Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Brutal

Please tell me that it doesn't get much worse. A mid day snowstorm with accumulating snow in the maybe 4-5 inch range. Okay, so we could get even MORE snow than this, but I am really hoping that it is unlikely. Daytime snow during the work week is the WORST, with all the traffic and falling snow, it doesn't seem like the plows are out. If they are, it doesn't take much more than an hour or so to undo what they did.

I survived the ride home. Left my office early at about 3:30pm and got home after 5:30. Yup, two hours of slogging through the snow to go 15 miles. (Okay, so I stopped for a couple of minutes to change clothes since I was working SO hard and got way too hot.) Incidentally, I changed into my rain jacket that just this morning I thought about removing from my pannier. Glad that I had it through; one to repel the snow that would have most certainly have melted on me once it landed on my wool jersey, and two because it is bright yellow and helped increase my visibility.

I am glad that I put some thought into writing about how to handle riding in the snow because today on the way home, I had to employ everything I know to keep the bike upright. Conditions ranged from:

  • Excellent: Snow plow pulled out right in front of me on Plymouth avenue and I followed just behind for several blocks.
  • Good: Virgin powder over un-plowed bike lane.
  • Not So Bad: Traffic lane with soupy slushy brown snow that was pretty easy going.
  • Bad: Quieter residential street with poorly packed snow and variable levels of traction
  • Shitty: Northeast Minneapolis residential streets. Do they even plow them? Seems like the plow might have made one pass several days ago before people got cars off the street. When people did move cars, it appears they shoveled all of the snow from said buried car into the lane of traffic.
  • Really Shitty: Como Avenue between 15th and Raymond Ave. Traffic was heavy, the shoulder was full of snow. I rode the sidewalk from highway 280 to Raymond and it ranged from almost freshly shoveled to not shoveled at all this year and almost impassable. At each intersecting street there was the enjoyment of either plowing through or somewhat trying to jump over the mountain of snow deposit left by the plows.
I realize that my scale is awfully scientific and I am certain people might challenge me on my ratings. The best conditions that I found for actually riding were times when I moved into the main lane of traffic. Sometimes I was all over the road. I would periodically plow my way through the accumulated snow along the side of the road until there would be a break in traffic at which point I would ride back in the lane. While riding in the lane, I could almost go normal speed.

So, given the situation... Where do I ride? Take my place on the road as I am entitled or not mess with people in large metal objects who are frustrated with their lack of progress? Hmmm...
I know that I am crazy. In a way it was a fun adventure that leaves me with a good sense of accomplishment. I am glad that I was on my bike and not in a car. I know that I got home just as fast on my bike as I would have if I had driven.

4 comments:

Jim Thill said...

You're a better man for it.

mnultraguy said...

It took me over an hour to get home from Hopkins (26 and 169) to home (near Theo) using the CLP, but it was fun surfing the fresh snow.

Me said...

Ray-

Living in Seward, yes... I can completely attest & confirm that the streets here are total shit to ride with the lack of plowing. Last night, me and a buddy rode:

2 hours, little mileage, about 30 specific moments of nearly dumping me and the bike onto the street and/or in front of Metro buses. Not overly great fun, but still fun in that "Hey, I almost died... again!!" kinda way. That said, I did try and work on relaxation while riding and skidding and fish-tailing all over the place... not super successful but every journey must start somewhere.

Hoping these conditions improve greatly... sorta suspect I was sold a rather large crock of shit when, last year, folks out here in the Twin Cities kept telling us how wonderful the Winter/Snow Riding was due to the amazing snow removal of both cities.

-Me

Me said...

Ken-

I just realized, that for umpteen replies on your blog, I continually keep addressing you as "Ray".

I have no idea where I got the idea in my head that you are named "Ray".

So... from this point forward I have it figured out and corrected [even if I haven't figured out why I had it wrong in the first place].

Please accept my apology?

Thanks Ray-

-Me

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