It snowed today, and I went for a ride just so I could say I did.
Some may remember that I only got back into riding this summer, so this was my first ride in snow. What a blast! We have about an inch of snow on the ground. It was late enough in the day that the temperature had dropped and things were icing over. But aside from taking my first spill and busting the bell on my handlebar (it was a piece of junk anyway, so I’m glad to have an excuse to get a better model), everything went perfectly well. It was not only a very enjoyable outing, but a learning experience as well.
First: although the temperature was hovering around 30-degrees, I was plenty warm. And I wasn’t even pedaling hard; just taking a casual spin around the neighborhood. I really only felt cold on my legs. The wind cut right through the one layer of cotton afforded by my corduroy pants. I think if I were pedaling hard or out for a longer period of time, I would notice it on my hands and on my face and/or in my lungs also.
Second: winter riding requires a whole new level of awareness and skill. What more is there to say about this? I was being very mindful and I still crashed. Ride slow. Pay attention. Be careful. And for heaven’s sake, wear your helmet!
Third: when the streets are not yet cleared but have been packed down by traffic, I do not think it’s unreasonable or ill-advised to ride on sidewalks. However, this is most (if not only) applicable in residential areas where there is likely to be little pedestrian traffic. Moreover, sidewalks are every bit as treacherous, if not more so, once they’ve been shoveled or packed down and ice over.
What a fun, fun ride. I’m so glad I went. I wish I could have stayed out longer. Pity it gets dark so early in winter. Riding in the snow reminded me of why I used to love backpacking in the winter. It’s so quiet. It’s so peaceful.