Friday, November 29, 2013

I don't really think of myself as a stud

Back around 1990-91 we had a winter with early ice and late snow. Even though we would all prefer to go cross-country skiing, we studded up our mountain bike tires and had a few laughs on the frozen lakes and trails. It was fun, but I felt it was more of a novelty than a policy. I sold my studded tires to an ice boater who would stake his DN out in the bay and ride ashore on his bike.

Now it's 2013.  Winter has become unreliable. After four winters without consistent exercise I'm going to try dashing out for a nooner on the mountain bike with studded tires rather than cling to any illusion that I might ski.

On the bike I'll be getting a workout right from the shop door. I can buzz over to the rail trail for a quick one even if the snowmobiles have packed it to concrete.

I lose my park and ride parking place as soon as my friend's driveway needs to be plowed.  They don't clear the non essential spaces. And the town lets all the other potential spots fill in,  too. So I would be driving to work as usual in ski season.  I would just be giving up the skiing in favor of something easier to arrange.

I still have a few commutes left, and maybe more than a few. Then when the snow closes in I can mount the toothy tires for my midday escapes.

Speaking of winter, on the path last week, on a morning that seemed cold at the time, on my way in I met two riders outbound with sled dogs towing their bikes. I'd seen other training rigs on the path, but this was the first time I had seen the mushers using mountain bikes. And it occurred to me that here was a much cooler pedal assist than an electric motor. Talk about renewable energy. Sled dogs love to run. A couple of dogs with nice personalities might even increase the cyclist's appeal to other road users.

I did wonder what it was like to be dragged into a rail crossing by a couple of boisterous dogs. I didn't get to see that maneuver.


Steve A said...

Myself, I think it's only one more year to start cross country skiing, with Telemark one year beyond that.

cafiend said...

I find myself in the position where I can't afford too many hobbies. For years, my ski activities merged with my work activities. Conditions allowed skiing in the form of lessons, demos, product testing and was simply valued as a way to keep employees current with skills and equipment. Coincidentally I did a lot of mountain exploration anyway. But times change. It would now require carving out time and money to ski only once or twice a week, which hardly satisfies my requirement that it function as part of a fitness maintenance program as well as a game.

Telemark skiing has simply become an affectation for downhill skiers. The gear has mutated from heavy touring equipment to purely downhill functionality. I would get laughed off the slopes or run over and trampled to death if I showed up at a ski area with my old skinny skis. I can't even find people with compatible gear and temperament to go poking around in the woods. And usable snow for skiing ungroomed conditions has become rare in the Northeast. Gone are the winters when you would get several days or more to get out to your favorite secret places before the snow transitioned to glop or concrete.