Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Joys of January

I rode my bike to work every day last week. It's been six weeks or more since I've been able to say that, what with holidays around Christmas, and the Vancouver black ice. I think I'm a little more chicken after my crash last February so I might have missed a few days that I would have ridden last year.

The problem with winter cycling in Vancouver is that we have so many days that are right on the edge of freezing. For example, last week we had two days with snow on the ground overnight at my house, but down the hill on Commercial Drive (maybe 25m lower) there was only rain.

This translates into conditions that are hard to guess. The day I crashed last year I had ridden about 10 kms already, over a range of elevations, and had pretty good traction. Then suddenly in one roundabout I'm sliding along the pavement on my hip and shoulder.

We get days where the fog off the ocean touches the pavement and freezes. Now that I'm getting too old to crash I'm trying to talk myself out of riding when there might be ice. But it's frustrating because the freezing nights are usually because the sky is clear, so those are the days where the afternoon might nice.

The last couple of weeks have been less icy, but only because we're going through the typical Vancouver rainfest. So one rides every day, with water streaming off one's face...