Thursday, February 3, 2011

Biking to work in 19" of snow

Having 19" of snow is unusual for this area.  We have snow, but generally not more than 6" or so.  The decision to (at least try to) continue to bike has been an interesting one.  The precipitation began on Monday night with sleet and ice then quickly turned to snow.  By the time we got up and around we had around 4-5".  We scrapped the driveway and sidewalk then got mountain bikes out of the shed and headed to work.  Biking in the snow, while it was still snowing on streets vacant of cars (most businesses and schools closed based on the predictions of more) was calming and exhilarating.  We got to work without issue.  By 10am we had closer to 12" of snow and they decided to shut down the offices.  We waited till around 10:30am to give the cars a chance to leave then headed out.  It had become terrible.  The addition of more unpacked snow, combined with sporadic car paths led to a seriously thick slush that was close to unconquerable.  We basically ended up doing a walk/ride for the mile ride.  Got yelled at a couple times to get off the road by some seriously classy people, but we finally made it home.
Wednesday we had basically all the snow we were going to get (topping out at around 19") and main roads had been scrapped.  Still a thick layer of snow, but it was compacted and easy to ride.  The commute was back to being fun!  We worked most of the day then headed home and had basically the same commute home.  No issues, very few cars due to everything being shut down.
Today, (Thursday) I decided to ride to spin class (which starts at 5:15am).  I left the house when it was 0 degrees (warmer than the day before).  The ride wasn't bad at all.  Snow was still packed and frozen.  There were a few slick spots, but I was able to make it there and back without putting a foot down (pretty big accomplishment for me).  I went home, showered and headed to work.  In that short time, and with the addition of more cars, the roads had already begun to turn slushy.  Not terrible, but worse.  By lunch intersections were a slushy, crappy mess of intersecting paths.  I opted to hop off and jog my bike through a few of them for speed and safety.  I made it home and back just fine - no major issues.  Given the melting and additional vehicular paths I'm curious to see what awaits me for my evening commute.  I'll have to post back later...

Till next time - keep riding!

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