Monday, March 18, 2013

Brown Sugar

Not sure what compelled me to go out riding my bike in a blizzard today. OK, “blizzard” might be a slight overstatement. But it was snowing with wind gusts of up to 35mph and a zero degree wind-chill, the combination of which makes it borderline justifiable to stay home from work in Minnesota, regardless of your form of transportation. It’s probably because I didn’t ride at all last week and I have been itching to get out, and partly in defiance of the wintery March we are experiencing that I made the goal on Friday to ride every day this week, even if it is not very far. That was before I heard that the weather would be dicey today. To add insult to injury, I remember St. Patrick’s Day being a record 80 degrees last year; it’s making this snowy March every bit harder to bear.

I thought it would be okay, that the studded tires I put on my bike would give me a little more push… and they do in certain terrains. I feel more confident on the partially plowed roads and on the more icy packed snow. But I am missing my fatter tires with the deep tread when I get into the “brown sugar” snow that I so love to ride in. It’s dense, wet snow mixed with road-sand and salt and it really does feel and look like you could be riding through real brown sugar. On another day I would go looking for the stuff just for the fun of plowing through it and feeling it kick up onto my back.

Took cover from the wind crossing I-94
Today it is plentiful though (no need to search), but the tires I’ve got on my bike now don’t like it as much. I’m having to ride slow and put my foot down to stabilize myself at times and to slow going down the big hills around the capitol building. Brown sugar likes to clog my breaks and make them less responsive.

But it was fun to get out. The best was hearing the zap as I passed the Dero Zap station on Capitol Hill. For some reason I get satisfaction from marking another day in the saddle. Last month, for riding on some of the coldest days of the year I received tickets to the Minnesota Home and Garden Show from St. Paul Smart Trips, which we were able to attend a couple of weeks ago. It was so nice to get out and do something different on a weekend and fantasize about summer gardening and other projects around the house.

I wonder if Smart Trips will have a reward for near-blizzard riders this month. We’ll see. It’s not that I don’t reap the rewards of riding on its own; It’s just good fun to ride. But the little extra incentive is always welcome on a day like today.

This is about what I looked like on my bike today.
Andy Singer does these fun illustrations about bike riding.
Got a booklet of them at the St. Paul Transportation Summit.

Was done snowing on the way home. Lots of wind though. Stopped off for a snowbank shot.

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