Bikers, runners brave the cold

Nafziger, Yost, Gillette among those who will bike or run in very cold weather.

Posted on Jan. 8, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 8, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.

GOSHEN — Just because the temperatures are below zero, some folks see no reason to put their bicycle away.

Count John Nafziger among those who keeps on pedaling even in the ice and snow.

“I ride just about all the time,” says Nafziger. “I think this is the coldest I’ve ever ridden in.”

Nafziger, bundled up and wearing goggles and three pairs of gloves and with studded tires on his bike, also rode the 3 miles to his job in the IT department at Everence in Goshen the first two days of this work week despite mercury and wind-chill factors well below zero.

While many people in Goshen bike to work in warmer climes, Nafziger was a rare sight on his route.

“I didn’t see anybody this morning,” said Nafziger of his Tuesday, Jan. 7, commute. “There are three people (at Everence) who ride regularly.

“The rest of them aren’t quite as crazy as me.”

Nafziger says he was inspired to brave the cold after reading the book, “Cycling Home From Siberia,” by Rob Lilwall, in which he learned about a man who traveled through minus-40 temps.

“If he can do it, I can do minus-10,” says Nafziger, who enjoys the biking benefits of his own physical and mental health and the impact on the environment.

Besides being a bike guy, Nafziger is a numbers guy.

The 61-year-old Goshen resident can tell you exactly how many miles he rode in 2013 — it was 2,318 — and how many times he rode his bike to work. That figure was 226.

In 2000, Nafziger made it a goal to ride at least 2,000 miles a year and kept raising his goal until he hit a high of 4,103 in 2012 then decided to back off.

It turns out Nafziger is not the only Goshen resident on a bike in these frigid conditions.

Don Yost makes the 12-minute trek to Maple City Health Care Center. He rode to work Monday then accepted a ride to a training session on the other side of town Tuesday.

“You have to dress for it,” says Yost, 63.

Yost’s winter travels have an added twist.

At his wife’s insistence after a few spills, Yost put extra wheels (he calls them outriggers) on his old 10-speed.

“It keeps the bike upright,” says Yost. “I enjoy being outside. I work inside all day. I like the idea of not being dependent on a car.”

Runners train in the cold, too.

Justin Gillette, a Goshen resident preparing for a marathon this weekend in Mobile, Ala., and another to follow in The Bahamas, decided to stay off the streets in the extreme cold.

“For me, it’s always positives,” says Gillette. “I don’t see any gains for fitness or confidence.

“You’ve got to be smart about this.”

That’s not to say Gillette will not run in the cold.

Throughout the winter, he will often find himself running past the thermometer at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home and try to run more miles than the temperature. If it reads 10 degrees, then Gillette runs more than 10 miles.

What if it reads 25 degrees?

“I’m not that strict,” says Gillette. “Sometimes I go by feel. Sometimes I go by time.”


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