Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bike Route Reopened But Challenges Remain

After nearly two weeks off the bike due to over two feet of snow and a longer wait than usual at seeing plowed streets in our area I pedaled to work last Thursday and Friday. While not completely free of ice and chunks of snow, the urban trail was very passable and Pulliam Drive, on which I chose to ride, free enough of traffic to make maneuvering the ice patches quite easy.

The cold was another matter. The temperature during my morning commute hovered around 15 degrees. I wrapped a wool scarf around the lower half of my face and replaced my Nutcase helmet with a fleece hat that fit over my ears. My NorthFace mittens proved to be an improvement over the leather, fur-lined mittens, but my fingers still hurt by the time I arrived at work (my face streaming with tears and mascara running due to the bitter cold) so I'll be looking for some warming gel packs to slip inside the tops of the mittens. I am pleased to report though that the Hot Chillys leggings kept me perfectly warm. I pulled them over my tights and wore them under an above-the-knee skirt.

Sadly for the bike commuter in me, it is now again snowing. We expect 4 - 8 inches by tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, I have yet to purchase studded tires. On the bright side, Bob gave me Tubbs Flex Alp snowshoes for my birthday; state-of-the-art light-weight snowshoes for women. Plus poles. So, there you have it, yet another alternative to car reliance. And, its a great work out.

Frigid temperatures outdoors are always a great excuse for cozy activities indoors. In keeping with our efforts to live more simply (even during the holiday season) we stayed home Friday night, sat by the fire, and played Scrabble. Bob won the game due to the fact that Splash, one of our Australian Shepherds helping him cheat. I consoled myself by baking thumbprint cookies, which Bob admitted were amazing despite being prepared with whole wheat flour and oatmeal.


portlandize.com said...

We had some 15 degree temperatures in Portland a couple weeks ago, which is nearly unheard of - I'm lucky I'm a pretty warm person, but still had a shirt, sweater, heavy wool coat, knit wool hat with earflaps, wool scarf, jeans, wool socks and leather shoes. Reminded me of bundling up to go outside in Lithuania during the winter, which was weird :) Did pretty well though, the only part of me that got really cold was my face, so I was pretty happy about that. Haven't had to deal with snow and ice yet this year though, as it was clear and dry that week. Now we're back to 38 degrees and raining. Ugh :)

The nice thing about riding in really cold weather like that, is that cup of coffee/tea/hot cider at the end of the ride tastes *really* good :D

Emma J said...

Glad to see you're back on the bike - but snowshoes look like a great option! And you make the simple life look elegant as well as deliciously cozy.

rcp4 said...

So happy to see you posting again and sharing the Flagstaff experience with us. I walk my dogs every morning, come rain, snow, etc. (exception is lightning or pouring rain). It's cold here in Prescott, but much warmer than Flag. Yesterday a.m. was 30 degrees with windchill of 20F. Brr. The wind is what makes it feel cold. A suggestion for your hands is to use a wool glove inside your mittens. Wool insulates fantastically as a layer.

Trisha said...

Ooh, snowshoes. I have always wanted to try them! Seems very Little HOuse on the Prairie for some reason, although yours look very sleek and modern.

I second the wool glove liners -- I just got some this year and it's amazing how much warmer they make my cheapo black Alabama-weight gloves. :) Got mine at Sierra Trading Post for under $10.