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2024 How Was Your Commute?

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2024 How Was Your Commute?

Old 01-15-24, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Shortwave
With temps like these, are you the only bike commuter out there, or do you pass others?
It depends on the day. Last friday with the 0F temp I saw the tracks of three other bicycles in the snow. This morning with the -14F temp (-37F wind chill) I didn't see any other bikes. Certainly I see fewer bikes in the winter than I do the summer.

Originally Posted by Shortwave
Also, you should post a pick of what you wear during these winter commutes. As a Louisianan, I have no idea what I'd wear on a freezing commute.
I don't think anyone wants to see a full picture of me . However, here's a description of what I wear at different temps. These are generalities, and can swing a few degrees either way depending on my mood and/or what the temp difference will be when I ride home in the evening. Also, I'm not big on fancy, cycling specific clothing.

Above 60F: t-shirt and shorts, along with glasses for eye protection and a helmet.
55F: Add a sweatshirt, gloves and a headband to cover my ears from the wind.
40F: Switch to long pants and replace the sweatshirt with a light windbreaker jacket.
30F: Switch to heavier winter gloves. Add toe covers inside my shoes.
20F: Replace the headband with a balaclava. Add the sweatshirt under my windbreaker jacket. Swap my glasses for ski goggles.
10F: Add a layer of long underwear under my long pants.
0F and lower: Add a long sleeve compression shirt under my t-shirt. Put my headband back on, but wear it lower to cover my mouth, chin and cheeks.

For my footwear, it depends on which bike I'm riding. If it's just cold, but the pavement is clear then I'll take a "summer" bike that has SPD pedals. In those cases I just wear my regular cycling shoes. If it's snowy and/or icy, and I need to take a "winter" bike with platform pedals, then I'll wear my hiking boots.
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Old 01-16-24, 09:01 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1812:

Back up one day to yesterday morning: -14F with a -37F wind chill. I decided to do a split commute where I rode 1.25 miles to the bus stop, took the bus downtown and then rode the remaining .5 miles to the client's office. Then I did the reverse on the way home. They recently changed the bus schedule so now if I take the bus I arrive about 15 minutes late in the morning, and I have to leave work about 45 minutes early. Either that, or I'll arrive 50 minutes early and have to stay 20 minutes late. Because I had a bunch of other things scheduled, yesterday I opted for the former.

This morning: Thing had warmed up to a balmy -6F with a -27F wind chill. Because the air temp was below my wife's negotiated threshold of -5F, I did another split commute. The slightly warmer morning got me to the bus stop five minutes earlier than yesterday (which was five minutes early.) Then the bus was a couple minutes late, which meant I stood motionless in the frigid temps for about 12 minutes before the bus arrived. I probably would have been a lot warmer had I just ridden the whole way to work.

It's supposed to be 0F with a cross wind after work. I'm planning on just riding the whole way home.

Today I brought frozen ham and potato casserole for my lunch. Or as I called it before I left the house: ham and potato casserole.

Last edited by Tundra_Man; 01-19-24 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 01-19-24, 08:39 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1815:

We got 3+" additional snow yesterday, which puts us at 19" in the last 10 days. The streets are a mess, and it seems the snow removal crew has been working constantly trying to keep up. The plows came down my street sometime during the night, so I got up early to clear the ridge left at the end of my driveway. By the time I got out there it was very frozen and full of ice chunks.

This morning I was in a dilemma: The temp was -4F (-23F wind chill) which is one degree warmer than my usual cut-off to ride the bus. However, I knew the roads/MUP wouldn't yet be plowed, which meant if I rode the whole way to work I would need to be on the fat bike.

However, the temp is supposed to plummet throughout the day, bottoming out somewhere around -20F air temp. That meant I would very likely want to take the bus part of the way home. The bike rack on the bus doesn't fit fat bike tires.

So, do I ride the fat bike to work and suck it up in the cold temps on the way home, or do I take the mountain bike and do a split commute on the way to work even though the temp didn't quite meet the threshold?

I opted for the split commute on the way to work. Usually I take back roads to the bus stop 1.25 that is miles away, but the back roads were in terrible shape due to the plows not yet getting to them. So I rode the main artery which is always an adventure. Traffic is always heavy, but it was even heavier due to drivers also not utilizing the unplowed back roads.

