Thursday, January 17, 2008

Riding in the Deep Freeze

For those still anxiously awaiting pictures of my winter ride, sorry. It's six freakin' degrees out there (yep, that's Farenheit, folks) with wind chills around 20 below. And the five inches of powder that hit us last night are now blowing sideways. I'm not even going to the garage on a night like this, much less taking the time to pose my trusty steed in front of the garage door as required by the Universal Law of Amateur Bicycle Photography.

The bike itself is decidedly normal, just my Redline fixed-gear with studded tires and a few other commuter tweaks. The saddlebag's gone to make room for another rear blinker, and I've added one LED headlight to my bars, another to my helmet. I considered lowering my usual 38x15 gearing by liberating a 34-tooth ring from another bike, but it just hasn't seemed worth the hassle so far. Just add a slathering of wet lube to the chain, and off we go!

Until today, the riding was great. There's nothing quite like the mental disconnect of actually seeking out glare ice because your tires hook up to it better than they do on snow. On a local trail, a guy going the opposite direction warned me that I was headed for an icy stretch where he'd just gone down -- um, genius, what exactly did you expect on 700x23 slicks? I took great pleasure in rolling right across the 100-or-so yards of ice sheet with nary a slip.

Note, however, that I said "until today." I don't care what tires you're running, five inches of unplowed, fluffy powder is ugly. And Iowa drivers (bless 'em!) act like they were born and raised in the tropics every time it snows, whether it's the first one in November or the last straggler in late March: "What is this strange white substance that falls from the sky? Perhaps I should jam on my brakes or swerve -- or maybe both -- to get a better look at it!" C'mon, folks... aren't you FROM here? Snow was not invented yesterday!

1 comment:

toddvc said...

No. 1, I am glad I live here in Kentucky, and not there! It was pretty mild today in Lexington.

No. 2, if you think drivers THERE are terrible in snow, you should see the drivers HERE -- not just when it snows (they might have an excuse, since it happens only a couple of times a year), but even when it RAINS.

Any sort of precipitation from the sky causes a suspension of motor skills (both kinds), it seems.