Thursday, November 13, 2014

Snow Day!

What a difference a day makes!  Twenty-four little hours...

The forecasters and their tools have become much better in my lifetime.  For most of the (cold but sunny) week, they've been telling us to expect a couple inches of snow today.  As I bicycled into the office this morning, I could feel a few little flakes spittin'.  At goin' home time, there was an accumulation of an inch or two, just like the man said.

Office colleagues, as always, were horrified at the notion of bicycling in the snow.  "You're riding your bike?!!?"  And as always, I tried to reassure them that as long as the other roadway users were driving appropriately for the conditions, I'd be just fine.  In fact... I detoured several miles out of the most direct path to enjoy the unique treat that is riding in freshly-fallen snow.

Once you get away from the traffic noise, the quiet is something special.  The snow acts as a sound-deadener.  The bike tires make a slight crunching sound... off in the distance comes the occasional enthusiastic honking of a dozen or fifty Canada geese.  (I wish I understood goose - is it happy sound?  Or is it unhappy?  Are they encouraging one another, or complaining to one another?)  The occasional rippling of river rapids.  At one point a mommy came jogging by, with a pretty little princess pulled behind on a sled.  The princess was obviously very happy.


Trade this, for the climate-controlled comfort of a "cage"?  I think not!!

(NOTE!  I try to acknowledge and respect the damage that a 4000-pound steel missile could inflict on me!  The first snow day is always a godsend for the body shops, and if they can smash and crash one another, imagine the squish they could put on a soft-on-the-outside bike rider!  When it's slippery, I consciously avoid the heavily-traveled thoroughfares, choosing the protected bike/pedestrian facilities and side streets whenever they are available.)


Bikeboy said...

UPDATE! It snowed lightly all night, and this morning there was 6 inches of snow on the ground. Every school in the area was closed. (We did NOT have "snow days" for 6 inches of snow when I was a kid... I can remember playing on the playground, in Boise, in knee-deep snow. Not often, but a time or two.)

And (of course) the weather was the only story in the news! "If you can, stay home today - it's treacherous out there!"

So I took the Bonnie seat off the beater bike and rode it in. When the snow is 6 inches deep, navigation is fine in the untouched snow and in the well-packed snow. Anything in between is dicey, because your bike tires can't decide whether to float on top or carve in, and you experience sudden and unanticipated changes in direction and traction quality. I retraced my route from last night, using mostly side streets and bike/pedestrian path (Greenbelt) and arrived at the office no problemo. I was glad that I paid attention when the guy said "expect your commute to take at least twice as long as usual." That was my experience.

Clancy Anderson said...

I rode on my alternative route today and it was not too bad. I put my foot down about 5 times do to those sudden carves.