Monday, July 18, 2011

The "Icycle Bicycle" ride that wasn’t (Jan. 1, 2008)

Current mood: warm

"Icycle Bicycle" is a 30-year Pittsburgh tradition of cyclists taking a spin on New Year's Day, no matter what the weather. Today's (Jan. 1, 2008) weather in Pittsburgh was to provide no joyride -- cold (20s), gusty winds, the promise of snow. While the white stuff ended up not being much of a factor, those winds were fierce, making the wind chill close to dangerous.

That notwithstanding, I planned to join them, and in fact started off to do so, but it didn't happen. I jammed a chain about four miles out, an irritation that took almost a half hour to untangle. I've had that bike over 30 years and cannot ever recall getting it that jammed.

Anyway, by the time I was back in action, I would have been almost a half hour late, so just turned around and went home. At least I got seven or eight miles in, though, on a day that I well could -- should -- have just stayed indoors. If I ever do have to venture out in truly cold weather, though, I will know to wear a pair of socks over my gloves. That wind chill went right through just the gloves alone.


bus15237 said...

Since it's one of the hottest days of the summer, I thought this would be a good reminder of what it's like NOT to be hot.

bus15237 said...

Original comment from 2008:

Stuart Strickland
Just as a follow-up, on January 2 I did make a trip Downtown by bike. That morning the area got about three inches of new snow, enough to cause many school districts to implement two-hour delays.

By the time I started out, around 10:30, the temperature had warmed up enough to melt some of that snow, and of course the salt had by then gotten worked in, too. Net effect: Very sloppy, occasionally a bit hazardous with a slush pile on the roadway. Of course, by one mile out, I was close to soaked and covered with road crud. Downtown is 12 miles.

Nevertheless, I went to my business meeting in a major Downtown office building, stopping at the restroom to pick up a pile of paper towels to sit on, so I wouldn't soak the chair for whoever had to sit in the same chair in a later meeting.

To those who say it cannot be done, though: Never say die! Yes it CAN be done! If I can make it Downtown by bicycle in 38 degree slush, then a whole lot more people can make it Downtown when it's 68 and perfectly dry!

bus15237 said...

2011 follow-up to that 2008 comment: I have since added fenders to the bike and learned how not to get so covered in slop while riding in the snow. Anything can be learned. Nothing is an excuse.