Sunday, January 09, 2011

Biking in the Snow

Friday morning's snowfall set off a series of huddles between Amy and me. Does she drive us all to work and school? How will she make it to work on time? What about traffic coming home?

But then I went outside to clean off her car and saw how light and powdery the snow was. To be sure, it was a fair amount, enough to accumulate. But it wasn't either too thick or too slippery to attempt the commute by bike. So I told Amy I could take the kids in the morning as usual.

If anything, the snow softened everything: things seemed less frigid, quieter, even beautiful. We three enjoyed the short walk to Jada's school, and as usual, she hopped her way down the half-block from the corner to the courtyard before turning around to wave us goodbye.

From there, Aaron and I gave our two wheels a try. The bike lane was covered in snow, but that was a blessing in disguise: no chance of skidding, much cleaner than the dirtier main parts of the road where cars were, and not nearly thick enough to offer much resistance.

We did have one heart-stopping moment. As I was slowly pedaling up an incline towards a major intersection, we were neck and neck with a snowplow. At the intersection, I looked through the snowplow to make sure no one was coming the other way before heading forward. Unfortunately, the snowplow, which I guess didn't see me (even though I was literally bobbing up and down right outside his passenger side window for several seconds), decided to turn right, right into me. I slammed on the brakes, which didn't help much, and steered the bike hard to the right (kind of like a hockey stop). The snowplow helped by taking a very wide right turn instead of a sharp one. I waited through one cycle of lights at that intersection to catch my breath and shove my heart back down from my mouth back into my rib cage.

From there, it was smooth sailing. No one was going very fast, least of all me, and it was actually kind of fun to crunch through the snow while cars were tackling the far harder task of driving on the slicker roads without skidding.

Aaron didn't have so much fun, I guess; because he's just sitting there, he can get pretty cold, even though I had bundled him up pretty good. So when we arrived at school, he was eager to get inside. But I take comfort that we got there - and home - in one piece.
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