Saturday, January 14, 2017

Back to work

It was with a sinking heart that I looked at the forecast for Monday, January 9th -- the first day of our winter session. 

Minus 30 windchill. Three to seven centimeters of snow. 

I considered taking the bus instead of my usual park and ride (my bike) commute, but the bus from Spruce Grove to Edmonton isn't exactly a dream come true either, so I chose the bike.

I parked in Crestwood and rode to work without a great deal of difficulty. I must admit, I did use sidewalks in places. If the city ever decides to do proper snow removal, sidewalk riding in winter will not be necessary, but until then I will just have to squash down those feelings of shame and ride with confidence on the sidewalks. I have a speech all ready to go in case I get stopped by a cop with nothing better to do than bother people riding bikes on the sidewalk.

As I said, the morning ride was not bad. I wore gore-tex mitts that I "borrowed" from my third son, along with wool gloves, and I didn't even need hand warmers. 

102 Avenue Multi-use Trail a.k.a. "bike path"

The ride back to the car after work was another story. Normally it takes me less than half an hour, but this time it took almost an hour. I had to walk my bike a good part of the way, through ankle-deep loose snow. (see photo on left)

I was just thankful I had parked in Crestwood and not Glenwood, where I park when the weather is good.

This bridge is troubled waters, so to speak, for cyclists and pedestrians

Tuesday I took the bus, figuring the streets and shared pathways would probably not be cleared yet. 

Wednesday, I rode again. And again, the ride to work was pretty decent. I tried 102 Avenue, and except for the piles of loose snow here and there along the way, that was okay. And a tailwind of 30-50 km/hour is always nice. It was also quite a bit warmer than the previous two days. Ah, but on the way home, that same lovely tailwind was a headwind. And by that time, there was drifted snow in places, making that ride colder and a little less pleasant.

As always, though, I arrived at the car feeling good about the ride.

Thursday, we were back to minus 30 -- or more. Some of the reports said minus 35 to 40. I parked in Glenora, near the ravine this time, feeling uncertain about the cold and the drifted snow. This was a good decision. I used handwarmers inside the mittens, but by the time I got to work, my thumbs were feeling it. I wore my balaclava and my big warm scarf, so my face was OK, but I don't know how it would have been to ride much farther. This time the wind was from the east, so I had the headwind riding to work and a bit of a tailwind most of the way back to the car. And thus ends another week on the bike. 

With warmer days in the forecast and increasing hours of daylight, I'm anticipating some good rides ahead. Now, if only the city would decide to maintain the roads... Maybe someday.