Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Frigid Forks and the Winter Commute

The weather in Seattle has defied convention in this early part of December, with the usual drear and drizzle making way for beautiful, clear skies. It is also cold enough to shatter delicate rims, with temperatures hovering around the low to mid 20s in the early mornings and staying right around freezing during the day. if you drop any precip on this it'll surely be snow, although none is forecast and it looks to stay the same early winter desert condition for the next little while.

Those of us who depend solely on the bicycle for our commuting needs thus find ourselves fielding lots of questions, all of which are some sort of variation on "so how are you getting to work these days, since it is clearly unsafe to ride?"

While there are certainly conditions under which I am reluctant to ride to work, such as the day last winter when I had to stop and push a man in an electric wheelchair up a hill after he'd become stuck on a patch of ice, what we're experiencing is not at all dangerous in terms of riding conditions. It's just cold. And cold can certainly drive some people to change their behavior, but I am way too stubborn for that. Unless there is actual snow and ice on the road, and sometimes even when there is, I am riding, foolhardy or not.

I found this helpful guide for people who for whatever reason (geographic and climactic, personal or emotional) must ride in the snow, but anything beyond slush is a deal breaker even for me. I got kids to feed and can't affort a Horrible Accident.

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