Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sometimes, it's about NOT riding

One of the things I've tried to do with this blog is too keep it focused on bicycling. After all, I called this Kent's Bike Blog, not Kent's Blog of Political Views, Kent's Soup Recipes or Kent's Weather Blog. And since I haven't been riding these past few days, I was keeping mum. But then my friend Michael Rasmussen (the bike commuter, not the bike racer) sent me this pithy missive:

six inches of snow is tough to ride through.

Blog it!
or your coping mechanism...

OK Michael, even though my pal Tammy said it eloquently on her blog when she said "this is not the weather channel", I'm going to talk about the weather.

It sounds stupid when I say it this year, but Issaquah usually doesn't get much snow downtown. Yeah, the low mountains get a dusting and when you get up into the Cascades there is lots of snow but normally in the valley we either get cold dry weather or warm damp weather. But last week we got hit. Six inches of snow and temp has stayed below freezing for days.

I have studded snow tires but I also have a really lovely, concerned wife and a lot to live for. And while I can kind of slip-slide my way around, the thought of multi-ton SUVs slip-sliding around made even a macho-stupid guy like me think this over. Thursday I took the bus to work.

Actually, the bus I thought I'd take to work never showed up. The Sound Transit bus couldn't make it up to the Issaquah Highlands so they scrapped that run. King County Metro, which runs smaller buses equipped with snow chains, kept their routes running. I rode the 214 from Issaquah to Seattle, listening to the crunching of the chains on the snow and ice, looking at a lot of parked and sliding cars and trucks.

There wasn't nearly as much snow in Seattle. Mark and John both rode to work but most of my human-powered friends opted for transporting themselves by pedestrian or mass-transit means. The Safeway Dot Com trucks couldn't deliver in the snow and ice so Christine has a mini vacation for the duration of the foul weather. Even the Seattle International Randonneurs, a group most folks would call stupid-tough, cancelled their Saturday ride.

And so I've been taking the bus, walking around and spending time with my wife. The pictures here are from Saturday and the snow has barely started to melt. And while we were out, new flakes began to fall. The gears of this world have not quite ground to a halt but it is a good time to hunker down. I am hiking down snowy trails, taking pictures of frozen things, buying grippy boots and re-learning how to bundle up. I am staring at maps and plotting summer adventures.

And we made a big pot of soup last night.

I recently wrote to a friend that rest is as important as riding. Some times it is the time not to ride. Now is one of those times for me.



4 comments:

beth h said...

Omigosh it's pretty where you are! Thanks for sharing the pix.

ChinookPass said...

This weather is amazing! What a break from the normal routine! I hope the kids remember for a long time the 6 days in-a-row of sledding through the 'hood. I know the snowy rides through Soaring Eagle park on the mtb have been fantastic. Unfortunately, the bike commute to Kent is grounded until the thaw completes.

Cody G. said...

I beg to differ!

I'm in Iowa City, IA with a few inches of snow on the ground and a few more coming this weekend, and it's my favorite time to ride my bike. It certainly is a lot of work and can double your commute time, but the thrill of riding in snow makes me feel like a kid.

Granted, we're used to a bit of snow each winter, and at the first sign of a flake the city crews are out plowing and laying down a salt & sand mixture. That said, it's way better to stick to smaller side streets, since they tend not to plow those. There is less car traffic and, oh yes indeedy... more snow!

Check out http://www.icebike.org/ for tips and sometimes strange advice for riding in snow.

Kent Peterson said...

Yeah, back when I lived in Duluth MN I did plenty of ice biking. But this video from Portland gives you a good idea of what this latest batch of weather was like in terms of the drivers in the Pacific NW.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SPE8vL5hlFA