Monday, 17 December 2012

Diary of a New Cycle Commuter - Week 4 - As Cold as Ice.

Previous articles in this series can be found here.

Looking out of the window in the morning the pavements were a bit icy. The road was fine though so I decided to go for it. All good except for a bit of shared use pavement that obviously hadn't been gritted. As I was at the start of the path a cyclist was coming the other way and shouted to be careful as it was really slippery. Cheers mate I shouted back. I was taking it easy, not making any sudden turns and all that, but the rear wheel still went away from me at one point. I caught the slide though and carried on unscathed, pleased with my cat like reflexes and thankful to the cyclist going the other way. Obviously I know that ice is slippery, but perhaps his warning helped subconsciously prepare me for any "moments" on the ice.

As I was re-joining the next road section of my route I saw a child cyclist coming the other way, I shouted the same slippery ice warning to him as well.

Monday my face was really cold, and with Tuesday even colder I wrapped a scarf across my face and round my head before securing it in place with my helmet so it wouldn't uncover my face mid ride. I also took a different route to work avoiding the icy shared path. Slightly uphill, busier as it is on road, but more satisfying as it goes past three packed bus stops. You can't help but notice a few envious looks from the commuters and school kids not making as swift progress as I am.
Tried the same route on the way home but the traffic was crazy and it required a lot of filtering on a fairly thin road which just slowed me down.

Fed up with unnecessarily carrying my Kindle to and from work, I decide to download Kindle software at work so I can read on my lunch break without the need for the extra weight in my backpack.

On Tuesday I augmented my cycling attire with the head scarf, today I decided it was the turn of the light on my helmet that was pointing too far to the right.
The strap goes in two holes in the top but unfortunately the way the holes are lined up, when it is pulled tight, the light points off to the right a bit. To combat this I destroyed an office stress ball and jammed bits of foam in the holes to make it point towards the front. Success.
Took the road route into work and the shared path on the way back once the ice had melted. More success.

Coldest day of my commute yet. According to metcheck it was supposed to feel -4. I'd agree with that. It was a dark morning as well. However, the head scarf and stress ball altered light mount combined to give me a pleasant ride.

Didn't cycle as I had to take home the accumulation of Christmas presents in my desk. Had to stand up on a coughy spluttery tube instead. The bike is clearly the best way to get to work.

Lessons Learned
Think about extra, less obvious weight reductions I can make to my pack, like downloading Kindle software.
Cyclists help each other in treacherous conditions.
Stick to gritted roads when it's icy.
Stress balls have many uses.

Previous articles in this series can be found here.


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