Week 2 – Day 1 – January 11, 2016

Weather: -10°C (with wind chill -16°C), sunny with light snow, 40 km/hr winds gusting to 60 km/hr. Bike lanes were snow covered and slushy.  Trail connections were icy and snow covered but very passable on the soft 4″ tires.

Consistent Attire: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) rain resistant, breathable knee length jacket, motorcycle cold weather leather gloves with high gauntlets, MEC thermal barrier tights and winter boots.

Variable Attire based on the temperature: Sleeveless dress, thermal fleece jacket, Bula microfleece balaclava, contact lens (no more fogged glasses), cycling helmet. Hair is finished in a bun on the top of my head because I think it will be a high cardio sweaty ride.

Winter has arrived in Ontario, Canada! Today was the first day where my winter mettle and the Batpod metal were put to a real test.  When I looked out the window and saw the trees bowing to the wind I really wanted to pack this whole winter riding thing in.  But, I made a promise to me. This blog is really helping me to keep that promise, so thank you for reading and sharing it.

The morning ride was sunny and very windy. There was many times where I was riding in first gear.  Because of the winter storm we had last night the on road bike lanes were thick with snow and slush.  The car lanes looked icy and slippery so in some locations where the road was narrow I rode on the sidewalk.  Sidewalk riding goes against everything I try to stand for, but living to see another day outweighs the potential traffic violation.  I have no patience for glasses fogging up anymore, so I am wearing my contact lens on the bike.  The “contacts” work very well and my eyes did not dry up or even water as much as usual.

I loaded my bike up with lights.  The snow combined with low light results in the world looking black and white.  A black bike and a rider in a brown jacket will just not stand out in those conditions.  So regardless of the time of day I am now riding with a flashing red tail light and a bright white front light.

The bike handled very well on all of the snow, ice, and slush conditions.  The ride was labored, but that was mainly a result of very very heavy panniers.  Today was a laptop, lunch and ipad transfer day. The bags weighted around 20 lbs.  Between the weight, the cold, and the wind my 15 minute 3.3 km ride took closer to 30 minutes.  It was quite the workout. 🙂  Upon arrival at the office I really felt that I had accomplished something and that was a super feeling!

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I had meetings at City Hall starting at 1pm today so I mounted the bike for the 7 km ride to Waterloo City Hall.  For the majority of my ride, I travelled on a multi-use trail.  Below are some photos of the trail conditions during the ride.  I rode on the Forwell trail, Hillside trail, and the Laurel trail.

The trail was lovely to ride on.  The trees blocked the wind and snow.  The fat tires travelled well on the surface.  My ride to City Hall took about 45 minutes, but I did stop a number of times to take photos so the timing is not likely quite right.

After my meetings I needed to take a break from the bike seat 🙂 so I hitched a ride with Grand River Transit back to Conestoga Mall.  The bike will not fit on the front bike rack so I need to ask permission of the driver if I can bring it on board. Today’s driver was not to keen to allow the bike on, but in the end the driver permitted it.

The forecast for tomorrow is a winter storm so we will see if it looks safe to be on the roads when the cars are slip-sliding away.

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