Friday, January 4, 2013

In Which CR Biker Is Calvin’s Nerdy Dad

Comic is from

My niece wrote in a Facebook post that this cartoon reminds her of somebody—me.

I can’t say I blame her.  The dad in Calvin in Hobbs is younger and in better shape than I am, and apparently willing to ride on snow, although I’ll also admit CR Biker is stretching that envelop a bit more than he did in the past.

So, how do you ride on snow?

First of all, don’t.  I’m serious.  The pavement has to be mostly bare before I will there.  When you cross a substantial patch of ice, always do so with one or both feet on the slippery surface.  From a previous fall, I know how instantly a bike on ice can tip beyond control—the human nervous system and muscular structure has no hope of coping with such an instant event or preventing such a fall.  So, to paraphrase my own words of wisdom:  If the pavement isn’t bare, then just don’t ride there.  I don’t ever walk up hills in summer—hill-climbing gear is for hills—but there is no “snow climbing” gear.  I’ve been riding this J term, and it’s been a bit of surprise to me, but I am trying to be careful to ride only on pavement.  I do walk my bike in spots on my route.

Second, dress for the part.
  One of my sisters posted on Facebook that her feet get too cold for biking when the temperature gets under 30.  I wear very thick warm fuzzy grey winter socks, which I have on over fairly heavy gym white socks.  Couple that with at least two shirts, including a warm sweater or sweat shirt, skiing gloves, long underwear, a light jacket that none-the-less totally cuts the wind and that features a thin hood I can wear under a bike helmet—well, I’m ready for the weather.  My ears, nose and toes are the extremes of my body and the parts that are likely to suffer most—but honestly, even on these mornings when the lows have been in single digits, the temperature has not been much of a problem.  I do think I’ve been more uncomfortable when the temperature is in the 20s and I decide it is too warm to wear the long underwear—then my toes are sore by the time I get to work.   Zero while wearing long underwear and my full winter regalia?  Not a problem.

Third, slow down.  Especially at night.  In sunshine, you can gauge the quality of the pavement more easily—you can see ice and you can see powdery snow and you can see bare pavement.  It’s tougher at dusk.  So go slow.  Audrey got me an extra light for Christmas—an actual headlight, as in a light meant to be worn on your heard.  Like the hood, it fits beneath my helmet.  It is a bit cold on the forehead, but the extra illumination has been much appreciated on dark winter evenings.  I am riding the same route as I do in the light, but going the other way, and trust me, the streets change.  Stuff melts and freezes in new places, and you’ve got to go slow and pay attention.

Anyway, just the thought of my commute may be enough to make my pulse race.  But that’s what biking is supposed to do, so for now, tallyho!  I will be on two wheels.

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