Sunday, September 9, 2012

Summer in the City

"Are we rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell?"*

Last weekend marked the unofficial end of another summer. For some, it signals blessed relief from the heat, a visit to SNIAGRAB (the yearly snow-sport sale at Sports Authority in Denver, held on Labor Day weekend for the last 57 years) and one last visit to the Farmer's Market for roasted Hatch peppers. For others....

I glance at the mountain bike I ride at work and sigh. We have passed the end of our "rotation," the four months my summer team spends together. We said good bye to some members, and greeted new ones. I prepared for the inevitable moment I set the bike aside because of snow and cold. But, not without a fight.

I, and a few others, find a way to extend the riding season by taking advantage of Denver's often mild winters, making sound uniform choices and practicing advanced denial skills. "It's snowing? Yeah, but it's only sticking in the grass!" Never give up, never surrender. Deploy the winter gear!

Arm warmers - ingenious devices to get a patrol officer through the morning chill. Elastic, lightweight, arm's length and warm, they turn the summer short-sleeved jersey into a long-sleeved shirt. After the sun comes up they are easily removed.

Full-fingered gloves - nothing like fumbling for the radio on a cold morning, fingers frozen into ten icicles. Padded cycling gloves marginally change how one grips the pistol (practice!), but dramatically improves command presence (not shaking uncontrollably and dropping the pen while writing out a contact card).

Skull cap - black, lightweight, fits comfortably under the helmet but does not interfere with the radio earpiece. Instantly turns a well-coiffed look into hat hair, so the fastidious need not apply. In reality - a badge of honor.

Winter coat - stylish, vented, lightweight and highly sought-after. No longer issued (who would want to cycle in the winter?) so an officer leaving the department gets hit up for his or hers. With some kind of fleece pullover underneath (not regulation) it becomes a winter coat good down to 15 degrees. The rest of me may not be good, but core temps stay toasty.

And snows. In Denver, storms dropping a foot or more visit us regularly. The accumulation does not remain long, except for those places that get little or no direct sunshine. Black ice!

Once winter sets in for good.... March is just around the corner!

*"Are the Good Times Really Over," Merle Haggard, Big City, 1982.


  1. Necessity is the mother of invention. But I have a question for you...what is your motivation?

    1. LOL!! At least I'm serious about the craft!

  2. That is dedication... and a bit of insanity. LOL I guess that's kind of how I am about swimming. (g) Of course, it doesn't snow in So Cal, but the rare times we've had thunderstorms, you'll see the hardcore swimmers trying to wait it out and grumbling. (g) My favorite days are when it rains because there are so few people in the pool.


    1. I prefer to believe I am both passionate and committed. Or should be committed. The swimming thing I totally understand - we went swimming once in the Carib during a rainstorm, because we were the only ones out there!

  3. Enjoyed your post Jim! Sounds even more brutal then august in Florida =)

    1. Thank you, Terri. Oh, we've done the brutal summer thing, too. An officer and I rode one day until we couldn't stand it anymore. Looked at out iPhones - 100 degrees! Gotta love Colorado.