Tag Archives: ice

That s word

Alas, my extremely memoriable experience with impassably slick ice happened before cheap video & youtube, when a surprise Christmas Day 15 minute squall squirted an icy sheen over D.C.  I’d driven through it and thought it was over… then interstate (395 – local folks) traffic was stopped — except for a big bus whose lights I watched navigate between cars.

I got out of the car after 20 minutes as did my nearest neighbor, and we walked forward to find out… until he stepped forward to where road turned to ramp, as in the things that freeze before the roadway, and he fell on his butt. The road was so slick that people couldn’t get traction to push cars, except to slide them all the way down to the far left lane, where there was enough debris and gravel to give traction.

My job was to tell folks that the group of 8 men were doing that “shove the car down to the gravel” duty, because the other lanes were impassable.  Most drivers then decided to test this theory themselves, and step out of their vehicles.

Every single solitary one said the same word as their feet slid hither and yon.  Dad with car fll of kids, sports car man, in seven or eight different accents (never reverting to native tongues)… didn’t matter.  I wish I could remember whether the fellow walking with me said the same thing…

Here’s some footage , just to remind you that MOTHER NATURE BATS LAST, dudes.   Wonder why I don’t here the S word….

can’t plow a forecast, honey

Or:  When in doubt, stud, though no bad consequences.

This a.m. the forecast was a “winter advisory” until 11 a.m.; that some freezing rain and snow would move through  The radar showed blue right over head – but almost gone, and there were but scant flurries.  Therefore, there should be less than scant flurries when it was gone.  Possible snow showers tomorrow.

COnsidered taking the Trek in so I could do the inside ride.  Decided that since I had frittered last night instead of making Progress On The HOuse (putting stuff back in the newly painted kitchen and living room), I should go straight home and do that tonight, and take the Xtracycle instead.

Checked weather before leaving at 5:15.  30 degrees – balmy enough to toss the Smart-Tex in the backpack.  Clear radar. I’m hoping to get in some good laps before going home, which I’d tried to do at lunch time but there was this meeting that I’d forgotten about…

Not so clear skies… and what’s this stuff falling from the sky?  It’s barely heavier than fog… but, I thought, p’raps the 30 was airport and the guys had put salt *everywhere* and here might be heat island enough so I could just do llllapsss… that was my foot skating on the parking lot just a teensy bit, enough to make me laugh at the timing and say, “Yes, weather, I hear you.  You promised *better,* not good.”

Happily, everywhere I put my foot down things were basically damp, not icy.  HOwever, I was grateful for having had enough assorted musical experiences so that, indeed, I could hear the subtle difference between the swish of tires on damp pavement and the rice-krispies-treat crunch that meant the mist had frozen there.  Oh, yea, and my bike had just the thinnest crust..  However, when I shrugged, my jacket didn’t crackle, so it wasn’t but *so* bad.

I was also grateful for having enough cycling experience to know it was even more important to claim my part of the lane – that this would make motorists, perhaps thinking foul thoughts of my inconsideration in being out in this weather, be sensible and give the extra room merited… instead of hugging the line and having drivers focusing on the conditions not see me at all.  I noticed the same tendency for drivers *not* to want to go into the left lane when passing (on the one-way two-laner at State). And I was glad I had the SPokelit on the wheel… I think I might have had at least one Airzound Moment otherwise, and I’ve been off the Xtra for weeks so I’m not in the habit of hov’ring near it when approaching a perpendicular driver.

And!  I found the business end of the Turn Signal, so as soon as I find the strap again, which wasn’t lost anyway, I can re-unite them and give it a try on the left arm.

Tomorrow, it’s the Gazelle.  I’ll even have to apologize to her 😀  Maybe we’ll ride a little extra to make up… I could and *would* have done laps with the studs tonight on this teensy bit of slipper.

Chilly and foggy ;)

Minnesota article on bicycle commuting in winter.

Glad I haven’t had to commute in the recent stuff; I wonder if Parkland would have closed Christmas Eve if it weren’t Christmas Eve.  Today it’s pretty dense fog … not quite as dense as that Monday last year when the air like this stuff (very humid and gulfy) charged over lots of snow and rendered us a huge, thick cloud.  Still, enough to preclude goin’ out on the prairie.  However, tomorrow I shall remember how good the prairie is, keep an eye on the radar, and see if I can find a window between the storms. (Don’t mind rain, but I’ve done my ride in lightning this year.)

