LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along
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.