Thursday, March 05, 2015

The thaw approacheth

Looking at the extended forecast, we get one little dip into the frigid, but after that the trend climbs a couple of degrees each day. Daytime high temperatures get above freezing. It's sap weather for the maple trees. Sugar houses will soon be steaming.

March is a winter month around here. Spring begins on the 20th, according to the calendar, but we may get snow into April, and sometimes May. Set aside years like 1816, when it snowed in every month, crops failed, famine and misery stalked the land. In any year, New England might get in the way of some orphaned bastard of winter, chasing its parent season through what you hoped would be spring. But in general, skiing is moving toward its conclusion and dry-land biking -- as opposed to what is now being called "snow biking" -- gets easier and easier.

I'm not one to throw elbows with winter traffic. Nor do I like salting up a bike with the brine that flows down the roads when the air finally gets warm enough for the road treatment to work at all. When the snow is good I prefer to use its surface, away from crowds, on skis or snowshoes. I'll use groomed trails to train, but on my own time I will head for the boonies. Thus the fat bike has little appeal, since it depends on pre-packed or naturally firmed conditions, making it a consumer of other people's efforts. Its rider may contribute by joining a pack of fellow enthusiasts packing a trail with snowshoes so they can then ride it, but that strikes me as ridiculously labor intensive when you can get on skis. Other than that, the pedalers depend on some sort of motorized grooming equipment to build them a playground on which they are essentially parasitic. They require that nature be adapted to them more than they adapt to nature.

As fat bikers evolve, will they become bow-legged as they try to fit around fatter and fatter tires? Salsa is up to five inches now. Who's got six? Come on six! Do I hear six? Six, Six, okay 6.5. Six point five, six point five do I hear seven?

Perhaps the evolution of the fat bike leads to seasonal adaptations: 3.8-inch tires in the warm months, 4.5 and up in the snowy months. One bike, essentially a 29-er based on outside tire diameter, which will even take a 29-er wheel with a slick tire if you want to use it on the road. How about some aero bars on that thang? Make the fork blades really aero and put time trial wheels on it. Test it in the wind tunnel. Maybe the aero bulldog would stack up surprisingly well against the carbon fiber greyhound.

For the moment, there is still snow to play on or contend with. It was so fine and dry this winter, that the impressive depth will shrink with an almost audible sizzle when strong sun gets on it, but for now it remains. Time for some rollers to alert my posterior to what lies close ahead.


Steve A said...

More snow last night in North Texas. Sunny and pleasant at Ocean Shores WA.

cafiend said...

This last storm strung out a long way and mostly skipped northern New England. We've got another subzero night tonight, after a cloudy, raw, windy day with dropping temperatures. But the outlook beyond that zigzags upward.

Steve A said...

Come visit OS if the cold gets to be too long. OS is never too hot or cold...