06 January 2009

Rant from an Icebiker

I am part of an unofficial organization that I call the Icebikers. We bike through most of the winter. It is a sometimes treacherous but mostly satisfying endeavor. However there is certainly on thing that irks me most when biking in winter- inadequate snow removal.
For the icebiker, staying in the saddle is the ideal. I don't like to "portage" through sections of road or sidewalk every quarter mile. The icebiker appreciates a shoveled nearly to the concrete sidewalk and dispises a "snow hump" where the sidewalk and street meet. Typically I find the streets to be more maneuverable than sidewalks due in large part the inconstancy of shoveling given to the sidewalks.
The other day I made my first icebike appearance of 2009. With the addition of a studded tire, I was able to make it to work on time. On the way back I took a different route and regretted it. A whole block of sidewalk on a busy street wasn't even shoveled. In the Go the last snowflake fell on Saturday and I believe there is a 48 hour rule on sidewalk snow removal. I actually had to ride on a one way street facing traffic to get out of the mess. I'll avoid that route for a while.
Another killer for the icebikers is the wind chill. It can really deprive you of internal heat. Typically I don't ride below zero. I've done it but it gets miserable for the distances I need to cover to commute. It's hard enough having to plow through snow. However, bike anxiety and occasional peer pressure makes me defy the cruelest winter days.

2 comments:

emily anne said...

If you want a real challenge, try icebiking the sidewalks of North Minneapolis. Seriously, it's really bad. We'll see if the city keeps it's word this year about ticketing people if they don't clear their snow within 24 hours.

By the way, have you yet joined the Facebook cult?

RoYcE said...

I use studded tires during the real icy period which has typically been Jan-early March. I once carried a shovel with me to take out culprit show banks but have since misplaced it in 2 moves. As for Facebook, that's anybody's guess if I am there or not. I just use a stage name.