Tuesday, January 08, 2008

False Spring of Flowing Water

Primary Day here in New Hampshire has brought a great backdrop for politicians focusing on global warming. It feels like spring out there.

"Why didn't you ride?" asked a friend of mine at the polls.

I explained that I'd gotten a nasty head cold, after an 18-day work marathon over the so-called holidays. Thanks, Vacationing Public! But beyond that, mere warmth and sunshine does not make a good riding day when a deep snow pack still covers the landscape.

Thick snowbanks hold deep puddles and streams of silty brine along the sides of the road. You'll end up wearing plenty of that within a few miles. Wherever ice remains, water lubricates it for maximum slipperiness. Those snowbanks also narrow the road in many places, reducing passing clearance for motorists who will not expect cyclists in the first place.

A winter thaw is just a winter thaw. Two months from now one might take the chance that spring is coming early. Or perhaps within the next two months our early winter will slink away and leave us to the gray improvisation we've come to expect between November and April. That remains to be seen. Certainly the next several days sound tepid and marshy. But the snowfield in my yard still rises higher than my living room floor. If the pattern shifts back to chill, the snow will build again, and winter reign.

1 comment:

Dingbat said...

I know, it's hard on the bike. But with decent fenders, riding in the slush has a mudwrestling, I'm-getting-all-dirty-and-boy-is-Mom-gonna-be-pissed childish glee to it. Best done not in a hurry.