I left the house a few minutes early, which meant I got to the bus stop a few minutes early. Thirteen minutes, to be exact. That doesn't sound like too long to wait until you're standing there motionless in subzero temps. By the time the bus arrived I was pretty frozen. The driver was exceptionally nice, so that was cool. Sometimes they are a little surly.
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Old 01-21-24, 03:04 PM
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[MENTION=29263]Tundra Man[/MENTION], you have my respect. This photo was taken in front of the school where I teach. My daily commute is just over 8 miles roundtrip, but I get some nice climbs and views, such as this sunset view looking toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo taken middle of last week. I was wearing shorts at the time.

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Old 01-22-24, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777
[MENTION=29263]Tundra Man[/MENTION], you have my respect. This photo was taken in front of the school where I teach. My daily commute is just over 8 miles roundtrip, but I get some nice climbs and views, such as this sunset view looking toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo taken middle of last week. I was wearing shorts at the time.

Awesome Picture!
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Old 01-22-24, 09:10 AM
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I saw my daughter's car parked in a parking lot, so I thought I'd send her a surprise text.

Also including this hill that seems to not like me one bit.


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Old 01-22-24, 01:52 PM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1816:

This morning the temp was somewhere around 13F, which was the warmest morning we've had in over a week but for some reason didn't feel as warm as I'd suspected. The temp for the commute home is supposed to be somewhere around 30F though, which should make me feel like a wild man.

Yesterday was very windy, which resulted in a lot of drifting. The MUP wasn't yet re-plowed to clear the drifts, and I misjudged how deep one of them was. The bike suddenly stopped, and I didn't. Thankfully I went down sideways in an even bigger drift, which cushioned my falls like a giant pillow. The only thing that hurt was all the snow that went under my clothes and into my boots. The snow was deep enough that I had a hard time figuring out how to stand myself back up. Of course, I got a video of the whole thing:
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Old 01-24-24, 09:04 AM
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Left my phone on the front seat of my pickup. Didn't miss it until I was at my computer. Finished up a few chores and rode back, then drove to work.

It was interesting doing a reverse commute in the morning. A little more traffic since it was later but a pleasant ride.
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Old 01-30-24, 10:20 AM
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Took the lightweight road bike today instead of the somewhat heavy and high rolling resistance commuting/touring bike as I have to run a couple of errands after work on the other side of town and up a reasonably steep hill. Got to work noticeably faster than usual. Of course, the extra speed is offset by an extra few minutes of prep time gearing up and packing my backpack. I'll make the time back up though on the errands after I clock out.
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Old 01-30-24, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
Since yesterday was a federal holiday in the States, for many of us this is the first work day. So for today and for all of 2024: How was your commute today?
Started off good, but I haven't cycled much. Hope to get back at it. Only thing is cold, but I have made improvements in my riding
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Old 01-30-24, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Pantah
Took the lightweight road bike today instead of the somewhat heavy and high rolling resistance commuting/touring bike as I have to run a couple of errands after work on the other side of town and up a reasonably steep hill. Got to work noticeably faster than usual. Of course, the extra speed is offset by an extra few minutes of prep time gearing up and packing my backpack. I'll make the time back up though on the errands after I clock out.
All the time you save on a road bike is always taken up by the time it takes to find your special shoes
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Old 01-31-24, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
All the time you save on a road bike is always taken up by the time it takes to find your special shoes
Which is precisely why my shoes are well organized. Didn't have to hunt around for them. Easy to do when living by yourself. Much more challenging when I had roommates, things tended to walk away all on their own, something that did happen to my cycling shoes more than once.
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Old 01-31-24, 10:04 PM
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It's not just special shoes. The procedure for bike commuting has become involved with all the equipment and clothing required. I wish I had a two mile commute and an English 3-speed bike and no need for a lock. Oh well. One improvement is that I got security skewers so I don't have to use a second lock for one of my wheels.

Whenever I commute by bike, it feels like a big undertaking. It kind-of is, too, with the distance (13 miles each way) and the horrific traffic.

I rode to work and class on Monday. First day of grad school classes for me this semester. I had a stiff headwind in the morning. The one steep hill is so tricky because the steep part also has a sharp turn, and it gets really narrow. I finally gave up the goal of pedaling up all hills. I pushed my bike. And gee, that's hard, too, but at least I'm not in as much danger of falling.

