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cycling in the snow

December 30, 2010

winter cycling

Having just returned from our extended visit to see both of our families, I was eager to work off some of those holidays pounds and get back on my bike. We were very late to get snow this year so although I have been cycling this winter, today would mark my first ride since snow covered the ground. Fortunately, temperatures were in the mid 40s F and the day felt positively balmy, so I really could not resist running my morning errands on Nerp. I was a little nervous since the roads and sidewalks were very icey when I last saw them (before our trip), but a short ride to campus and the post office would allow me to test the road conditions without committing to too long of a ride.

Well, it was marvelous! It felt so good to be back on a bike! And the ‘hot’ temperatures made it such a pleasant ride. I stuck to well plowed neighborhood roads and hopped off to push my bike over the few icey patches I encountered. The more I rode, the more confident I felt in my ability to navigate the roads, and by the time I headed home, my nervousness had dissipated completely.

My only qualm: the above freezing temperatures caused much of the snow to melt and the roads were very wet – I need to add those fenders to Nerp ASAP. I got splashed a lot, although the large pink crate over my back tire took a lot of the brunt for me and did a nice job in shielding my back.

On campus, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many other bikes were already chained to the bike racks; clearly, others were still out there, cycling and enjoying the winter on two wheels. But no… upon closer inspection I noticed that every single bike had a little white leaflet attached to it, marking it as an abandoned bike soon to be removed. Bummer. Especially since some of those were some pretty nice bikes, making me wonder what what would compel someone to simply abandon their bike at the start of bad weather. May I suggest something crazy here: storage.

Anyway, today’s ride was just the introduction I needed to snowy cycling. As long as the roads are decently cleared, I can navigate around town for short-distance commutes and can continue to incorporate cycling into my daily routine. Success!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. imogen permalink
    December 30, 2010 21:12

    where is that gorgeous yellow bag from?

    • December 31, 2010 00:31

      It’s a vintage ‘Sears’ bag that I snatched for a dollar at a garage sale. It needed a good cleaning but I was excited about a bold yellow bag and figured that even if it didn’t clean up well, a dollar was not too much to risk on it. :)

  2. December 30, 2010 21:17

    It’s fun to see you out and about in the snow. Last winter I did the same thing and would hop off the bike in icy patches. Toward the end of the snowy season, I no longer bothered to get off, but would just slowly ride through the ice too. Maybe not the smartest thing (and I did have one very close call because I was overly confident), but it was fun to see the progression of being so afraid to ride even through a tiny bit of snow to not really caring and just riding through whatever conditions I encountered. Of course, I feel as though I’ll have to start over completely this winter, but we shall see.

  3. December 30, 2010 22:29

    Nice to have you back. :)

    That’s the best way to ease into cycling in the snow – a short ride to test the waters, no pressure. Glad to see Nerp again.

    Fun fact: I’m commenting from an airplane to San Diego. Apparently, some Southwest planes now have Wi-Fi.

    • December 31, 2010 00:32

      How awesome about the wifi! Hope you had a good flight and are having a great holiday break!

  4. December 30, 2010 23:48

    Glad you managed a nice winter ride. I’m sad about the abandoned bikes though : (

  5. December 30, 2010 23:59

    Welcome back S. Our blogosphere missed your bike tales. Lovely yellow bag! Happy New Year!

  6. December 31, 2010 00:14

    How nice! It was been sunny these past few days on the east coast after our massive blizzard, and I’ve been back on my bike.

  7. December 31, 2010 01:44

    That coat and bag are really wonderful and compliment on another quite well. Both look like they would provide you great added visibility.

    You will definitely prefer winter riding with fenders. I added Planet Bike fenders to my Specialized Expedition when I first bought it. An inexpensive but invaluable investment.

  8. dedhed permalink
    January 1, 2011 00:56

    Happy New Year!
    Weather was so unseasonable today, 50F!!, snow all gone. I decided I HAD to get the bike out after a few weeks off. I rode to the doctor today and it was so nice I decided to see how the path was after. Ended up riding 15 miles and only one icy spot I had to walk the bike. Of course the bike was filthy when I got done so I had to break out the hose and clean it off afterward.

    I’m assuming the “abandoned” bikes are students who don’t have room to store them or would rather not look at them in their room for the winter. Sounds like you need to talk to the parking division and see how they “dispose” of the impounded bikes. Might be a reasonable way to keep the N+1 rule in effect.


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