Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here's Snow In Your Eye

The First Snow Ride

Temperatures were frigid this morning around 5°F, but warm compared to the -5°F yesterday. When I left the house this morning, snow was starting to fall, but was just a blowing nuisance, not sticking to the roads.

By the time I was on my last mile or so, the stuff was blowing right into my eyeballs and freezing in my lashes. I had this really weird experience where I closed my eyes for a half-second and thought, "I'll just close my eyes for a little bit and ride straight." Huh? Maybe the cold Nebraska wind makes me a little loopy. I will look into some goggles (pun intended) later this week.

By the afternoon, I decided not to ride home, but catch a bus and ride the last half mile home, getting used to the new studded tires on the way. I'm glad I did. From the safety of the bus, I got to see lots of crazy drivers all over the road. One ran a stop sign and nearly smashed up my bike on the front of the bus.

The tires worked great. There were some areas where my front wheel would get a little squirrelly on the halfway packed snow that came loose undeneath it. The rear tire had excellent traction, giving me no problem climbing hills.

When I got home, I was pretty warm wearing all my winter gear. I grabbed the snow shovel and cleared the driveway, sidewalks, and steps. My daughter came out to help, and we cleared snow from a neighbor's house. Gotta pay it forward, you know.

Later we took the truck out to get sand tubes for my truck bed and some stuff to finish a bathroom remodel I've been working on. I couldn't even get my truck up the hill on our street, and nearly fishtailed out on Grover Street. It's remarkable that I had no problems riding the same hill on my new studded bike tires.

The truck's fuel gauge reads about a half a tank. I haven't filled it for about a month. I'm loving that. I hope I can keep riding this winter. Solstice is coming up soon, marking the halfway point of the long, dark winter and putting the warmer, Spring riding days withing sight.

If I ride tomorrow, I might alter my route to utilize more neighborhood streets, parts of the Field Club trail, and more of the Turner Boulevard trail, and maybe sidewalks into downtown. I still want to give myself, and the auto drivers, some time to get used to dealing with the snow.


T-bone said...

Scott, where on Grover do you live? I live off 38th and Arbor and work downtown. When I used to ride to work I would take the field club to woolworth ave/woolworth ave to s. 32nd/s 32nd to Pacific/ Pacific to Park Ave/ Park Ave to Leavenworth/ leavenworth to 24th St/ 24th St to Douglas. I work on 16th and Dodge. The route worked great for me. I would rarely have any problems with drivers/traffic.

Scott Redd said...

Hi T-Bone:

Your in a great position to get to the Field Club Trail. It will be even better for you when the Field Club/Keystone connector is complete in the Summer. I live near 48th and Grover and work at 14th and Douglas.

I experimented with riding Grover/Vinton down to the Field Club, then Field Club to Leavenworth and on in to downtown. I think that's the fastest way to get to work, due to the downhills to Field Club, then level all the way to Leavenworth, even if it is a little longer.

The route I use now has the least amount of grade changes. I guess that makes me a lazy commuter. :)

I, too, have found the overwhelming majority of motorists to be considerate of my space on my rides in and out of downtown. I think it will get even better when the bike lanes are striped in the Spring.