ICICLES: Frozen Sticks of Beauty? Or Winter’s Army of Ninja Killers? (An Essay By Storm Chaser Greg)

Words of Introduction

Hi folks, Storm Chaser Greg here. I’m pleased to be your guest-writer today, because ICICLES are a very important subject and I believe nobody is more qualified to tell you about them than I am.

Let me start with the question of whether icicles are symbols of winter beauty, or ice-cold assassins. The answer is BOTH.

Certainly nobody can look at those clear, crystalline shafts of ice and not be mesmerized by their glory. Yet, like one of Homer’s Sirens, an icicle’s attractiveness is a huge part of its danger.

If your parents were like my parents, Storm Chaser Ron & Storm Chaser Ann, they probably warned you to never stand underneath an icicle because it can spontaneously break away from the roof, fall at a high rate of speed, and pierce your skull.

My goal today is to demonstrate both the yin and the yang of icicle reality. I hope you learn from my experience.

Exploring the Icicles of MY Town

This year’s winter has not been a particularly good one for icicle viewing. Optimal icicle conditions require large amounts of snow accumulation on rooftops. Daytime sunshine then melts some of the snow which flows down to the eaves. When cold evening temperatures re-freeze the melted snow, ice dams form. The next morning, you can literally watch icicles form and grow in both length and volume.

Two winters ago, well, THAT was one helluva great icicle season. It was like the third snowiest winter of all time in Minnesota. I saw icicles that extended from roof to ground. I saw icicles that probably weighed more than 300 lbs.

I’ve given up on the hope of such a repeat this year. I just went out to find what I could find.

This house has a few decent icicles.

This is one of the most ghostly icicles I’ve ever seen. I think the dude might have a leaky outdoor faucet.

One thing is for sure: icicles can form in other places besides eaves and leaky faucets. Always look up when riding your bike under a tree. It could save your life.

This house has icicles hanging off of two levels. Impressive.

Stairway icicles

Icicle Safety

So far I’ve been concentrating on the beauty aspect of icicles, but it’s time to delve into safety and accident prevention. Please follow these guidelines:

ALWAYS take extreme care when you ride your bike with an icicle in your hand. A fall could result in an icicle in your heart.

And never EVER ride with an icicle pointed at your eyeball.

Things didn’t end so well for me after pulling down that thick icicle. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to help save other people’s lives.

As you can see, that thick chunk of icicle knocked me unconscious. I lost all sense of time. I don’t know HOW long I laid there in the snow with my body temperature falling and frostbite setting in.

Thank goodness, when I woke up I had the presence of mind to capture my attacker, throw it into my pannier, and bring assault charges at the police station.

I rode home after that. I was not pleased that the police chief didn’t take my unfortunate situation seriously. He kicked me off the property with a warning to never stand underneath icicles.

One thing I was pretty sure of is that icicles, like lightning, never strike twice. I believed I was immune to icicle attacks. I could not have been more wrong.

I got cocky and rode under some icicles.

They attacked me from all directions. THERE WAS BLOOD.

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.

6 response to "ICICLES: Frozen Sticks of Beauty? Or Winter’s Army of Ninja Killers? (An Essay By Storm Chaser Greg)"

  1. By: Scooter Posted: January 29, 2021

    Hey, you read my mind, Greg! How did you know what next month’s challenge theme was going to be?

    • By: gregblood Posted: January 29, 2021

      I have developed the ability to foresee the themes of your monthly challenges. Don’t be afraid. Don’t adjust the dial on your television. This is the Twilight Zone.

  2. By: NancyG Posted: January 29, 2021

    Just what I was thinking about your post here meeting the challenge for February ;’-). Nice post but oh those hazards are hazardous!

  3. By: Suzanne Posted: January 29, 2021

    Yikes, icicle attacks! Not a post for sensitive souls like me. Thankfully for the time being we are out of danger here in Munich. Wind, rain and temps around 48° have lest few traces of snow and ice – except on some paths where the ice is more treacherous than icicles. Water on ice is definitely to be avoided. I bet Storm Chaser Ron & Storm Chaser Ann would agree.

  4. By: BobinVT Posted: January 30, 2021

    When I was a kid, icicles were a favorite target for snowballs. Now that I think of it, not just when I was a kid.

  5. By: The Navigator Posted: February 1, 2021

    Thank you for your willingness to go straight into the path of danger, Storm Chaser Greg, to bring us this informative icicle post. I am sorry that it has not been a good icicle season, but it seems that even the tiny ones can be vicious. I wonder when I last saw an icicle in person….

Leave a Reply