Saturday Commute

I have become a controversial figure.

Just before jumping into bed last night I called my boss to see what she was thinking about opening in the morning, since the weather was supposed to be severe overnight. She told me to come into work at 6:30 am.

I woke up at 4:00, ready for anything, which was good because we got another 18 inches of snow overnight. Usually, I take the dogs on a walk before leaving but there was no way their little legs could carry them through several feet of snow. Instead I shoveled out an area of yard for them to walk around in, like a snow exercise pen. At 5:00 I headed out the door.

The roads were decently clear, at least they seemed that way in comparison to yesterday! Just out of town I saw a van stuck in a snow bank, so I pulled over to ask if they needed to use a cellphone or if they wanted help pushing the vehicle out of the snow. Not to brag or anything but my brothers and I are pro vehicle rescuers. I think the combo of a 15 passenger van, circular driveway and bad plowing we experienced in childhood has something to do with that.

But the people assured me they were fine, their brother was coming to help them, so I biked on. The shoulders were still not well plowed so when visibility was good I took the lane. The good thing about lowering the pressure in my tires is increased stability, the bad thing is soft tires make biking slower and more strenuous, so it took me forever to get to work. I am going to play around with tire pressure this coming week to find a good balance between speed and safety.

I caused an uproar at work today. Many of our early morning customers are regulars and they know and frequently discuss my odd biking habits. They knew that I was biking through the winter, but now that the weather has turned wintery for real, they don’t think it is appropriate for me to be out on the roads. I am in the kitchen, of course, but the waitress told me that they were saying that every car that passes me should offer me a ride. Please don’t wish that on me! If I need a ride I have a cellphone and I will call one of the dozens of people that have offered to help me out when necessary. Although I totally appreciate any car that stops to see if I am okay, if every car did it I think I would go insane.

One guy is so concerned that he offered me an apartment close to the restaurant so I wouldn’t have to bike anymore. Even though they don’t approve of my mode of transportation it is nice to know that these guys care about my safety.

By the time I left work the skies were clear. I love cold and sunny winter afternoons right after a snowstorm, the landscape gilded with shimmering white magic. It still took me a thousand years to get home, definitely overdid lowering the pressure. A few people were out walking taking advantage of beautiful afternoon. So I earned a “Good luck”, “You’re brave” and my favorite, a snort of incredulous laughter.

Wow, what a week!

To work (10 miles)
5:00 am to 6:25 am

Weather
10F, 5 mph Southwest wind, snow

I wore
Head: balaclava, ski goggles,
Torso: two thermal undershirts, rain jacket
Hands: new winter gloves
Legs: yoga pants, thermal pants, rain pants
Feet: three pairs of socks, boots
Comments: Got a little warm, vented jacket. In spite of my torso being toasty warm, my legs grew cold, silly legs.

From work (10 miles)
2:00pm to 3:20pm

Weather
10F, 14 mph Southwest wind, 23 mph gusts

I wore
Head: balaclava, ski goggles
Torso: thermal undershirt, rain jacket
Hands: two pairs of knit gloves
Legs: yoga pants, rain pants
Feet: three pairs of socks, boots
Comments: Stayed warm except my nose found the wind chilly.

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17 thoughts on “Saturday Commute

  1. Three questions: what kind of boots do you wear? What kind of pedals do you have? What size tires are on your bike? (I am thinking of using platfrom pedals and regular hiking boots and deflating my 700×32 tires a bit.) Thx

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    • Hey rootchooper!
      I wear men’s thinsulate, waterproof hiking boots from LLBean. I don’t remember anymore why I bought men’s but they fit and my feet don’t get cold in them so I don’t care. Lately I have been wearing multiple socks with them but I was reading last night that that may cut down on circulation and actually make my feet colder so I think I will try wearing only one pair. I always carry chemical warmers in my panniers so if I do get cold I can use those to warm up.

      I have just classic platform pedals, nothing snazzy.

      Here are my tires, http://www.rei.com/product/792644/nokian-hakkapeliitta-w240-studded-tire-26-x-195

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  2. 10°F!!! Coldest that I’ve been out in this winter is ~27 on a frosty, clear morning. It was unpleasant at 1st but ok after 1/3 of the way to work. Reckon that I could go colder but not THAT cold. Excellent riding, keep going. And keep posting

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    • Thank you for the encouragement, I will continue on! When I started this journey it was with great trepidation, would I actually be able to conquer the winter? But after this week I really think I can. We shall see what happens as the temperature continues to drop.

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  3. Hi Bri. Good for you riding through winter in NY. YIkes. I’m in the very mild Seattle area so almost no snow and the rain is usually completely tolerable. Love my wool coat for staying warm and dry.

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      • It rains most days but not like down pour rain. Most of the time it’s just a mist or a sprinkle. A lot of places actually get more annual rainfall then Western Washington. We just have grey, wet skies for about 8 or 9 months out of the year.

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  4. Love reading about your biking in the snow! Since I live in an area of the country where it doesn’t snow, snow is both a novelty (when occasionally visited) and a scary-ass thing to consider experiencing on a daily basis. Continually in awe of your commitment to bike in the snow!

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