For a few years now, I have tried to get a ride in on New Year's Day. IT just seems to set the right tone for the year if I can actually ride on the first day. It doesn't really matter how far or how long, as much as the fact that I do it. In the northeast, that can be an epic adventure depending on the weather and the state of the ground. 1/1/11 was an interesting mix. The weather was relatively warm at almost 40 degrees when I left. However, we have just recovered from the massive east coast storm, and the roads were highly variable.
I live on the border of two counties. One uses salt to combat snow, while the other uses gravel/sand. Of course, the preferred roads are in the gravel/sand county. Regardless, I headed out for a spin around some of my favorite local roads. The sun was shining, and the air was crisp. It's funny how weeks of sub-zero temperatures make 40 seem tropical. The main roads were clear, but the secondary roads were dangerous in the corners, and icy at the edges of the road. Still it was a great few hours of riding given that it had been weeks since I was on a bike.
It is always interesting to see the transition between seasons for some of the points along your favorite routes. Winter can be a great time to ride if the roads are safe, and you can stay warm. I am newly equipped with a heated jacket, so I hope that the roads will be decent enough this winter to ride more than I usually do.