Monday, January 07, 2013

Whole lotta not much

Timely snow and a Christmas vacation week that lined up conveniently to weekends injected a bit of cash into company coffers, staving off outright panic for a week or two. Warming temperatures and a lack of helpful precipitation in the multi-day forecast indicate that the respite may not last. We did not get the epic amounts of snow promised in sensational forecasts. It already suffers visibly from wear and tear.

Warm temperatures are great for the heating bills and lousy for pretty much everything else. It's still not bike season to most people. We don't have the money to invest in fat bikes, which might generate some interest this time of year. We have received regular inquiries about fat bikes, but all we can offer is some happy conversation and an earnest offer to order one if we get a sizable deposit in advance. You can guess where that leads.

Winter roads do not inspire me to ride. Road sharing can be stressful at the best of times, let alone when snowbanks and ice patches encroach on the travel way. Motorists feel more put out maneuvering around a rare lunatic in the winter than they do negotiating with larger numbers of cyclists in the months they consider more normal. I used to appreciate the winter because I could take a break from all that and disappear into the woods, where I might not see another human being the whole time I was out there. Certainly I would not have to deal with an irate driver piloting a lethal weapon. I'm not one to ski on snow machine trails. I go where I hope I will not see or hear them. At least I used to.

Thin snow and tight schedules pile on with a certain amount of emotional inertia to keep me doing things like splitting firewood or processing laundry on days I'm not at work. Time spent playing outside is great, but when you're doing that you're not doing something else. It works much better when I can fit it into commuting time.

I'm thinking about a new route to work that jogs over and joins the park-and-ride route. I've generally ridden the shortest route in the morning because I'm slow getting going, but adding this pleasant variation may provide a little morning boost. And because much more of it is in the woods, I have many places with which to deal with issues I might have shortchanged in my rush to leave the house.

How quickly I can implement the new route depends on how much snow needs to melt off when spring gets here. Economically I need to hope there's a couple of feet of it. Historically, such snow packs can turn to floods surprisingly readily, clearing the stage for the next season's conditions. They melt and rush away. The ground drains and dries. Failing that there's always the old route. But all that lies a couple of months away.


Steve A said...

Perhaps it is due to the rarity, but road sharing in ice and snow in DFW is unusually pleasant. Perhaps it is because the motorists are as slow as me going UP the hills and because I stick to routes downhill where motorists avoid.

cafiend said...

One of the drawbacks to a rural area is the lack of alternate routes that are not significantly longer. In winter this also includes sections that are not maintained for winter travel. It concentrates users in a smaller space. And a lot of them don't think they need to slow down in snow and ice until conditions remind them dramatically that the stuff is slippery.