Friday, January 10, 2014

Slick and Tired

Bicycles are frozen in place. Snowplows scoured frozen sidewalk
 and road edges, leaving surreal ice blocks.
It's slick out there.

After falling flat on my back, then losing my footing on an icy bank between parking meter and my car, which left me sprawled with one hand wedged above my head between two utility poles, I hope that's the end of my winter mishaps.

For now, I'm singing the praises of salt trucks, which leave white-stained but walkable and rideable surfaces—for brave cyclists anyway—making travel safe for everyone. Recently, a driving rain fell, which became slippery, ice-covered conditions when the temperatures fell. Days later, sidewalks have improved and I'm venturing out for much needed exercise.

Outlying areas aren't so lucky. Dirt roads have three inches of glazed ice. While public roads are sanded, private roads are left to owner's whims and abilities, especially what each considers adequate road maintenance. I work in a home office (not my own) and for years have been at the mercy of winter weather gods. Now, I drive a treacherous .75 mile driveway, park, then shuffle towards the house like an old lady. Once I manage the 100-foot distance to office entrance, I negotiate 3 ice-filled wooden steps, which I'm reduced to navigating on hands and knees. It's quite comical, especially when my boss comes out to lend me a hand, laughing yet oblivious to improving stairway conditions. I'm used to my employers' odd behavior; they're overly generous in more heartfelt ways, something I've grown accustomed to.

I often would cut across this field on my early morning walk.
Not so, now that the landscape resembles a skating rink.
I know that someday I'll laugh and reminisce about this winter. Much like the 30" Valentine's Day snow storm, or 2011's record snowfall, or 1998's ice storm that brought electricians from all over the country to help restore power to hundreds of thousands of Vermont homes, this year's ice-ladened trees and shimmering landscape will soon be—I hope—another memory.

Our household compost bucket is overflowing. I can't bring myself to travel 100 feet of backyard ice to empty rotting vegetables into a larger receptacle. I suppose the wretched smell will eventually make my husband or me brave the skating rink.

If I can't ski, I'm ready for a January thaw. Enough to wash and clear salty road debris. When and if that happens, my bike and I will be out the door, pronto.

4 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of studded tires from November to March. It frees me up to ride through pretty much whatever and makes winter riding possible in a way that wouldn't be imaginable otherwise.

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    1. I see many people using studded tires around town. I'm glad it works for you. For me, it's not worth it when I can walk to anything I need on weekends. I don't ride 11 miles on narrow, unlit country roads to work from November to March. When there is more daylight and roads are clear, I'll regularly get back on the bike. But still, I dream of a few dry days in January and February to dally on my bike.

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  2. Even studded tires cant save you sometimes. I, myself, will wait for clear roads and trails.

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