Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another Townie Bike, Skiing from Work, and Kinda Like a Ski Resort For Under $30

Eventually, one reaches a point of acceptance. I have reached that point. I accept that I will likely not be on my Breezer Uptown 8 for quite some time. The snow covering the bike lanes and multi use paths is likely to be with us for a bit longer. The drivers of unnecessarily large SUVs will continue to drive a high rates of speed over icy patches while text messaging. Due to a $700 vet bill today and a likely pay cut to close the budget gap, this public employee cannot afford studded tires and will continue to only dream about navigating the snow covered streets in the elegant but functional Oma Workcycle.

Several weeks ago in between the December blizzard of the decade and the 4-day January snow offering (54 inches deposited, I believe), the snow receded well enough on the bike lanes and paths for me to take an excursion to New Frontiers for bread and cheese. Upon arriving, I found this nifty townie bike locked characteristically to one of the generous bike racks under the New Frontier covered porch. I say "characteristically" because New Frontiers is one of the few establishments in town where I am likely to see other shoppers roaming the aisles with their bikes helmets and panniers under one arm and a loaf of artisan bread and a copy of Utne under the other. Anyway, I found the slightly rusty finish and the faded paint of the town bike utterly charming and wondered if it was indeed a vintage bike pulled out of the landfill or extracted from gramma's old woodshed. Not that it matters. Other than my preference for step-through frames and an upright seating position, I am really not a bike snob.

Snow was predicted today but never came. It is predicted tonight and tomorrow. If it looks do-able, I'll attempt to navigate the Breezer down the steep and slippery driveway tomorrow. If its snowing I'll just pack my skis and ski home, as I did this afternoon. Those skis were definitely one of the best Christmas gifts ever. No, it is not bike commuting but it proves an acceptable substitute for the car. Today's skiing conditions were perfect. The snow deep, well packed, and just slick enough for a good glide. I spent 30 minutes extra practicing hills, which still challenge my courage.

I referenced ski resorts in my title. Given the economic times, the Planner Guy and I can't really afford ski resorts, even the sort-of ski resort in Flagstaff. Happily for us, our friend Dave built a house in Mountainaire that, for me, is like his own private ski resort. He invited a pack of people, including us, out to his house this past Sunday afternoon for 5 hours of skiing in the Coconino National Forest to which he has access literally in his back yard. His house is rustic, warm and welcoming. We packed beer and snacks for the outing and stopped a few times to rest and partake. Three trusty canine companions joined our group, one of which circled me whenever I appeared to be having trouble. At the end of the trip we gathered in David's kitchen for a pot luck of warm and hearty fare of which we all enjoyed several helpings, and of course, beer and wine. The day and the people kept all thoughts of the recession far, far away.


Dottie said...

So. Much. Snow. It's awesome that you ski for transportation. I've never even thought of that before.

bikeolounger said...

Don't feel bad about reaching your point of acceptance. Each of us has our personal weather/road condition threshold. Yours sounds prudent rather than foolhardy. That you get to ski home beats having to drive!

Again, "Why drive when I can ski/bike/walk?" seems to run counter to our societal norms, but it works for you.

RidingPretty said...

First off I loved the bit about your dog guardian friend who loyally, caringly looked after you!

Love the One (bicycle) You're With" to quote that old Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song - that's what I say!

If we all put off riding a bicycle until we could have (afford really) the Dream Bicycle of our Mirage...that could take a long time. Especially when we're talking Oma, Pashley, Bats to name a few.

Given economic realities your situation is my predicament as well. I didn't have the $700.00 vet bill, and/or a pending pay cut but I find myself in a similar scenario as yourself. Alas I can't join the '2K bicycle girls bicycle club' yet myself!! Though I highly recommend it to those who can do it.

Yeah for walking and skiing until the spring season returns again for safe and pleasurable bicycle riding on your Breezer!

Bliss Chick said...

The biking scene is the same here in Montana. I thought the roads had cleared off enough for biking (Be still my heart!) and then it snowed again. I've been having sooo much fun x-country skiing, though, and it looks like you're doing the same. Don't despair.

Emma J said...

I think it's wonderful you ski to work and great that you have friends in high (altitude) places! It's the choosing to travel under your own power that matters more than the equipment you use it seems to me and I'm inspired by your commetment to do things differently despite weather or anything else. Also, love that faded old bike!

Emma J said...

I mean "commitment" of course.

100255135428896634014 said...

Thanks for the fun article. I live in a mountain town--close to a ski resort, though I hardly get up there. I bike. No matter how cold or icy...though not a classic as you highlight.

Thanks for sharing.

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