Slip and Slide
I have two great fears about riding this winter - cold and snow. I'm sure that we'll see a bit more of both before the season is over.
Last week was a great mini test run for both though. It's not so much the snow itself that concerns me but the possibility of slipping around in it. I've heard a couple of recommendations this fall to get my bike out when it snows, head to the nearest park, and spin it around a bit until I feel comfortable with the possibility of sliding around. As appealing as that sounds, my daily bike, the Madsen, is not really a "spin it around" sort of ride. That thing is heavy! And couple that with a few kids and extra stuff, I'm not even sure I'd be able to lift it off of me should we actually slip and fall this winter without removing all the extra cargo.
So, when it snowed last week, I got just a little panicked. Should I ride in the snow or in the car tracks? Use my front brake or my back? We certainly didn't get a lot of precipitation but it was slippery enough for us to observe people falling while walking to the train station. I lowered my seat in hopes of planting my feet should I feel unsteady and made the morning commute as usual, just at a much slower pace. We arrived unscathed and even enjoyed the ride a bit with the sun glinting off of all the new snow that covered trees and walks.
Shortly after the snow came the cold. Personally, I am not a fan of being cold. If there is a fire roaring, you can find me seated right next to it. But, life goes on and even when the temps turn frosty, we try to get out. Saturday morning, I decided take both of my kids on the Kidical Mass ride. Prior to heading out, I checked the temperature - 15F but feels like 5F. Ugh! It all just sounds cold to me but we started to layer up in hopes of keeping the cold at bay. A few wool shirts and several pairs of wool socks later and we were on our way. And wouldn't you know it wasn't too bad. In fact, by the time we arrived at Palmer Square for the ride, I needed to remove a layer for myself and a layer for one of my children as well.
At this point, I would probably benefit from some sort of chart mapping out temperatures and how many/types of layers I need versus how I should be dressing both of mychildren. But hopefully, this is something that I'll figure out a bit more before the season is over. I certainly don't want the cold to be the reason that we do not bike on any given day.
Practice makes perfect, I suppose...