Weather: -5 degrees C, snow, snow squalls with a special weather statement related to winter storm conditions. Roads were snow covered with icy sections. Trails were snow covered.
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: MEC thermal arm coverings, 3/4 length cycling pants and a dress with 3/4 sleeves.
“Should I stay or should I go?” (The Clash). That was definitely what I asked myself this morning as I looked out at 6:30 am to see the world blanketed in about 3 inches of snow and a steady snow falling. My first meeting of the day was 8 am and 7 km from home. I decided to go! (below is a photo of the tracks left behind as I left my home).
I left while it was still dark outside so I was loaded up with lights and reflective gear. The cars operating on the road were noticeably sliding and traction for the cars was very poor. Not wanting to contribute to an already harrowing motor vehicle drive, I once again felt obligated to ride on the sidewalks. The City snow plows were working very hard but there was really no space for a car to share the road with a bicycle. Also being a car driver I could imagine the concern I would have seeing a cyclist on the road during a winter storm event.
At my first opportunity I headed into the off-road trail system. What a “Zen” experience it was. Although I was not the first set of tracks on the trails, I did not see anyone or anything except for the mallard ducks frolicking in the sections of open water I passed over or rode alongside on my bike. It was a beautiful ride.
After my meeting I combined my commute back to work between Grand River Transit and cycling.
I left work midday. The snow had fallen, gusted and drifted all day. The ride was slow and technical. I took every chance I had to ride through business parking lots and stay clear of the snow covered, slick and narrow roads. The bike tires operate much better on snow than slush.
All in all, I was glad I chose to ride today and I really built some confidence on a very blustery day!