Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Slushy Streets 1; Tanya 0

Well the slushy streets of Ottawa kicked my butt today in my daily 13km commute. I live in a basement apartment with no windows so the weather outside is often a mystery to me or left up to interpretation of the weather network's forecast. Today it said snow. I thought okay, a couple of flurries, no problem. In reality it was SLUSH! Loads and loads of slush.

What a shock when I walked out my door to our winter wonderland. I wasn't dressed appropriately at all. I wasn't wearing the right pants or shoes and really should have had gaitors or booties on. Rather than change into proper clothes, I perservered as I was because I'm a sucker for punishment.

As I rode along cars would throw buckets of slush on me and I'd throw a string of curse words back. Eventually I had to laugh because I had no one but myself to blame for being out there; ill prepared as I was. At least every now and then I had the presence of mind to shake my legs and feet off and gobs of slush would slide off of me.

Like the cars, I seemed to have forgotten how to ride in the snow. Even though I'm not a rookie to the winter commute, I was tentative and nervous and expecting a fall at every moment.

Once as I was riding along Island park I remembered to look up and noticed that it was so beautiful. The trees and the lawns were covered with a layer of snow. I was mezmerized. Then a car brought me back to reality as it sprayed a stream of slush into my face. &#%$*%!!

Finally I made it to the bike path where I was safe from the cars. I had a warm fuzzy feeling when I saw that there were other tire tracks on the path (okay there was nothing warm about it but I did feel happy). I decided I will pick up a pair of skinny studded tires and take the all bike path route to work from now on. They don't plow the paths in the winter so it can be pretty treacherous and studs are necessary in my opinion for that route. Last year I just used the roads and regular slicks which also works fine but I think I'll give this a shot.

So I finally made it to work and now I'm wrapped up in a blanket, wearing some cozy slippers and sipping on hot tea. Yes, I do keep a blanket and slippers in my cube!

I hope I didn't scare any budding snow commuters with this post. Its really not so bad as long as you are dressed properly and mentally prepared. After all this complaining, I'm still looking forward to the ride home!

Tip for keeping your bike in good shape all winter:
okay the road is full of salt all winter here so when I get home I usually dump a hot bucket of water over my drivechain, dry it off and then spray it with silicone lubricant. I did this all last winter and my bike is still happy. I did not do this the winter before and my chain was glowing orange by the end of the season and needed to be retired.

Happy Commuting!


fritZman said...

Tanya, I've got a pair of studded tires from MEC I used only a few times for the CX.

I'll sell them to you cheap if you're interested.

LennyG said...

Fritz, if Tanya doesn't take them I may be interested... what size rim do they fit?

The Vegan Vagabond said...

too late Lenny! they're all mine :)

LennyG said...


The Vegan Vagabond said...

Ride in was much better today. I was mostly wearing the right clothes and gear, perhaps a bit too much. I might have added Ggogles to eliminate the horizontal ice pellets driving into my eyes. Overall a nice commute.

If you think something might be missing from your boring days at work, I promise you an epic battle with Mother nature every morning and afternoon will fix that right up. Ride your bike to work all year round! :)

Peter M said...

I couldn't agree with you more, though I'm willing to concede that you may be crazy. My only problem today was that the stretch of Carling between Moodie and work (CRC campus across from the 19th T) had only a first-pass from the plows, which means that all the snow from the road gets piled on the nice wide shoulder I usually ride on. This meant 10cm of salty snow. Had to stand up for about 2kms and got some good practice handling a fish-tailing bike. Hopefully it will be fully plowed for the slog home.