Wondering if Tony from Atwood is doin’ his New Year Ride … Kent says Illini CHill is supposed to happen but he’s not doing it.  I sent an email to the illini chill address but haven’t gotten a response yet…

Merry Christmas!

Merry… what a nifty word. New Year’s Resolution – describe more things as merry when applicable.

Things froze up hard, indeed, including part of fthe path I fonged out of the driveway.  Parts of it really were every bit as slippery as that night on I-395 near the Pentagon, when traffic was stationary simply because there was absolutely no friction to be had, as in none, as in I’d forgotten what next-to-*no* friction felt like until trying to navigate one stretch of sidewalk.  The rest of the world was only extremely slippery 🙂 Parking lots, mostly untreated ’cause of the season, really are “sheets of ice” like unto the icing on a cake.  Lots of people came in the back door at church – less walking.

I ducked into St. Pat’s for their “Midnight Mass” (at 10:30 – I got home at midnight 😉 ) on my way home (which wasn’t *really* on my way home since I went via roads, not the icepacks)  and shared the songbook with a fellow whose birthday is the 24th.  I wondered if it was a conscious or unconscious thing that, at least on Christmas, you’re more “with” other people, not in your private-in-a-crowd personal worship space.  (Of course, I probably could have found that if I’d sat in the back …)  It occurred to me that   entirely too many Christmas songs – at least the ones done at the services I was at – are just way up there in soprano land.   I’m gonna find the songs that are down in Untrained Voice Land, where you can sing out (or go and hit the “transpose down a step” on every instrument… they’re all electronic now, right?) .

There were comments on being on a bike on the way out (not by my singing companion, though)… but not as if it were odd; oh, yea, the folks had European accents.  The priest loved my outfit 😀  Perchance the blinking lights on the backpack?  The Gazelle just has candy canes and a red and green spokelit… but I shall leave the regalia on the Xtra ’til the 6th of January.

Windows of opportunity

chiseling this path was like unto fonging

chiseling this path was like unto fonging

Got out between the downpours and the re-icing for some nice riding.  Sidewalks are unnavigable, so peds are in the streets so we have complete streets 🙂  Went to CHampaign Cycle via the campus route and those streets & walks will be unpleasant when it freezes up again (it’s down to 28 at the airport already; I felt the wind pick up and the clouds fly away on the ride).  It was deep enough plowing through the slush to make things mildly interesting even now, though I suppose big fat studs would just do the trick once it’s “just” ice.  It’s extremely irregular ice, though.

Got my axle nuts… the grunge on the axle was noted and I shall, I promise, take the next chance at the bike coop to take it apart and clean its little self.

Felt really, really good to pedal hard and use muscles (and used a few more whacking at the ice to make a path on the driveway for when I come home, tho’ maybe I’ll hoist the bike up stairs and take it in the living room… I don’t trust the ramp not to be slidy.)

Lots of people where out ice-whacking (which, I suppose, if you tied twine around the shovel and put your fingers in your ears, would be a form of fonging).  The layers of melt and ice lent for some interesting effects.  Happening in Urbana and Champaign – I wonder if the CHampagin Shovel Laws inspire people to shovel in Urbana more hoping there won’t be such a law or  with “we don’t need no stinkin’ law”  smugness.  I know that’s what got me out on my walk and half of the neighbor’s 😛

snow :)

it’s a balmy 22 out there, so I’m going to run an errand or two before it gets warm and dangerous and switches over to the icing.

I, too, am wondering about the Illini Chill.  Time to find that email address and see if Kent’s makign it happen this year.

My Sturmey Archer logo nut doesn’t fit… goes to show we should have looked up everything instead of finding the logo nut in the catalog and assuming that if there was only one, it would be the right size.  Now everything’s looked up and there are so the right size nuts in stock (sans logo, but functional)… so as soon as I feel adventurous enough I’ll wend my way out there for a trade.

NY TImes did an article on Columbia, SC – where I spent a surreal year studying INstrucitonal Technology, getting devoured by fleas, having my car stolen, a pistol shot through the bedroom ceiling, a citation for an ugly plant, a man standing by my bed holding a sock at 2 a.m. who left when I asked after a brief conversation, and a lady who thought I was having an affair with her husband because she’d found my outgoing credit card bill in her mailbox five miles away.  That’s just the stuff I remember… and no, I don’t know why my bill was in her mailbox, much less with his return address on the envelope.  I was leaving town the next day anyway…  Columbia’s not handling the “credit crunch,” etc. too well, it seems – despite not having housing bubbles or other local reaons for an economic tailspin and long lines at the job fair for crappy jobs.