Of course, I had a tailwind going from work to class and from class to home. But I learned my gloves are not good enough for below 40F. My hands hurt quite a bit. I think my lobster claw mittens should be a bit better. I'm still thinking about bar mitts, but they're expensive. I have drop bars. Maybe I can jury rig something ugly and cheap.

I'm 63 years old and notice I'm getting weaker. I need to exercise more often, somewhat to build strength and also to maintain the strength I have. And I need to stretch more, because cycling makes my back hurt. And getting on and off the bike is getting hard.
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Old 02-01-24, 08:28 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1823:

What a weird winter. We had no snow and above average temps through December. Then the first three weeks of January we had a ton of snow and brutally cold temps. Now for the last week (and projected for another week) we're back to above average temps.

Daily highs for the last seven days have been in the 30s and 40s (Fahrenheit) which has melted off a lot of the snow pack. The ground is frozen so that melted snow has nowhere to go but the pavement. At night the temps dip into the 20s and teens, which then freezes that melt and create sheets of ice for the morning commutes. Apparently if you get in a car wreck, plan to have your vehicle out of commission for a while because the body shops are all booked solid.

This morning was icy as expected. I rode the bike with studded tires and rode with common sense, so I didn't have any issues. I do need to change my chain and freewheel this weekend, as the chain is starting to skip pretty bad. I have less than 1500 miles on this chain and freewheel, but winter riding quickly destroys components. That chemical stuff they put on the ice will rust steel and oxidize aluminum in the blink of an eye.

Outside of the ice and those three weeks below zero, it's hard to complain about the weather this winter. It's been pretty easy for South Dakota. But I'm also realistic enough to know that it's not done yet. We usually get some brutal below-zero cold snaps in mid to late February. It's probably a safe bet that that tradition will continue this year.
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Old 02-05-24, 08:43 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1825:

I rode the hybrid bike today with regular (non-studded) tires. It was probably a hair premature to move away from the studs, but to explain why I did it I have to back up a couple of days...

As mentioned in my last post, my chain was starting to skip pretty bad on my studded tire winter bike. The chain and freewheel had been completely destroyed by winter riding. The salt and chemicals they put on our roads to melt the ice also rust steel and oxidize aluminum in a heartbeat. The chain had a few links that had fused together by rust and no amount of oiling let them rotate freely, hence the skipping and chain-suck issues I'd been having. The teeth on the freewheel had been reduced to sharp points rather than the plateau-like shape they have when new. All of this happened in about 1,500 miles worth of riding.

I had a replacement chain and freewheel ready to go for whenever I got around to replacing them. On Saturday I decided that "whenever" had arrived, so I went out to the garage and put the bike up on the repair stand. I began by removing the chain, then pulled the wheel off the bike. When I tried to pull out the quick release skewer so I could swap the freewheel, it was seized by rust and didn't want to easily slide out like it was supposed to. As I pulled harder I got it to slowly budge. I kept pullling and finally it came free. At this point the innards of the hub fell out onto the garage floor in multiple pieces. The axle had disintegrated from rust, and that's what was binding up the skewer.

I didn't think this wheel was that old, so I went back and looked at my spreadsheet where I track all my maintenance. The wheel was last replaced the same time the chain and freewheel had been replaced: 1,500 miles ago. So it looks like I'm replacing all three again. I thought about just replacing the hub innards, but decided that the part cost plus the labor would be close to a brand new wheel. Plus I'd be putting new hub innards into a hub shell full of rust. It was only a few bucks more and a lot less headache to go ahead and order a brand new wheel.

As I was inspecting the rear derailleur, I noticed the jockey wheels were pretty much worn down to the nubs. That probably isn't helping shifting either. New jockey wheels are $13, and a whole new derailleur is $19. I'm probably just going to spend the extra $6 and replace the whole derailleur. The bolts holding the old jockey wheels in place are probably seized with rust and it would cost me more than $6 in hassle to swap them out. This derailleur was replaced just 2,500 miles ago, and looks like it's been through a war.

So, the winter bike is on the repair stand waiting for the ordered parts to arrive. That meant I had to either break my commuting streak, or ride a bike without studded tires. The hybrid bike without studs got the vote.

