Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Winter cycling 2019

Winter cycling 2019

It is winter in Finland, and with winter in Finland comes bike commuting in winter in Finland.

Last week I rode to work one morning in iffy but manageable snow. But by afternoon, it had warmed up just above freezing and was sleeting. The paths had turned into a slushy mess and I was slipping and sliding all over the place with globs of wet ice pelting my face for all four kilometers. I got home and, exhausted and frustrated by the unpleasant ride, parked my bike in the shed as usual and forgot all about it.

Until the next time I went to ride my bike. The temperature had dropped significantly to maybe 5 below. And everything on my bike that could move, everything that had been soaked in slush a few days before - brakes, gears, pedals - was frozen solid. Not even brute force could get things unstuck. So I put the kettle on and boiled some water and then poured it all over my bike. As one does.

That got everything unstuck except one of the brakes. Oh yeah, pro tip: if you are riding in the wintertime, especially in temperatures that fluctuate or hover between just above freezing and just below, always, ALWAYS check your brakes before you get going. Just give ‘em a squeeze. I had the extremely unfortunate experience of setting out for work one winter morning last year and realizing, upon going down a huge hill, that my brakes were frozen solid. It was horrifying. I had to make a semi-controlled crash into a snowbank at the side of the path in front of some very bewildered schoolchildren.

I got the other brake unstuck yesterday (I just took it inside and it thawed enough to come free), so now I am all set to keep riding my bike to work in the winter, in FInland.

January 18th, outsourced

January 11th, outsourced