The Big Empty (Empty of Anything Meaningful That Is)

Let me tell you, after seeing Storm Chaser Greg’s frightening weather report on the news this morning, I thought maybe I should skip going out for a bike ride in that stuff. There is no glory in being found in the snow, curled up in a frozen fetal position.

Even so, I still had to shovel my driveway and scrape about a quarter-inch of ice off the windshield of my car. To my neighbors, the scene might have looked a little like this:

The weather has been very weird here the last few weeks. We got the 8″ October snowstorm, followed by a couple days of temperatures 20-degrees below average, followed by six days of temperatures 25-30-degrees ABOVE average, immediately followed by yesterday when we were back to 20-degrees BELOW average — plus freezing rain — followed by last night’s snow. The weather is schizophrenic.

Anyway, while I was exerting utmost pressure on my window scraper, I looked up toward where the sun would soon be rising over the roof of my house. It was strangely beautiful, despite the ice and the 21-degree (F) temperature.

I mean, look at how the sun illuminates the ice on the tips of those tree branches. It looked like part of a magical crystal castle.

How could I not go out on my elderly mountain bike to explore more of this winter wonderland? I couldn’t not. Or could I not? Not that I could not, but I definitely couldn’t not NOT. Damn it all, I don’t care what Storm Chaser Greg said, I had to go for a bike ride.

I went inside to get layered up for the ride. As I walked toward the garage to retrieve my bike, I noticed an old friend partially covered with snow. Oh my, how he’s aged. His facial features have faded, but he still has that steadfast, rock-hard countenance.

Anybody recognize Rocko?

The first bike tracks of the day on the icy snow. I’m proud.

Hey, look! An empty golf course. Of course, the golf course didn’t have to be empty. People can, and have, played wintertime golf. They just have to use bright orange golf balls on the course, of course. It’s a coarse version of golf, of course, but it’s always nice to get out on the course.

I mainly took this picture to show more ice and snow but then, off to the distance on the right I saw something that reminded me I have a promise to keep.

A couple of weeks ago I took a picture from this same spot. I used it as an example of an empty playground. Today, it is still empty.

For privacy reasons I refuse to reveal the name, but a fellow Cycle365er said something like “PLEASE tell me you slid down that thing.” I was embarrassed to say I hadn’t slid down there since my kids were small. But I did reply that I WOULD do it again and I’d make a movie about it. Here you go, totally anonymous bicycle rider: My feature film:

Looking back up that nightmarish thrill ride.

The day’s first bike tracks in the snow. I made them on the return from my excursion back to childhood fun.

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.

9 response to "The Big Empty (Empty of Anything Meaningful That Is)"

  1. By: Suzanne Posted: November 11, 2020

    You certainly are having crazy weather! I would certainly prefer the crazy above average to the below average temperatures, though. Granted, the snow and ice are pretty to look at. All pictures and videos are welcome.

  2. By: BobinVT Posted: November 11, 2020

    One thing I especially like about your posts featuring Storm Chaser Greg is that it gives me a clue as to what our weather might be about three days hence, as things move east. We are at the tail end of the warm spell right now. So, I’m feeling duly warned. The Fargo video made me feel grateful that I have a garage to put my car in.

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 12, 2020

      Yeah, I used to have a garage for my car too. Now that space so full of junk (mostly The Feeshko’s) that there is no room for the car. So I scrape. There’s always a silver lining though: After a snowfall, I have a car-sized section of the driveway that I don’t have to shovel.

  3. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: November 11, 2020

    Please retain such white stuff up there! Although the slide video does look like 17 seconds of pure exhilaration.
    Oh, did you realize, Illinois really won the football game (if you only count the legitimate points scored.)

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 12, 2020

      I’m sorry rich, but every point counts. It’s time for you to concede.

  4. By: The Navigator Posted: November 12, 2020

    Thank you for sacrificing your hips on the jagged slide – looks like a lot of fun, but maybe more so if they hadn’t put in the speed limiting curves 🙂 I think playing on playground equipment as an adult is good for your soul. I cannot pass up a good slide or a swing with long chains.
    You are having very interesting weather for sure – my mom always “changes” her wardrobe (i.e. exchanges out the warm clothes in her drawers to summer clothes and vice versa), but you would have to have both sets out for that weather. I look forward to more stormchaser Greg posts and the icicles to come (better you than me, lol).

  5. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: November 12, 2020

    Of course I think you were way off course with that coarse description of the golf course. In due course and as a matter of course you should be coursedigated.

  6. By: NancyG Posted: November 12, 2020

    Snow is one thing —- ICE is another. You are the brave one to venture out even after those warnings from your storm chaser self. Really enjoyed your joy slide down the crunchy playground slide and your tire marks in the snow. But — as has been said — better you than me!

  7. By: Scooter Posted: November 14, 2020

    Such impressive self-restraint! I’m impressed that you went down that slide on your arse instead of your bike. Oh, wait – forget I said that. It’s a terrible idea, and PLEASE DON’T.

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