Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday - the day my bike froze still

I mentioned recently that the last snow storm dumped 2 feet of snow over everything in my area, which made my usual work commute a bit more difficult. Not because of the inaccessible bike paths (they were plowed the next day) but because the bike rack in front of my office building got buried in a massive snow pile. This left me with no good spot to park my bike. This is how the bike rack looked last week:
And this is how it looks now:
It's somewhere there. You will have to believe me. Yes, we've got more snow (clearly we had not enough), with even more coming every other day. Such as this morning. It started snowing heavily when I left my house and because this white stuff was blowing into my face, my today's commute was not particularly enjoyable. Well, at least it was warm (around 32F or 0C).
The bigger problem emerged later - something I didn't expect, even though I should've probably anticipated it coming. The air temperature dropped a lot during the day and when I was leaving my office at 5 p.m. it was only about 14F (-10C). But because my bike was left outside, wet and covered with morning snow, it froze - pretty much completely. It turned out that the rear brake was frozen solid but fortunately I managed to get the front one working after short struggle. The shifter cable was stuck as well but thankfully it started operating properly after the first few hundred feet. Cranks and chain were super stiff and I had to spin them for some time to get them going again. Overall, that was all a new experience. I've never had a chance to ride a frozen bicycle. I managed to get home safely and slowly even though the rear brake was still stuck tight once I arrived at Arlington.

I noticed that despite the last generous snowfall, DPWs of Lexington and Bedford keep up a very good work at plowing the Minuteman Bikeway. Sometimes I feel like I'm rolling on a winter cycling superhighway.
Minuteman Bikeway in Bedford, MA

However, I can't say the same about the section in my home town. Once you cross the Lexington-Arlington border you quickly notice that the Minuteman becomes much narrower and is covered with piles of snow. It clearly hasn't been plowed in a while. It is still accessible and usable but it's much more difficult to ride bikes there. Is Arlington's DPW sleeping or did they completely give up on plowing the bike paths assuming everyone should get a fat bike anyway?

More snow to come next week. I don't have a fat bike so I can't say I can't wait for the white stuff to blow into my face again.

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