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Enough already!


After hibernating for most of the week between Christmas and new year’s day thanks to the Great Blizzard of 2009, I finally got back on my bike to ring out the old on new year’s eve.

I didn’t ring in the new as I had hoped; a combination of still-dicey roads and sure-to-be-drunk drivers drove me to, well, drive for the nighttime leg of my commute.

Circumstances put me back in the cage for the weekend, until Sunday I took one look at the forecast, realized it’s not getting better anytime soon and figured I’d had enough.

After spending most of the day shoveling driveways (note the plural; only one was mine), I decided I was going to ride to work Sunday afternoon — despite the couple of inches of new snow that fell overnight and a wind chill that flirted with zero.

So I bundled up and headed off down my street, slip-sliding all the way as my wife’s parting words — “You’re RIDING? Are you sure it’s smart to ride in this?” — bounced around in my stocking cap-and-helmeted (and potentially empty) head.

I almost turned around a mere two houses away and conceded defeat, but I have a bit of a stubborn streak.

I persevered, and though conditions were worse than for any ride in recent memory — it was capital-C Cold, with new snow falling and treacherous roads, at least on the lightly traveled residential streets on which I prefer to commute — it was by far the best ride of the year.

Of course, the cynical reader will note it was my first ride of the year, but that’s splitting hairs.

I lost feeling in my fingers and toes. I spent a bunch of the ride spinning my wheels, skating around despite my knobby tires and getting frequent reminders of the importance of keeping my back tire weighted.

A couple of times, I pulled over to allow cars to pass. My biggest concern riding in snow is not that I’ll go out of control; it’s that a 3,000-pound car will.

My drivetrain froze up. Slush splattered my backside.

I got to work, parked my bike and was impressed by the awesome collection of ice and slush that had collected on my bike’s downtube. (Note to the World Company’s custodial staff: Sorry for the mess. Next time I’ll clean up better before coming indoors).


Normally, it takes me 20-25 minutes to ride one way to or from work. Sunday, it took more than 45 minutes each way.

But at least I rode.


Ken Lassman 8 years, 4 months ago

Wow! Judging from your photo, you weren't the only one braving the stinging cold on two wheels--anyone end up with frostbite, frozen windpipes, cracking beards or other mishaps?

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm impressed. That is an awful long time to be riding out in the cold. My weatherbug says that it is -8 out there right now. You should tape a web-cam to your head and then we could see what you see as you ride down the streets. Viral, I guarantee you.

Kirk Larson 8 years, 4 months ago

I've been walking to work for over a week. I'd be riding if the roads were clear, but man, is it cold! My bike is parked with a plastic sheet over it waiting for a few sunny days.

fan4kufootball 8 years, 4 months ago

i guess all of us former SUV drivers had better get them big gas guzzling cars back out to prevent us from being in the ice age....so much for global warming!

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

Andrew=Nanook of the North!

good lukck and most of all please be safe!

Andrew Hartsock 8 years, 4 months ago

Doug: Actually, the bikes in the background belong to my kids. I'm afraid my snow mess spilled over onto their rides. So ... no mishaps yet. Informed: I'm with you on the trainer. But sometimes you just gotta get out. The scenery's much better. Irish: I'm afraid the only viral reaction would be nausea induced by my skatey-slidey riding and chattery teeth. gnome: Nah, I'm no Nanook. He'd never complain about the cold. I still reserve that right.

persevering_gal 8 years, 4 months ago

I agree with the enough! I want to get out there and run again without the worries of falling down and breaking something! If you need some toe and hand warmers, give me a holler! :)

Liberty275 8 years, 4 months ago

Was it climate or weather that got rid of the 500 foot deep glacier that covered what is now Lawrence at some time in the past? Now riding a bike across that would be harrowing.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

Liberty, clearly that was "climate change" that whiped the glacier off of what is now lawrence. imagine an AlGore "caveman" as in the ads and brief TV show!

yes, global warming is totally discredited now. calling it "climate change" is completely LOL: climate is constantly in flux. saying "climate change" is like saying "wet water" and we know the earth has been warmer than this in times past. the warmest year in the historical temp record once NAA got their numbers straight: 1934. declaine in temps last ten years not accounted for by the hysterians' models, "hide the decline" and cherrypicked data.

Andrew, I'm sure Nanook complained, just not in front of the trapper who got the yellow snow cones in his eyes! [note: Re Zappa].

I also suspect that the street crew and the snowburgs didn't help your visibility, or your being seen, when you're out there.
but hey, how about constructing one of those jumpsmaybe on14th street so you could get good speed going like before you get to TN street, and then you could jump your bike! you need more excitement, riiiight?

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 4 months ago

And then Gnome, Andrew could put a web cam on his helmet as he barrels down 14th, takes off like an eagle and soars over the cars on TN street. He could come down on Kentucky and he would be just a block from St. Johns should he feel the need to go in and pray.

parrothead8 8 years, 4 months ago

Andrew, I didn't ride on the same day as you, but I have a cold-weather riding story.

A few years ago in NC I went mountain biking on a really cold February day and the hydraulic lines for my disc brakes froze. I had about six miles to go when they basically quit working, much of which was downhill. It was a pretty harrowing ride at times, but there was nothing to do but ride it out.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

sorry 'Bil, all fact based, unlike your myth of global warming now shown to be based on sham science, fudged data, and flawed models that can't account for the lack of global temp increase. also I note you fail to address one of these elements in your dull-minded slur.

Irish, what a great idea, and after that bike jump speeding in the snow, well ol' Andrew just might feel like prayer! LOL.

parrothead8 8 years, 4 months ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says… all fact based, unlike your myth of global warming now shown to be based on sham science, fudged data, and flawed models that can't account for the lack of global temp increase. also I note you fail to address one of these elements in your dull-minded slur.

You think e-mails showing that 3-4 scientists fudged data disproves all the data that thousands of other scientists around the world came to independently of those guys over the last two decades? Man, you're easy to convince.

You think that because temps haven't increased dramatically over the last ten years we should ignore the dramatic temperature increase over the last 150 years? Man, talk about dull-minded.

I guess if you won't have to worry about it in your lifetime, it doesn't matter. Too bad for the grandkids.

SLOPOKE 8 years, 4 months ago

should probably think hard on it in his life time. my dog Scooter sure loves it!!

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