It was 28F this morning. There were lots of icy patches on the ride to work where I wish I had studs. But I went slow and picked my lines so I could cross the ice in a straight shot without turning. I made it to the office without going down. The high today is supposed to be about 40F, so the ice shouldn't be much of an issue on the way home.
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Old 02-07-24, 11:53 AM
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Tundra_Man Reminds me how spoiled I am here in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. No snow where I am and for the places that do get snow, salting the roads is illegal so rust isn't a serious problem. Cars don't rust and neither do bikes. I take it for granted that most components last the lifetime of a bike, even on ones that see rain.

Speaking of rain, narrowly missed it this morning on my ride to work. I knew the forecast called for rain this morning but when it was time to head out the door and the ground was only slightly damp with barely an occasional drop on my head, I figured it was a good excuse as any to hop on the bike. The 3 mile commute went by quickly and about 15 minutes after I arrived, the rain really started coming down. It'll be done in the next couple of hours so the ride home will be pleasant.
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Old 02-09-24, 11:34 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1829:

Happy commutiversary! Today marks 8 years since the last time I drove a car to work (Feb 10, 2016). I've logged 24,454.46 bicycle commuting miles since that day.

I took a picture to commemorate the milestone. You can see how little snow is left. We've had an uncharacteristically easy winter so far. Really there's only been about three weeks of "real" winter, and the rest has been more fall/spring like with high temps in the 30s and 40s.


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Old 02-10-24, 03:28 PM
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You're a rockstar TundraMan. I'm glad that your here, letting us read your commuting journeys.
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Old 02-12-24, 12:58 AM
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All good. Yesterday I punctured the rear tire of my bike and I have trouble repairing it
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Old 02-12-24, 08:46 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1830:

I didn't sleep well last night. I'm sure the pizza, mozerella sticks, jalepeno poppers and ice cream I ate while watching the Super Bowl had nothing to do with it. [/sarcasm] I was moving pretty slow this morning, but made it to my desk only 10 minutes late. Considering how rough I felt, I thought that was an accomplishment. I can only imagine how terrible I would have felt if I had drank any alcohol.

It was 28F this morning, with a light headwind. Overall it was a pretty easy ride to work. I'm still on the hybrid bike, but now the ice is almost completely gone so I will likely continue to ride it until we get some more snow and ice.

Had a kid decide to pass me on a downhill, then get surprised by how fast gravity increased my speed. He drove next to me for a few seconds with a confused look on his face as I was matching his speed without pedaling. There was a stop sign at the bottom of the hill that I had to stop for anyway, so I hit the brakes early and let him complete the pass.

My replacement wheel for my winter bike arrived last week. I opened the box and discovered it was the wrong size. The diameter was correct, but the rim width was too narrow. At first I thought I got shipped the wrong wheel, so I went and double checked my order. Much to my chagrin, I received the exact wheel that I had ordered. I had a bunch of tabs open in my browser as I was comparing different wheels, and I'm thinking I clicked on the wrong tab when I added it to the cart. Nuts.

The wheel cost me $65, plus $25 in shipping. I knew I wouldn't get my shipping fees back if I returned it, but figured I could at least recoup a portion of my money. So on Saturday I re-taped the box and took it to the post office. The cheapest shipping option they quoted me was $65. To say I was flabbergasted would be an understatement. There would be no benefit to shipping the wheel back as my net on the transaction would be zero, and I wouldn't have anything to show for it.

So I hauled the box back home and stuck it in my garage. Hopefully I can list it on Craigslist or Marketplace and find someone local who could use a brand new wheel at a discount.

I re-ordered another wheel. You can be sure this time I triple checked it was the correct size.
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Old 02-14-24, 10:42 AM
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Had to drive the truck today but yesterday had a very pleasant commute. It's been several days since the big storm hit northern California so the water has drained and pavement dried out. Temps were an enviable mid-40's in the morning. Really am quite spoiled here where I live as far as weather goes. Still, we aren't completely without weather. Today we'll get a bit of rain, tomorrow and Friday will make for a nice commute as the rain takes a break but then the big storm hits late Friday night and is really going to dump.
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Old 02-14-24, 01:33 PM
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I thought of riding today but it was 30F, and I know that my gloves are just not good enough for my 13-mile commute. It gets too painful. The weather report showed very light winds, and as happens often, it was wrong. Walking to the subway, it was quite windy, with the wind coming from where I was heading overall. I made the right choice. Soon, it will be consistently warm enough for me.
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Old 02-15-24, 08:56 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1833:

Winter has returned, at least for a couple of days. I woke up to a 12F air temp, and 1" of fresh snow on the ground. The last three weeks of temps above 25F and no snow had really spoiled me.

