Back to the Good Times

I am so, so sorry for my last Cycle365 post. It’s not my nature to be such a negative, woe-is-me, crybaby. Usually I can put a positive spin on ANYTHING — even hazards — but for some reason the impossibility of a bike ride sent me over the edge. Had I been able to CHOOSE not to go out in that snow, I probably would have been fine. I didn’t like that the road conditions had the upper hand and that’s what sent me into a state of bad, self-pitying poetry writing.

Well, all that is behind me. A new day has dawned. The roads have been plowed. I can ride my bike. The snow plows have “Made Greg Great Again.”

I made this video a few hours after my last post. I wasn’t on my bike, but the plow brought hope AND fear. I can’t emphasize enough that if you ever see one of these things coming up behind you while riding your bike, GET OFF THE ROAD IMMEDIATELY. As the typographical error in the title of this video suggests, “it can kills cyclists.”

Just because I CAN ride my bike today doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll WANT to ride my bike today. MY Town’s relatively nice December and January has transformed into a pretty bad February so far. Yes, the roads have been plowed, but the temperatures have plummeted. When I got up this morning, it was -15 degrees (F) and we’ll be in a deep freeze for the rest of the week.

Heck yeah I’ll be going for a ride now that it has warmed up to -8. “Pedal through the pandemic” is one of my themes. “Ride through the cold” is another one. In fact, I better get out there before it warms up to today’s high of -1.

Before I could get started, I had to tune into Storm Chaser Greg’s report on the weather conditions. His histrionics are the best in the weather reporting industry. It looks like fog is the horrible hazard of the day.

The Marathon Petroleum Refinery, fifteen miles away, must be using a much bigger pot of boiling water to create that big cloud.

Contrary to what Storm Chaser Greg says, the hard-packed snow is probably a bigger hazard than a few puffy clouds. To be sure, the hard-packed snow is slippery, but with care you can ride on it without getting stuck every ten feet.

But the real hazard is the wind chill. I’m well insulated from head-to-toe, but in the minute or so it took to set the timer for this picture, my right hand was already freezing.

Whizzing by with snow pants on legs, two pairs of socks and waterproof hiking shoes on feet, t-shirt and sweater and hooded sweatshirt and down jacket on torso, wool cap and down hood on head.

Pedal through the pandemic.

My ride was less than an hour long, and that includes the time involved in taking pictures. At least it was a ride though. There were a few minor hazards, but at least I didn’t have to deal with bush fires, snakes, dinosaurs, the Hanson Brothers of trail building, ghost bikes, moss, and killer border collies.

I’m home and warm and happy now, anxiously awaiting the SuperBowl. I’m making my world-famous Asian chicken wing recipe even though nobody will be coming over to enjoy them with The Feeshko and me.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

10 response to "Back to the Good Times"

  1. By: BobinVT Posted: February 7, 2021

    I’m in total sympathy with your situation. I was so proud of myself in January riding 20 of 31 days for over 200 miles, but this month so far I have only gotten out twice because of snow and/or low temperatures. You’re a better man than I for riding in those temps. My lower limit for riding is in the high teens. I’m fine with walking in below 0 temps, but riding a bike, I just can’t keep my face and hands warm.

    • By: gregblood Posted: February 7, 2021

      Yeah, face and hands are the real problem. I do okay with mittens on the hands when I don’t stop to take pictures. But the face is a real problem even when I cinch that down hood as tight as it can get.

      • By: BobinVT Posted: February 7, 2021

        For really cold temperatures I have a pair of bulky downhill ski gloves that do ok, but shifting is really difficult. I should give mittens a try. I’ve yet to find a face covering that doesn’t instantaneously fog my glasses, and in cold enough temps that fog turns to frost.

        • By: gregblood Posted: February 7, 2021

          I’m lucky that I don’t have to wear glasses. The Feeshko has to wear pretty thick ones and hers fog up too. As for mittens, yes, they are so much warmer than the warmest of gloves.

  2. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: February 8, 2021

    Hey..We’re only getting a 16C degree minimum here on Thursday, that’s cold for a February day, I might even have to wear a jumper at night. That snow plough was a scary vehicle too.

    • By: gregblood Posted: February 8, 2021

      That’s too cold for me. I’m glad I don’t live in Perth.

      The snow plow yields for no man, whether on foot or bike. The one in the video was on it’s second pass and was going pretty slow. On the first pass, they go a lot faster and you’d better get off the road or get scraped into the snowbank. The plows will go around a parked car, but the result is not good for the car–especially if it’s a fairly heavy snowfall. Many times I’ve seen plows leave a car completely surrounded by two or three feet of heavy, heavy snow. It can take an hour of backbreaking shoveling to get your car out of that mess.

  3. By: Suzanne Posted: February 8, 2021

    There is no way I can imagine riding my bike at -15 F! How do you do it? (rhetorical question)
    How did you like the Super Bowl game? Janos stayed up to watch (1:30 a.m. our time) as he is a great fan of American football. He said the game was disappointing.

    • By: gregblood Posted: February 8, 2021

      I’m with Janos on his opinion of the Super Bowl. When I really have no stake in either team, I just hope for a close, well-contested game. This game was not that. Kudos to Janos for appreciating our version of football. It seems that’s pretty rare not only in Europe, but all over the world.

  4. By: BobinVT Posted: February 8, 2021

    So much to comment about in this post, I forgot something. Snowplows! Definitely a hazard. I always fear getting trapped in an area where I’m boxed in by guard rails on the side of the road and a snowplow is coming. Around here, when they are cleaning up, they plow right up to an inch or two from the guardrail.

    • By: gregblood Posted: February 8, 2021

      Thanks for the validation, Bob. Sometimes I worry that our Cycle365 compatriots think we’re exaggerating about our winter hazards. I agree that it would be a disaster to get trapped near a guardrail with a plow bearing down on you. (It’s bad enough having that happen in the summer when a truck hauling an Oversized Load blasts by.)

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