Commute by bike at your own peril

Commute by bike at your own peril

Last year, I did not ride my bike at all during the month of January, because the roads and bike paths turn into icy death traps.

This year, I am either stupider or more impatient, or both. I just can't be bothered to walk to work (20+ minutes) when I can bike in under 10 (5 in good weather). I've cycled to work every day in January so far...or at least brought my bike, even if I hop off and walk through the slipperiest parts.

Because you guys, it is SO scary out there. I may have saved myself accumulated hours in commuting time, but I have probably lost years of my life from sheer terror as I ride my bike on those bike paths. It is super YIKES. I was about to write about the worst conditions I've experienced, but there are so many worsts. Frozen ruts in the ice obscured by a thin layer of snow: WORST. Slush mixed with ice and you can't tell which is which: WORST. A cleared or graveled path with that one unexpected section that is just pure ice and all you can do is hold on and kind of scream inside as you glide over it: WORST. Cheating and riding up the wrong way of the bike path because that side is clearer, and then having to move over to more treacherous terrain because another cyclist is coming: WORST.

I have gained something of a feel for the different road conditions. I can almost tell from the crunching sound under the tires whether it's slick or not. By sight, it's a little tougher.

There's probably-safe packed snow with gravel on top:

and not-graveled but still probably-safe packed snow:

Then there's iffy mix type 1:

and iffy mix type 2:

It's like a grab bag of slipperyness. What kind will you get today?

So yes, I'm still riding my bike, but I do get off and walk it during the worst parts. And I go plenty slow if needed.

Student teaching in Finland

Student teaching in Finland

Washing machine label rave

Washing machine label rave