The Angry Singlespeeder
By Kurt Gensheimer
I’m looking at Weather Underground right now and can’t believe my eyes. Here in the Reno/Tahoe area, barely a drop of moisture hit the ground during the months of December and January. Unless we get a deluge of biblical proportions, this winter may well go down as one of the driest on record in the Tahoe region. Meanwhile, friends in the Pacific Northwest, Utah and Colorado are posting photos on Facekook of endless pow sessions blanketed in dozens of feet of the fluffy white stuff.
Climate change? I guess it all depends on where you live. While some parts of the country are experiencing record warmth and dryness, other parts of the country are dealing with burst pipes, buried cars and frostbite. I have no idea what to make of such erratic weather patterns, but I do know that to survive in the world, one must adapt.
So while January normally means I’m on my skis ripping down some tasty chutes and bumps, instead I’m logging mega miles on my bikes, fully taking advantage of the abundant sunshine and abnormally warm 60-degree days. When life gives you warm weather and sunny days, you take them with a smile and get outside, regardless of what the weather is supposed to be. Sure, it might be one of the worst years for snow in Tahoe history, but it’s one of the best for activities like cycling. Besides, there’s really nothing I can do to change how our climate is behaving.
Harping on climate change is a waste of time. Like the old sage says, “it is what it is.” I do my part to live a sensible, low-impact lifestyle, and anything more than that is outside of my control and circle of interest. I refuse to be the climate change police. I ride my bike instead of drive as often as possible, I recycle nearly 75 percent of my waste, I purchase high efficiency appliances and do my part to minimize energy consumption. So I sleep just fine at night.
And when I hear a climate change monger go on a tirade about how we are permanently destroying the planet, I just say two words: Mount Pinatubo. Pinatubo is a giant volcano in the Philippines that erupted in 1991, the second largest volcanic eruption in the 20th Century. In addition to killing 800 people, Pinatubo released millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, altering weather patterns around the world and decreasing the average temperature on Earth for years. This was one volcano that spewed its top for only nine hours.
When I look at the power of nature and what it can do to effortlessly wipe out mankind, I stop worrying so much about topics like climate change. I live a sensible lifestyle, do my part to be responsible, and the rest can be left to people who like to debate about topics that in the grand scheme of things probably don’t matter. One giant asteroid hits this planet and we’re all vaporized in minutes. Forever. Extinct like 90 percent of every other organism that’s ever walked, crawled or slithered over the face of this planet. There’s no climate change debate when all of mankind is returned back to what Carl Sagan liked to call “star stuff.”
Sunny and dry in the middle of winter? Go for a bike ride, run or paddle. Dumping snow in May? Grab your skis. Whatever you do don’t use climate change as an excuse to sit around and bellyache about the weather.
The Angry Singlespeeder, AKA Kurt Gensheimer, is a syndicated mountain biking columnist. Questions or comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.