Rain dots puddles between crumbling sheets of ice on the parking lot. The temperature has drifted up to 34.5 from 31. Occasional downpours grow more frequent as we work up to this afternoon's flood watch.
It's a good day to look out windows.
After our little piece of the Polar Vortex rolled off of us the prediction of warmer temperature made me keep an eye out for winter cyclists. I don't blame anyone for staying in their burrow when the temperature is 3 and the wind is 30. But the way many riders correlate temperature with their desire to ride means that they come out in the greatest numbers when the roads are the sloppiest with briny silt.
Oh yeah. I want me some of that.
Granted, the greatest numbers are none too large. But still, the majority fixates on warmth rather than the advantages of subfreezing temperatures.
A lot depends on how much water has been around. Extensive ice will call for studded tires. Most riders don't make that investment. Most motorists don't even make it. So road crews have good reason to try to eliminate ice from the travel way.
Winter conditions for anything are tricky. This is true of cross-country skiing, hiking, climbing, walking your dog, taking out the garbage, and anything else that takes you outdoors. That's why the living is easy enough in summertime to warrant having a song about it.
My favorite winter riding conditions are a sunny day with light winds and a temperature no warmer than the mid 20s. If the sun is strong it may melt some ice and snow, but not enough to be a total slop fest. You can wear enough layers to be able to vary them as conditions require.
All my physical activities have been imaginary for about a month. I have no trouble convincing myself I have better things to do than ride a trainer. If I could ride home on a bus equipped with treadmills that would be perfect. Exercise would be back in "drive time."
I've always liked just looking out windows on a crappy day.
Been thinking as well about one of the schisms in cycling, between the Transportationists and their self perceived antagonists, the contemptible Recreationists. As someone who will do nearly anything on or from a bicycle I hate that riders have to divide into camps. But I understand it as well. My faction is the people without factions. It's fun to ride in many ways. Just not today. It's gross out there.