The ride out of Louisville was cold and blustery. As I pedaled up and out of the beautiful and protective hills that bank the Ohio river on the western side of the city, I entered flatter, more open farmland. Without tree cover, the wind intensified and cut through my gloves and shoes. Even the plastic bags and extra socks that I had pulled over my bike cleats weren’t enough to persuade the warmth to stay where I wanted it.
I stopped briefly for a snack, enjoying the relative warmth that came with avoiding the extra 15mph windchill. Looking at the map on my phone, Corydon, IN lay ahead of me only about ten miles. I decided to make a warming stop in the town, and rode on contemplating the cheapest way to warm up. Snow blanketed the gently rolling fields around me, which helped to distract me from the singing in my extremities.
I began to see more signs of civilization as I approached the small
town. First a golf course, and then some small one story shops that lined a classic main drag. I scanned the mom and pop shops, passing hardware, used books, and other window displays while I eagerly searched for a warm diner.
I rounded the corner and in front of me stood a newer building with a sign in front that read “Corydon Public Library”. I slammed to a screeching halt and parked my bike as close to the front doors as I thought acceptable. Somewhat eager to go inside, I made a quick decision to risk having my bike and all of my gear stolen in order to not have to spend time sifting through my bag in the cold for my lock. I clip clopped my way across the sidewalk and into the library, beard iced up something special, and plopped down in a padded chair. Life had rarely felt so good as I melted, both literally and figuratively, into the chair. A constant drip drip of water rolled off my beard and on to my bright yellow construction vest. While I obviously wasn’t there to check out a book, the librarians never seemed to even notice me.
I spent longer than expected in the comforting warmth, and though I knew I wasn’t going to make much progress in terms of mileage that day as dark was fast approaching, I couldn’t get myself to go. As I began to feel my spirits sink due to the rather unproductive day, and the looming freezing cold snow-camping night, a middle aged man with three children following close behind approached me in my wonderful armchair. “Is that your bike out there?” The man asked. And so began the conversation that would lead eventually to an invitation to go home with the Robertson family.