Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Faster This Time
At - 5 degrees and a few more minutes of sunlight every day, it seemed again that it was going to be a fine commute. After donning a tank top, long sleeved cycling shirt, a hoodie, winter cycling pants, track pants and my cycling jacket plus of course gloves, a helmet and my neck tube , it was 5 after 5 and time to hit the bricks.
Since I ride on the sidewalks, there were still pedestrians to dodge and to try and circle around. Just before Mountain Equipment Co-op, the pedestrian ahead of me turned quickly to look at me and then he stepped aside. As I passed him he said "You sounded ominous!" and I didn't have time to tell him that it was just my studded tires making the unusual sound.
I wasn't much farther west when I came across an older lady on her way home from grocery shopping - to judge from the heavy laden grocery bags in each hand. The sidewalk had been cleared by a narrow snow blower and there was no way to pass her. Luckily, she stepped into a driveway to let me pass. Considering I'm not even supposed to be riding on the sidewalk, she was sincerely apologetic exclaiming "I had nowhere to go or I would have let you pass!" Such accommodating walkers!
The difference between the riding conditions before and after the halfway mark were still noticeable but not as pronounced as my previous ride home. While the city still hasn't cleared off the 14 block bike path, I was smart enough to simply cross the avenue and ride on the sidewalks on the north side of 100 ave. And I hit some deep brown sugar not far from my friend's house on 163 Street which caused me to dismount and push the bike 1/2 block to where the sidewalk resumes.
Large flakes of snow were falling making the trip that much more enjoyable and I appreciated their beauty as a way of distracting myself from the fact that eating only one Cliff bar wasn't enough to power me home. I ran out of gas at 170 Street and had to grind myself the rest of the way home. The thought of a cold Rye and Ginger also helped propel me to my goal and since I had the gingerale in an outside pocket of my knapsack, I knew it was going to be fairly cold and maybe I wouldn't have to fortify my drink with ice cubes.
I made it home 15 minutes faster than the night before and I attribute that decrease to 3 factors. I pushed myself a little harder, I had my route already figured out and whatever new snow had fallen during the day had been shoveled onto the already monstrous snowbanks.