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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hot Air Balloon Ride!

HOnestly, that's what Tuesday's cruise home reminded me of, except for the temperature.

I'd come in with 46 degree temps and extra clothes in the bag... except I forgot the bag. Went to bookstore to buy the "storm duds" pants which fortunately were *the only* item of clothing there in my size.
Cruised to bike shop to peek at Dahon catalog at lunch. Wind blew me back but it was only 15-20 mph. Returned 2:10, temp. 52 .
Severe thunderstorm warnings with the real thing arriving ... then at 5-ish I peek out and dang it, the yahoo has turned on the light of the Trek that is parked out there with mine. I go out nobly to turn it off; the batteries are pretty worn down. My light's out because of this dingbat. It's the third time s/he/it's decided to turn our lights on (tho' when I'm on the red bike with the generator it doesn't matter). Welp, it shall inspire me perhaps to request on the grounds of Sustainability ("a priority" this year for the college) that we get bicycle lockers. I duly note that there's a sheet of ice over everything and check to find it's 26 degrees now. Winds picking up.

But that hot air balloon thing...
6:00 makes its inexorable appearance. Winds have picked up more. Snow is horizontal and moving fast. I didn't bring my spare head lamp, but actually, because of all the white suspension (that is, nonetheless, not too heavy 'cause of course, there was a break between squalls when it was time for me to leave) the ambient light is 'way above normal.
I hop on the Gazelle, again appreciating the built-in lock that never requires contact between my hands and metal. Take off across the parking lot and all the lights go out. I consider whether taking off in this is foolhardy. I notice that I'm not pedaling, and my 50-pound bicycle and I are coasting... up hill. I turn south and I'm *not* blown around. There's snow and ice but the studs are simply happily munching on it. While waiting at the light a splotch of liquid from somewhere spatters my face and I look around... and realize it probably sailed from some vehicle long gone, 'cause the spray could have been airborne for half a mile.
Eastward again, then South down Country Fair. Cars are giving me plenty of room, and they're not sliding, either; guess the pavement is still warm.
Cross Springfield - bank says it's 13 degrees. Sheesh!
The rest of the route is mostly Eastbound, and I'm mostly coasting in near silence because if you're with the wind, you're just with the wind. It's only that horizontal snow going just a tad faster that tells me just how glad I should be that things aren't in reverse :) There's never anything overtly scary... but I definitely didn't feel really in *control* ... but hey, that's probably true more often than I think.

Today's forecast has all of the Snow Phrases: showers, giving way to steady snow by evening... and then the so lighthearted-sounding "snow, heavy at times" through the night.
I can truly laugh at the argument that kept me from getting the studs at first: "So what do we usually have in a winter... two days where studs would be needed?" I believe we're goin' on 14..

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