Tuesday, December 8, 2009
We had our first real snow of the winter over the weekend. Roads weren't too bad riding into campus on Monday. Tim and Zeb met me in town. By the time we left Monday evening, it was dark and snowing lightly.
I must say, there is a big psychological difference between riding when there is snow on the ground and riding when it is actively snowing. As we made our way down Main Street, the chimes at the college began to play Christmas carols. I can tell you, there is nothing that makes me feel more cold and lonely than hearing Christmas carols while riding at night through the falling snow with five miles to go before reaching home.
Tim and I took it slow on the way home. The roads weren't bad, per se, but there was layer of snow and slush on them, deeper on the shoulders. As we left town, a white car that was passing us slowed down. The window rolled down and a disembodied voice said, "You people are crazy." Then up went the window and off went the car.
Are we crazy? Maybe. A van passed us a little while later as we were climbing a hill. The van slowed down and the driver asked Tim if we were ok. Tim said we were fine and waved them on.
We did make it home, uneventfully. But I do wonder a bit about mixing snow and darkness. I think being on a bike is safe enough. In those conditions I generally go slow enough that a fall would be bruising, but not serious. And if things got that bad, I could always get off and walk. What worries me is the cars that are on the road. Snow, darkness, and a driver who is in a bit too much of a hurry could be fatal.
Tim and I talked about it on the ride home and later that evening. We've decided to open more options: either of us can and should stay home if the conditions are too sketchy; Tim can take the car if getting somewhere seems extremely important; and we can creatively plan trips around the weather. In the next few days Tim is going to bring our sleeping bags and some spare diapers into town. We'll stash them somewhere on campus. Then, if we get caught in town with bad road conditions, we can simply stay there. It might be fun: we can swim at the pool, see the events, eat at the cafeteria, like a mini-vacation.
We've only got eight days left in the experiment. We've been quite lucky with the mild autumn this year. We could have had this snow in the end of October, so I guess I can't complain.