Stage 1: Preparation
You’re smart. You know that layers are the way to go here. Normal pants and shoes will do for now, just keep that core warm. Fleece vest, windbreaker, mesh armor jacket, check. Close-fitting balaclava to go under the helmet, scarf to protect the face, helmet, check. Gloves, check. Headlamp over the helmet to combat the early morning darkness and remind cars that you’re on the road, check. Time to step out of the now-sweltering heat of the house and find out that…

Stage 2: Gosh, It’s Cold
The beginnings the worst part, you think. It will get better once you’re moving.
The faster you pedal, the harder the wind whips across your exposed flesh. Your legs feel frozen in seconds, and your feet are a lost cause. You ignore them and keep pedaling. You know that it won’t take too long to reach…

Stage 3: Acclimatization
See, just because the wind feels like it’s going to freeze your eyeballs doesn’t mean that you can’t persevere. The exercise has heated up your core, and you can’t feel your legs or feet anyway, so who cares, as long as you can keep … moving … crap. That stoplight, you can never get through that stoplight cleanly, it always makes you wait for it, all the while terrified that some car’s going to come up from behind you and make a right turn in front of you, like they do. But then the light unleashes you, and you stand on the pedals and pump it for the next four blocks until you find yourself…

Stage 4: Overheating
Even though your feet, legs and face feel like chunks of ice, your torso has been covered in so many layers of insulation that you find yourself sweating. You’re torn between continuing the hustle, and possibly making yourself so sweaty that you’ll stink all day at work, and going more slowly, which will prolong reaching the best part of the journey…

Stage 5: Thawing
You’ve made it to the office. After peeling off all of those layers, you fix yourself a cup of hot tea, and tuck your legs under your desk with the heater turned up full blast. You’ve earned it.

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