Drive My Bike


A Day Of Firsts
November 4, 2008, 10:04 pm
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The weather forecast was predicting snow sometime today, and I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated at the thought of possibly having to ride in snow for the first time. Little did I know that I was going to have two different kinds of “firsts” today.

RainyWindow 

I voted before work this morning, so I got started on my commute about an hour later than usual, and by then the sky was darkening and the winds were shifting. When I finally hit the road the temperature was about 45 (F) and dropping quickly. I had a strong headwind for the first mile or so. I passed another biker on the other side of the road heading in the opposite direction. We waved at each other, two obvious members of the brotherhood of the slightly crazy bike commuters. The headwind got stronger, and then the rain started. That was the first of the “firsts”.

I know that some of you have to ride in the rain a lot, but until today I had only ridden in a couple of light showers that really didn’t even count. However, this morning certainly made up for things! About two miles into my five mile commute things started to get pretty exciting. The rain got heavy, and the headwinds started mixing with crosswind gusts so strong that they actually blew me around the road, and I had to be careful to not get blown over. I had my cold weather gear on, so I was warm, and my windbreaker is fairly waterproof, so my top half was dry… but I only had shorts and thermals on my lower half, so by the time I got to work my legs were pretty soaked.

In spite of all of this craziness I have to admit that there was a bit of fun and adventure to be had. Somewhere inside I sensed that little bit of rebellion that you get when you are a kid and you just keep playing as the rain pours down, and you think to yourself “Ha, I really shouldn’t be out here… but I am!” The other thing that kept my mind busy was watching the looks of the faces of the drivers I encountered, and wondering what they were thinking as the crazy guy in the bright yellow windbreaker came pedaling by on this blustery day.

The other “first” happened on the way home. Thankfully the weather had cleared a good bit, and although it did actually snow for about an hour mid-day, the roads were clear and the sun even showed up. It was in the low 40s, so I bundled up and set out for home a bit early to take advantage of the break in the weather. I had to wait for a stop light at the two mile mark, and when the light turned green and I started to pedal something popped while I was right in the middle of the intersection. I looked down and thought my chain had just derailed, but to my surprise the chain was actually broken and dragging on the street! I had never broken a chain before.

I quickly hopped off, ran the bike through the intersection, and found a grassy spot in front of the corner 7-11 to assess the damages. I was riding the Trek that I rebuilt, and I did replace the chain as part of the rebuild, but I don’t think the link that broke was the one the I fastened. Anyway, I was glad that I had my Crank Brothers multi-tool with the chain breaker tool, and I was glad for the rebuild experience since that was when I learned how to fasten a link. After a few minutes I had the chain fixed and was able to resume my commute.

A big wet storm… a broken chain…wow… what a crazy day!

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3 Comments so far
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Scott,
Glad to know that I am not the only one trying out this winter riding thing in Utah. You are a brave man
I am curious to know if you ventured out and road your bike with today’s morning snow storm?
I seriously thought about it, but I figured that since I am just starting out with my winter bike commute, it might be safer for me to wait until after this first storm, and ease my way into concurring the rough roads.
As you very well know since you also live in the area, Utah drivers seem to forget how to drive in the snow during the first snow storm of the season.

Comment by Bobby D

Bobby, I’m really glad that you are reading and commenting, because it is nice to know there’s someone out there thinking about riding in the same weather I’m in. No, I didn’t ride this morning, but I had the same thoughts you did. 🙂 As I look out the window, the snow seems to be getting heavier by the minute. The roads will be nasty today no matter what you are driving! Glad I’m working from home today.

Comment by Scott

Maybe you guys should think about studded tires for your bikes?

It doesn’t snow much here, but I have been out in it. Just like driving a car… no sudden turns or braking and you will be ok.

Comment by Bob




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