I spent the last week in Duluth, Minnesota. I probably can't describe with my lingering California accent can quite how cold it was. Suffice it to say: Dude. It was gnarly cold.
I've been spending a little chunk of winter in Duluth every year for the past ten years or so (one of the many benefits of marrying a Minnesotan) and I typically have the same internal monologue.
Natalie: Wow. Snow is so beautiful! I bet I could live here...
Natalie: But you can't really bike here in the winter.
N: But you can cross country ski, snow shoe, and get all Nordic!
N: You get awfully grumpy when your toes get cold.
N: Buck up! You know you've always wanted a pair of moon boots.
N: But what about your bikes?
N: Yeah, you're right. I'll never leave Portland.
This last trip was different, though. I saw WAY more bikes. A Litespeed (unlocked?!) outside the food co-op, a cargo bike parked downtown, and lots of fat tires out on the trails. I went for a favorite run in Hartley Field and saw so many fat, happy tracks in the snow that I felt a certain tug at my heart. I could love these trails, not more, but in a different way on a bike. I could bike here. I could live here.
The known truths are relearned: there are more ways to have fun on a bike than there are days in a lifetime. I could live anywhere and find myself at home on a bike. A Portland girl can always vacation in moon boots.