I spent some time clearing the snow from my driveway so it didn't become a frozen mess after the cars drive across it a few times. Then I opted to take the fat bike to work, which is really, really slow.

One of the nice things about my job is flexibility. I was scheduled to work from our company office today, which is 8 miles from my house. I didn't have anything specific going on there that I needed to be physically present for, I just try to show up once or twice a week so my co-workers don't forget what I look like. Because of the time spent cleaning the driveway, and the reduced speed of the fat bike, I opted to cut my commute in half by riding to a client location instead. Maybe I'll go to the office tomorrow if I don't have to ride the fat bike again.

Because the temp was 34F when the snow started, the bottom layer of the snow was pretty slick. It probably would have been better to ride my winter bike with carbide studded tires instead of the fat bike, but that bike is still on the repair stand.

My new (correct size) wheel arrived yesterday. Last night I had about 45 minutes to work on that bike, so I got the tire and freewheel mounted on the wheel, then mounted the wheel on the bike. I removed the old derailleur, and attached the new derailleur in its place. Then I ran out of time. I still need to size and install the new chain, and hook up the derailleur cable and adjust it. I also noticed that only one side of the front v-brake is moving when I squeeze the lever. The other one is seized up from corrosion. So I need to disassemble and clean that up as well.
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Old 02-15-24, 11:02 PM
  #49  
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Beautiful dawn

Starting out at 8,600, 0600h, temp 25F, mid way to work at 5,000 elevation a common temperature inversion was present and the final 10 miles was 20F. Gorgeous dawn. Toasty kit Bar-Mits continue to amaze me.



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Old 02-17-24, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by tundra_man;[url=tel:23123087
23123087[/url]]consecutive bicycle work commute number 1806:

After getting off easy in november and december, winter finally arrived to eastern south dakota.

I woke up to about 8" of snow on the ground, with snow predicted to continue to fall through tomorrow morning. When i went to bed they were estimating between 5" - 10". If it continues to snow at the current rate we'll be well above that amount.

Schools got cancelled for the day. Many businesses were closed. I briefly considered working from home and breaking my streak, but then i remembered i left my laptop at my desk on friday afternoon, so there wasn't any way i could work remotely. Then i briefly considered taking a vacation day so my streak could stay intact, but then decided that was the weenie way out. So i sucked it up and rode my bicycle.

I left the house at 6:45 am hoping that between things being closed and the early time that i could avoid heavy traffic. I took the fat bike on its inaugural run of the season. Virgin snow was too deep to ride through, so i had to walk the bike down my driveway and out into the street where i could ride in the ruts made by a truck which had gone by earlier. I immediately gave up the idea of taking my normal route to work, which included a substantial percentage of mup riding. There would be no way i could ride the unplowed mup with this amount of snow.

Instead i took to the main streets. I was hoping that the emergency snow routes would be plowed, but the ones that i rode on had not yet had any snow cleared. However, enough vehicles had driven on them that i could follow their ruts. I couldn't see my speedometer in the dark, but there was no way i was maintaining more than 5 mph. Even in the ruts the snow was causing a ton of resistance. The snow was too deep for drivers to venture outside of the established path in order to pass me, so when i would notice three or four cars stacked up behind me i would pull over and let them pass. The street route i rode was about a mile longer, and a lot hillier than my typical route, but overall was a better choice than trying to ride the mup.

I almost went down a couple of times when i would hit drifts while crossing intersections, but never did hit the ground so that was a good thing. The temp was 23f with a moderate wind, but given how hard i was working i wasn't cold in the least. I actually started having a hard time with my glasses fogging over due to how much heat was coming off of my face. I had to stop a couple of times to try and wipe the lenses clear so i could see. It's rare i have trouble with glasses fogging. Usually that's a problem i fight with goggles.

During one of my stops i noticed that my pannier bag was only holding on by one of the three mounting clips. Had it fallen off i probably wouldn't have heard it hit the ground in the snow. This would have been a bad day to have to go back a couple miles to search for a lost bag.

About two blocks from the client's office i pulled over to snap a photo. That way when all the emails started coming in from people saying the roads were too bad to drive to work i could just reply with this picture:


by the end of the week the temps are predicted to drop to sub-zero f, so winter has definitely arrived.
awesome!!!
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