Friday, February 16, 2007

Back In The Saddle

It was 12° and clear so I had no excuse not to bike home today. Work, family, heavy snows and a lack of resolve prevented me from biking for almost two weeks. So I was quite happy to get out there again this evening. Strong south southwesterly winds also helped. I practically coasted home.

The Lakefront Trail had the usual assortment of frozen slush, brackish puddles, hard crusted snow, and chunky salt. For the most part it was passable. The only area that I had to occasionally walk the bike was between Ohio Street Beach and the Oak Street curve. At the ramp adjacent to the Ohio Street Beach there were 2-3' snow drifts blocking the way. So I had to carry the bike and post hole through it. I saw another bicyclist walk his bike all the way down the ramp. I chose to climb aboard as soon as the surface was flat. From the tracks on the ramp I saw a number of bikers preceded me. But it was rough going. What was once slush was now like rippling rock and concrete. Once I got off the ramp and along the flats the bumps lessened a bit. It was smoother going higher up the bank.

Approaching the curve the snow got deeper and I was forced to dismount. The bicyclist in front of me opted to walk his bike near the water where it was pretty flat. Along the wall the snow was blown away forming a slight path. Other bicyclists and pedestrians packed down this path but it was too rough to bike until the path cleared completely.

Naturally the bike path was nearly deserted except for the aforementioned bicyclist and about a dozen runners. But it was a really pleasant ride up the shore; the strong tailwind certainly helped.

The city streets were slightly more hectic than I was used to. I nearly ran into a goof in his beater turning left from oncoming traffic into my path. I fishtailed while avoiding a broadside collision. I angrily slapped at the rear of his car but my heavy mitten rendered the blow to that of a declawed cat. Another pinhead nearly ran into me as she zoomed out of a parking lot. I slowed and flashed my headlamp in her face in yet another impotent gesture.

Wilmette's portion of the Green Bay Trail was impassable. They make absolutely no effort to clear the path of snow. Fortunately they clear their sidewalks because biking on the brick streets really blows. The Kenilworth and Winnetka stretches of the Green Bay Trail were cleared quite nicely however.

Distance Traveled: 24.3 miles
Distance to date: 1921.2 miles
Price of gas: $2.39

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