The Commuter

February 10, 2014 § 3 Comments

snow parking

The bike lane is piled high with two feet of snow packed in. Trailing down into the road is a brown crunchy snow-salt-ice. I skirt the edge of this wall. Sometimes it’s in a gross slushy brown snow-water, spitting salt on my bike and into my derailleur. Sometimes it’s on packed in snow-ice, making me wonder which icy grooves are safely maneuverable. Other times it’s just salt water, puddled in giant potholes, keeping me focused, dodging.

Cars whizz by, unaware at the treachery on the edges of the road.

I’m rocking my Nokian Suomi IceSpeed metal studded tires. They’re friction machines – clear pavement is a harder grind and you lose the whee! effect of downhills, but not eating pavement on unplowed snowpacked roads makes it seem like a fair trade.

studded snow bike tires

Impossibly there are other bike commuters – face masks pulled up, cranking in the opposite direction, we silently nod before focusing back on the road, comrades in snow cycling, few and far between.

We pile our bikes high, lock them up, simple machines persevering in the face of the world literally freezing over.

snow bike gear

bike parked snow

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§ 3 Responses to The Commuter

  • Curiophile says:

    Ok, so I’m impressed. I’ll admit it. Here’s the thing though, sometimes I have to look professional in my job and the snow-salt-mud-ice sputter you describe must in some way get all over you.

    Do you shower at work and pack an extra change of clothes?

    How do you manage all this?

    • facepalmword says:

      The two things you have to manage are (1) not being sweaty, and (2) not getting slush-mush all over you. The first I manage by having the right amount of layers – I have a shell snowboarding jacket with pit zips that I’ll layer with at minimum a t-shirt, and at maximum a thermal long sleeve with a sweatshirt, depending on what kind of cold it is. Some sweat is unavoidable, but I manage to stay presentable through a series of zippers. The second I manage by putting my adult clothes in my waterproof panniers. I bike with water resistant tights and a board coat, so it mostly rolls off and then just change at work. If it’s rainy/super wet, I wear rain pants! Go forth and two wheel it!

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