I have my own theory about their vulnerability, though.  HEre’s a snippet:

“Ms. Harris previously ran her own house-painting company, but opted for a more stable career in a growing field. She saw an ad for the degree program on television: “Come become a medical assistant!”

Now, such talk seems farcical. She is paying $95 a month toward $23,000 in student loan debt. She is living with her boyfriend, who is supporting her, not always cheerfully. She has no health insurance …”

$23,000 in loans?

The U. of South Carolina, and/or the local communtiy colleges, should be all over that community with what I am sure are better deals for better education… starting with a workshop on rip-offs from TV ads.

Okay, time to go outside for a little…

Oh, and to Ed Kieser…

… we can **so** have studded tyres.  On our bicycles.  And they’re fun.  😛 😛 😛

nastified slurpee

We don’t even have 7-11’s around here, but it’s a slushy world out there.  More like ice hurlage, though, with all the chunks of debris and ice in a liquid nastiness. Note to self:  it really takes longer to get to work plowing through slush on a fifty pound bike with 24-gusting=to-36 mile headwinds… but it is kinda fun, though I held back so I wouldn’t be a complete lather and of course because the ice layer beneath was thick enough to still be there and landing *in* that vichyssoise would probably be less than fun even with the prophylactic smart-tex on top.  (Snork.  One must ponder what search phrases will find this blog now. )  It helped immensely that we were given a two-hour delay in our office; C-U schools were closed.  Parkland, of course, isn’t having classes so any decisions wouldn’t involve students.

Lots of branches down right around my house and in specific spots along the way, so perhaps there were well-placed gusts or my theory that I’ve got a slightly cooler microclimate is true and, therefore, there was a little more ice and a little more weight on those branches.

It is really, really nice to be able to use my phone as a modem 😀 😀 😀 No Comcast, hooray!!!

Today the “call in for your travel forecast” was extended right on through the headlines-on-the-hour, which I do believe meant he was talkin’ instead of the prez, so people had to find out six minutes *later* that Detroit might get bailed out, after all. Kudos for that – we can wait on GW. Confirming that yes, the route to New Jersey Sunday would stick you in Lake Effect Blizzard Land isn’t going to be broadcast on NPR.  (And maybe it’s my ears adapting, but even when actively *bemoaning* being “ostracized” for warning about a previous ice mess we didn’t get, the ‘whinin’ weatherman’ didn’t sound whiny…

Yes, it worked…

… now I get to put on a new skin and get the ingredients together to do it at work tomorrow – at least approaching the hygiene standards of the general populace 🙂 THat’s a lot easier cooking by myself… I”m planning to have a group cooking event.
It really did expand over the top and then crawl back town. It’s quite dense and a little bit dry; therefore, whipped cream and maraschino cherries will be added to the mix.
And now to go gather the stuff and files and all that stuff for the PCC newsletter to turn it over to the new editor 🙂
Decorated the Xtra yesterday – *lots* of lights. However, tomorrow I’ll do the nut-swap, put that other string of candy canes and the fiber optic tree on the Gazelle, I suspect. The forecast is for rain, followed by a tenth of an inch of ice and an inch of snow by morning.
I’ll leave extra early in all my good gear – might break out the snowmobile suit, which I can’t wear on any of the bikes except the Gazelle ’cause it restricts leg motion too much – and have an adventure. I always liked being in education where things just get cancelled if the weather gets bad – but now that the cancellation bar is a lot higher, I find I like being In The STuff just as well.

Much drier :)

Kinda like  dryer, only different 🙂

Got a stiff neck today  on the right side…  I pulled a few muscles in on the right side in

Decorated Dahon - recycling tubes

Decorated Dahon - recycling tubes

last night’s splatitude (I landed on the left). Will snag nut from Xtra and get one to match it from LBS on the way home tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s supposed to get to 39 and be rainy until it gets cold.  Hope I can get to the Gazelle (my life raft 🙂 ) before the bad seas hit. Chatting with the weather forces now…

I was compelled to add a little decoration to the Dahon.  Photographed it to share with the folks at http://www.bikejournal.com – but it seems to have gone down again.  Hey, it’s one way to get another use out of a bicycle tube.