Thursday, October 11, 2012

Enjoying the fall weather bike style

So OK, the sleet did sort of sting on my face. Not the most favorite part of my bike commute yesterday. I tried to time my ride between the squall lines but didn’t hit it quite right. All day, we had wave after wave of rain and sleet for several minutes with about 30 to 45 minutes of sunshine in between. Forty five minutes of clear weather would be just right for the ride home. But I was delayed a bit in leaving so by the time I got away it was ½ way through the clear, which meant I’d encounter a squall. But after the sleet, the last half the ride was in clear weather. A nice ride overall.

I have always thought it’d be adventurous to be a consistent 3-season bike commuter over a reasonable distance. Many years (and about the same number of pounds) ago, I would sometimes do a 15 mile one-way commute but only on nice days. It required a change of clothes and freshen up in the washroom upon arriving at work so it was not a causal ride. I now have a more reasonable, 15 mile round-trip distance which can be done in street clothes. I frequently ride in during summer; this was the first time I had in October. With the recent addition of a commuter bike (i.e, with fenders and – full disclosure - battery assist) and the with the right rain suit, it was really quite a pleasant ride, aside from the few minutes of sleet. 

I had ridden in to work the previous morning in a warm drizzle which was quite a pleasant ride. I car pooled home that evening, leaving the bike in my office overnight. I car pooled in the next morning then rode home that afternoon. I don't claim to be an everyday bike commuter.

Part of appreciating the place one lives is appreciating and getting out in all weather. And here we have all weather. I don’t intend to ride in the winter. Snowpacked roads are too treacherous (I knew people in Fargo who would put a traction chain on the front wheel of their bike – I don’t need to be that hard-core). And subzero weather is a bit too extreme for me for cycling. But regularly biking in from March through October is quite do-able. People like walks in the rain. Rides in the rain can be enjoyable, too, in their own way. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to forego rides in the summer in shorts to save up my bike riding days for fall rides in the rain. 

When I saw that today’s weather was going to be snow/rain mix all day, I chose to carpool in. Today it was a walk downtown this morning for a coffee instead of a bike ride. It was quite an enjoyable walk in the rain that turned to snow. Looks like we’ll get a little accumulation today. 

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