Thursday, January 6, 2011

Joys of Winter Riding

On my way to the hardware store the other afternoon, I cut behind a community center with an ice rink set up behind it.  Unbeknownst to me, I had ridden across a huge sheet of ice a couple of inches thick.  When I realized what I had done, I dismounted and marvelled at how well my studs had handled that slick surface.  So slick that I couldn't stand on it to photograph, but had to kneel down to maintain my balance.  Upon reflection I realized that the ramp leading to the rink had been coated in ice to aid skaters venturing from the community hall changeroom to the ice surface itself.

Bike riding in the winter is enjoyable on many levels -  one of them being the fact that streets and sidewalks are free of pedestrians and cars.  Another joy at this time of the year with our many hours of darkness is the display of "Winter Lights" that brighten the long winter night.  With more and more of these lights being LED lights, the harm to the environment from producing electricity is lessened.

I went out last night to photograph a nice scene I had found two nights ago on a ride around the neighbourhood but alas the scene was no longer lit by the spotlights the owner had strategically placed to great artistic effect.  The virgin snow I had wanted to capture in the picture had been trampled by kids playing outside so I rode around looking for other possibilities.

The possibilities seem endless even though the nights are getting shorter (another way of saying the days are getting longer).

Another thing about winter riding is that everything gets levelled out.  You wouldn't know it from the above photo but in seasons of the year that don't have snow, there is a very nasty bump where the roadway meets this bicycle trail (just behind the snowbank behind the rear wheel) and when it snows you can ride over this joint smooth as silk.  The same with rim-bashing curbs and those annoying concrete parking stall dividers.

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