Tuesday 9 December 2008

My Conquest of Winter

My world this morning...

While at the Pedaling History Museum, I noticed a display featuring a spiked tire and a runner, meant to replace the wheels on a bicycle so that it could be used for winter. This was a coincidence as when I came back to Ottawa the special studded rear tire I had ordered had arrived. After I picked it up at the post office on Sunday I spent a good thirty minutes wrestling it on the rim. It did not look all that impressive and is very heavy.

Yesterday was simply too cold to ride so I drove to work, something I only do perhaps twice a year. There is no parking available in our building (which is inexcusable as it is in the middle of nowhere) so I had to park about three blocks away and walk through the biting cold. Of course, when I returned I discovered that Ottawa only lets you park on the streets for three hours and doesn't have to post a sign about this. So now I get to pay a $30 parking ticket as well.

Today I was determined to dress warmly and come in by bike. Of course, overnight a big storm had developed and when I opened the garage door there was a lot of snow on the ground. Big, fluffy flakes were coming down. Instead of my cycling shoes I had a pair of hiking boots on and I thought if it was too bad I could walk the bike back and hike to the office, a good 50 minutes away. But after the first few pedal strokes I realized that the studded tire really works and off I went, tearing through the snow and having a pretty good time.

My route generally avoids traffic but I found where there had been cars the road was a bit slippery so I just hopped up on the sidewalk. The deep tread cross tire on the front and the studded tire together allowed me to move quite briskly, probably up to 22 km/h or so. It was still cold outside but the challenge of it all goaded me on and as I crossed the Minto Bridges and saw the office ahead I felt a surge of triumph. I would be the only cyclist to make it into work today! Of course at that moment someone rolled down the hill near the bus stop and pulled in ahead of me on their bike. My hands were cold (it was still around -20C with the windchill) and the tire clattered over the parking garage floor but I had beaten Winter!

We'll see what the ride home is like tonight. And tomorrow freezing rain is promised. "Bring it on," I say. The Germans have a saying: "There is no bad weather. Just inappropriate clothing." And if gets just too bad I have a new set of cross-country skis. But I would like to think that the cycling season is not quite over yet.

1 comment:

Groover said...

I thought the Irish had come up with this saying but I do remember my mum preaching it all the time when I was a little girl so you might be right. :-) Well done on conquering the cold and snow. Bummer about the parking ticket.