style and ingenuity.

Similarly, with winter approaching, Chicago cyclists need not migrate nor hibernate.

With the proper gear and a little determination, it's simple to stay in the saddle year round. To help you follow the path of the penguin, Chicago Bike Winter is once again assembling an exciting series of events to promote all-season cycling, including classes, lots of fun rides and activist events.

Just as penguins are highly social animals that rely on one another for food and protection from predators, new all-season cyclists can take advantage of the vibrant Bike Winter social network. At Bike Winter events, veteran winter cyclists generously share advice and even give away winter gear, such as homemade balaclavas.

"The biggest challenge I faced in becoming an all-season cyclist was just deciding that it was OK," said David Sperling. "I went to a Bike Winter class and met lots of winter bikers. I learned how to dress for success in the cold by just adding a few items, such as gloves, a balaclava and a good jacket. I've been hooked ever since."

While pedaling through inclement weather requires some special precautions, Chicago seldom experiences Antarctic conditions. "Last winter, there were only 8 days in Chicago when one inch of snow or more fell," said Bob Matter, Bike Winter meteorologist. "Winter daytime temperatures are typically in the 30s or even higher. Most winter days are very pleasant for cycling."

One look at a happy penguin frolicking on the tundra or flopping into the frigid sea may make Chicago cyclists long for more snowy days. But don't worry--winter cycling inevitably provides some penguinesque moments.

"Every time I get caught in a major snowstorm I get positively gleeful," said veteran winter cyclist Gin Kilgore. "No one is going anywhere fast, but at least I am having fun slithering around on my bike. The streets are quiet, and almost clean looking. I've always admired penguins."
For more information on Chicago Bike Winter 2007 and all-season cycling, go to www.bikewinter.org/main.php. List your town’s winter cycling events on the website by @ailing toddgee at yahoo dot com for more info.

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