1.30.2011

it shocks some people...


SNOW?
YOU RIDE YOUR BIKE IN THE SNOW?

{with a dumb founded look of shock and surprise... followed by a jaw dropping to express disbelief}

it is a pretty standard question from a member of the car culture to a member of the utilitarian bicycle culture...

"so... what do you do when it snows?


the short simple answer...

"if I can drive my car I could ride my bike"

usually followed by additional information not entirely related to the question
additional information is not uncommon for me

so I usually finish that thought with...

"and I can ride my bike in the snow better than most people can drive their cars"


this is not a boasting of SNOW BIKE PROWESS

in fact... I am not even talking about snow biking
what I am talking about is getting around town on my bike after it snows or when it is snowing

whether the roads are plowed or snow remains on the roads... if I can drive my car then the snow is not so much or the streets are not so bad that I can not ride my bike

so... if I need to go to work, visit a friend, or run an errand
even if there is snow on the ground
the bike is my primary option
but really... I often leave my bike alone if it snows
I ignore the bike and grab the sleds... the cross country skies, and of course... the snow shovel

yesterday I did a road ride in Rock Creek... not even on the cyclocross bike with its small knobby tires
a straight up road bike with the skinny road tires
this was done after days that involved
multiple sessions of sledding with my kids and the neighbor's kids as well as one trek into the woods of Rock Creek Park on the planks

the road bike was a fine choice
the road surface of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park was more clear than many of the streets of Northwest DC or the areas of Chevy Chase and Bethesda that I meandered through after my Rock Creek Ride loop that ended at my father's house in Bethesda for the birthday party of my now 8 year old nephew Conrad

so... for the most part the streets are clear
well... for the most part
there is all sorts or snow, slush, and ice piled up along the row of parked cars
there are patches of packed snow and there are even patches of salt
at each corner there is a mass of snow, slush,
and ice with paths cleared for pedestrian traffic

so things are not completely clear
but... with a little common sense the city is bike-able

even Capital Bike Share understands this notion that that the city is still bike-able after a snowfall
bike-able for the Capital Bike Share users and mobile employees

I have found the email Updates of the Capital Bike Share to be very interesting
I have agreed with their station closures... a policy that is running a similar pattern to the city's closings and warnings

even if they are making the call themselves
their decisions to close have not seemed premature
and their return to open has seemed sensible

but understand... I am a Capital Bike Share member... but not a steady Capital Bike Share user who is dependent upon the availabilities of the bikes
I am curious about the user response to the closures?

anger? frustration? followed by understanding?

Capital Bike Share has everyone's best interest at hand
can you ride a bike when it is snowing? well... it is not just about the cyclist keeping upright
it is also about the cyclist keeping free and clear of the lunatics that have no business being behind the wheel when it snows


everyone should take their driver's test in the snow
but that is not going to happen
when I am on my bike and there is snow on the ground
I try to be hyper alert
sometimes riding a tad more submissively than usual
even if I swear by the notion SUBMISSIVE CYCLING ENABLES AGGRESSIVE DRIVING
I think it is better to get home alive than to hold my ground


no strong biking plans for this week
I expect that I will be on the bike for the usual routine events
more than likely no SNOW BIKE EXCURSIONS
but more than likely I will put on the head lamp and take advantage of the cross country ski opportunity one or two more times before this snow is gone

I also have a rule... if I am walking my bike to the alley behind my house and I slip on my ass with my bike by my side
I re-evaluate things


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