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non-cycling excuses and explanations

So I drove to work again today, the second day in a row. I feel so guilty! But I have reasons, even if they're not good ones. Yesterday we woke up to freezing rain and a quarter-inch of ice on top of an inch of snow, and after walking the dog Leah told me that biking would be a no-go. As I sadly waited for the car to warm up a little so I could chip it free of its coating of ice, I brought the bicycle down just for a little experiment. After a few moments of remembering what winter cycling was like I decided I could probably make it after all—but not in the time I had left. It was warm enough out that my narrow tires broke through the ice in most spots so I'd be able to have at least some semblance of traction; but unfortunately pushing through that mess would be slow, slow, slow. Since I hadn't left myself any extra time I reluctantly put the bike away.

You can see that a good part of my problem is lack of preparation. I also confess that my winter bike is far from ready to be ridden; I abandoned it last spring after it pretty much fell apart and never managed to do much to get it back in working order. But the current machine, with road gearing, narrow tires, and no fenders, is pretty poorly suited to bad-weather riding.

But it's not all my fault. The roads were passable, so I could have ridden an alternate route that avoided the untreated bike path—could have, that is, if I weren't afraid that winter-crazed drivers would run me off the road in a fit of rage or lack of attention (something that occurred even more strongly to Leah). Today the weather was fine but I drove so I could go into Burlington on the way home and pick up our Christmas cards from the printer; it's not far, but even in mid summer I'd be wary of braving the maelstrom of Middlesex turnpike on a bicycle. Heck, I'm nervous every time I drive there!

Do I wish the bike path were salted and sanded? I don't. I appreciate that it gets plowed (though the plowing after Sunday's snow probably made the surface worse when it started raining yesterday) because deep snow lasts and lasts and creates truly impassible conditions. But ice never sticks around long over the whole path, and the externalities of salt or even sand totally aren't worth the momentary advantage they provide. If it were up to me, in fact, I'd argue against salting roads too: what an ugly mess it makes! If we weren't all in such a hurry we wouldn't need to crush all natural phenomena under our wheels in order to keep to our schedule regardless of weather. Are our jobs really that important?!

Oh well. Staying home tomorrow, then back in the saddle Thursday!

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