Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First snow ride of the season

They warned us. We knew it was coming. We had been preparing for it. Yet, here it was, and the very reality of it was a matter of both some concern and light-hearted ribbing. (To wit: Gaaah! Gotta run out and stock up on milk and batteries and TP!) Of course it snows in Pittsburgh, especially by the middle of November. It's perfectly normal and reasonable.

But still. To bicycle in it? Yes, that does take some preparation, both material and mental.

3:00 a.m., as I often do, I was up to check on things at work (and not to then spend an hour on social media), and looking out the window, I saw white. Yep, it snowed, about an inch, by the looks of it. I crawled back in bed for another three hours. Daylight came, and I got a better look at it. Still no snow on the street, and since I hadn't heard a salt truck, it could not have been too cold. If it hit grass, it stuck. If it hit pavement, even a cement sidewalk, it melted. This is the type of snow you can clear your car off in four seconds with an old windshield wiper blade.

For the bike, though, preparations were really no different from any day with a cold rain. The streets would be wet, and what little snow was there would be melting, so I could expect things like thermoplastic paint stripes to be slippy (Pittsburghese for slippery).

For myself, again, really nothing different from any cold day, though not bitter cold. I knew I'd only be riding three miles or so, so did not try to dress too warmly. Still, in the last two minutes before going out the door, I started to get a bit too warm. That's good. It mainly meant I'd be fine once I got outside.

Once on the bike, it was simple to adjust the height of the zipper on my light jacket. I started with it down about two inches, which proved adequate. Too high up, I'd get too warm. Too far down, I'd be cold right away.

As expected, I was fine in the three miles to the bus stop. Sitting on the bus, my toes are a tad chilly, but nothing serious. If I had tried to bike the whole 11 miles, it might be a different story, but this was good enough.

OK, one down, 100 more snowy days to go.


  1. "But what do you do when it snows?" I am often asked as a cyclist. Well, start here. This was an easy one.

  2. When people ask me , "What about when it snows?" My reply has been, "Well, I guess it will be cold."